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Opinions Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Thursday
United States of America v. Fairly W. Earls
11-3347
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Joseph S. Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms conviction of making a false statement on a passport application, aggravated identity theft and knowingly transferring a stolen identification document. Affirms the admission of certain evidence at Earls’ trial and finds the District Court did not err in its calculation of his offense level.

Wednesday
Douglas Richards, et al. v. National Labor Relations Board and United Steel, et al.
12-1973, 12-1984
On petitions for review of decisions and orders of the National Labor Relations Board. Dismisses the petitions for review because the petitioners no longer suffer an injury-in-fact and do not satisfy the statutory “aggrieved” requirement.


Indiana Court of Appeals
Thursday

Medea Woods v. State of Indiana
39A05-1204-CR-189
Criminal. Affirms denial of Woods’ partial motion to dismiss. Finds the state has alleged sufficient facts when the charging information and probable cause affidavit are considered together.

Slavojka Pistalo v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and The Estate of Iris M. Wilks, Deceased
45A04-1204-PL-214
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Progressive on Pistalo’s direct action against the company seeking a $333,600 excess judgment, which included post-judgment interest. Finds summary judgment was inappropriate because the issue of whether Progressive acted in bad faith has not been established in the designated materials as a matter of law. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Rail Road Company v. John Blaine Davidson, Admin. of the Estate of Carolyn Davidson, Deceased, and Tonya Kincaid, as Mother and Next Friend of Cierra Kincaid, a Minor
84A01-1202-CT-81
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of John Blaine Davidson and Tonya Kincaid with respect to Indiana Rail Road’s claim that their cause is preempted by federal law. The trial court properly denied the railroad’s motion for partial summary judgment, concluding that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether federal preemption precludes the appellees’ claims with respect to the adequacy of traffic warning devices.

John T. Brightwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1205-CR-218
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to correct erroneous sentence and remands for correction.

Eric D. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1206-CR-460
Criminal. Denies Smith’s motion for leave to file an appeal and dismisses it with prejudice.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of R.D. (Minor Child), and M.D. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
79A02-1205-JT-394
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Todd Fuller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1205-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms 3-year sentence for Class D felony domestic battery in the presence of a child and Class A misdemeanor interference with the reporting of a crime.

Michael Craig v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-395
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Lee E. Davis, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1205-CR-241
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Kent A. Easley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1207-CR-333
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Donald and Jennie Walker v. Glenn Sermersheim (NFP)
29A02-1204-CC-338
Civil collections. Affirms order awarding the Walkers’ former attorney $14,800. Denies Sermersheims’ request for attorney fees.

Mark A. Guffey v. Deborah L. Guffey (NFP)
36A01-1204-DR-171
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of father’s request to modify custody and the trial court’s modification of his parenting time and child support obligation, and the finding that he owed a child support arrearage.

David Darst v. Indiana Dept. of Correction and Bruce Lemmon in his official capacity as Commissioner (NFP)
46A03-1206-CT-288
Civil tort. Reverses dismissal of Darst’s claims against the DOC, but affirms dismissal of his claim against Lemmon.

Robert J. Pearson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A04-1204-CR-221
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Elbert M. Jones, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1204-CR-216
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Mark Allen Pratt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
76A04-1205-CR-268
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting.

Wednesday
Leslee Orndorff v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
53A04-1206-PL-299
Civil plenary. Reverses denial of Orndorff’s request for a preliminary injunction on suspending her license and remands for further proceedings. Finds she has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits of her laches defense and has carried her burden to establish the other requirements for a preliminary injunction.

Lisa A. Birkhimer v. Neil S. Birkhimer
29A02-1111-DR-1058
Domestic relation. Finds the following issues require remand to the trial court: the trial court did not include Lisa’s debt to her father in the marital estate; the court allowed Lisa to deduct certain expenses from her income for child support purposes, but did not make findings supporting these deviations from the Child Support Guidelines; and the parties both agree that because Lisa is responsible for paying the children’s controlled expenses, the parenting time credit should be applied to Neil. Affirms in all other respects and remands with instructions.

Sharif Fields v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1205-PC-249
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Billy Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-422
Criminal.  Affirms convictions of Class C felony criminal confinement and Class D felony domestic battery.

Robert D. Ratcliff v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A05-1205-CR-248
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class C felony burglary and Class D felony auto theft.

In Re the Paternity of C.C.M.: M.M. v. V.K.H. (NFP)
64A03-1205-JP-230
Juvenile. Reverses parenting time order and remands for a redetermination of that issue in accordance with the opinion. Affirms trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to hold mother in contempt and order father pay a portion of mother’s attorney fees.

In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.R.: D.R. v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
18A02-1202-JT-104
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Christopher White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1203-PC-102
Post conviction. Affirms conviction of Class C felony fraud on a financial institution and denial of White’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Allen Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1204-CR-188
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony attempted rape and Class A misdemeanor battery.

Jonathon P. Grigsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1205-CR-238
Criminal. Affirms reinstatement of previously suspended sentence following revocation of Grigsby’s probation.

Karl Kapanke, Universal Am-Can, Ltd., and M.C. Schmitt Trucking, Inc. v. James Stovall and Tracy Stovall (NFP)
45A03-1201-CT-12
Civil tort. Affirms judgment for the Stovalls on their claims of negligence and loss of consortium following a jury trial.

Jeffrey Adams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1205-CR-385
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and execution of the remainder of Adams’ suspended sentence.
 

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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