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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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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