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Opinions Dec. 29, 2010

December 29, 2010
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. James K. Taylor
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
10-2947
Criminal. Affirms sentenced for 64 months’ imprisonment following a guilty plea to possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). The sentence was based in part on the District Court’s conclusion that his prior Indiana conviction for Class C felony battery qualified as a “crime of violence” under § 4B1.2(a) of the federal sentencing guidelines, enhancing his recommended base offense level. Taylor argued his battery conviction was not a crime of violence for the purposes of the federal sentencing guidelines.

USA v. Dewayne Cartwright
10-1879
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Affirms District Court’s denial of Cartwright’s motion to suppress evidence of a firearm in his car. Cartwright was charged with possessing a firearm as a felon under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). After he entered a conditional guilty plea, he was sentenced to 84 months in prison. Cartwright argued the District Court erred in applying the inevitable discovery doctrine after the District Court determined the firearm would have been inevitably discovered pursuant to an inventory search of the car.

Indiana Supreme Court
National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, et al. v. Standard Fusee Corporation
49S04-1006-CV-318
Civil. Reverses trial court and remands the case for application of Maryland law to be applied to the entire dispute regarding whether the insurance company had a duty to defend Standard Fusee Corporation following discovery of perchlorate contamination at factories that made flares. Concludes that Maryland is the state with the most intimate contacts to the facts and that its law should therefore be applied in this case.

Indiana Court of Appeals
State of Indiana v. Richard J. Laker, Jr.
24A04-0912-CR-736
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of the charge that Laker operated a farm tractor while his driver’s license was suspended. Reverses and remands three other charges that relate to Laker’s operation of the farm tractor while intoxicated after a breath test determined his blood alcohol concentration was 0.10. An officer observed Laker hitching the tractor to a car that was in a ditch when Laker told him he planned to use the tractor to tow the car for a friend.

Anthony Mark Sewell v. State of Indiana
73A01-1005-CR-194
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of Sewell’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief. Finds that a handwritten letter from Sewell, received within 30 days of his conviction, was not sufficient because it did not comply with the content requirements for a notice of appeal.

Paternity of P.R. and A.R.; H.B. v. J.R.
36A01-1005-JP-255
Juvenile. Concludes the trial court properly took judicial notice of a protective order that H.B. (mother) obtained against an ex-boyfriend and then considered it in the custody modification proceedings with J.R. (father). H.B. did not request an opportunity to be heard pursuant to Rule 201(e) after the trial court took judicial notice of “records of a court in this state,” which is allowed pursuant to a 2010 amendment to Indiana Evidence Rule 201(b).

State of Indiana v. Robert J. Seidl
19A01-1006-CR-309
Criminal. Reverses and remands trial court’s order granting Seidl’s motion to suppress the state’s evidence against him. In his motion to suppress, Seidl argued that his consent for officers to search his barn was involuntary.

Jeffrey L. Gavin v. Calcars AB, Inc., and Astra Financial, Inc.
49A05-1007-PL-501
Civil. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Calcars AB Inc. and Astra Financial Services Inc. on Gavin’s complaint seeking damages under the Wage Payment Statute. The parties dispute whether the Wage Payment Statute or the Wage Claims Statute applied to this wage dispute. Gavin presented a single dispositive issue: whether the trial court erred when it concluded that Gavin’s claims were governed by the Wage Claims Statute and were barred as a matter of law because he did not first file his claims with the Indiana Department of Labor.

Brian J. Woods v. State of Indiana
79A02-1004-CR-418
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s determination that Woods is a habitual offender.

J.B. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1005-JV-323
Juvenile. Affirms J.B.’s adjudication as a delinquent child for committing aggravated battery, a Class B felony when committed by an adult.


E-Z Construction Company, Inc. v. Sellersburg Stone Co., Inc. (NFP)
10A01-1002-PL-110
Civil. Affirms award of service charges to the plaintiff in a contract dispute between a plaintiff supplier and defendant prime contractor.

In the Matter of M.M.; S.H. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
85A02-1006-JC-776
Juvenile. Affirms trial court’s determination that M.M. is a child in need of services.

Leslie J. Edwards v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1006-CR-758
Criminal. Vacates Edwards’ convictions of felony possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and remands with instructions that the court retry him on those two counts.

Diven Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1006-CR-286
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following convictions of burglary, a Class C felony, and theft, a Class D felony.

William Roberts v. State of Indiana (NFP)
22A05-1002-CR-119
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of Roberts’ motion to set aside his guilty plea.

Kendall Bradbury v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1004-CR-212
Criminal. Affirms Bradbury’s conviction of invasion of privacy following his arrest for violating a protective order his wife had filed in June 2007 when the couple lived in Kentucky.

Vilma (Struss) Papa v. Nicholas Struss (NFP)
64A03-1008-DR-428
Civil. Reverses and remands trial court’s denial of notice of intent to relocate.

Edward Weaver v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1004-CR-460
Criminal. Affirms revocation of home detention and probation. Remands for court to clarify its sentencing order due to a conflict between written and oral statements.

Joseph R. Fabre v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1005-CR-378
Criminal. Affirms aggregate sentence of 11 years following convictions of possession of cocaine, a Class C felony; two counts of possession of cocaine, Class D felonies; and one count of possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.

Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of N.B.; N.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
32A01-1007-JT-321
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights. .

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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