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Opinions Dec. 31, 2013

December 31, 2013
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
Zachary Medlock v. Trustees of Indiana University, et al.
13-1900
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of IU and other defendants, holding that a student inspection of a dorm room that found marijuana followed by a police search warrant in which the pot was seized was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Likewise, the process through which Medlock was suspended was not a denial of due process.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Dayron Bell v. State of Indiana
82A01-1306-CR-271
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of a conviction of contempt of court as moot, declining Dayron Bell’s appeal on the basis of a public interest exception for matters of great public importance. Bell’s appeal was moot because his sentence had been served and no relief was available, and nothing in his appeal fell within the limited public-interest exception.

Paul Gillock and Kathy Gillock v. City of New Castle, Indiana
33A01-1308-CT-338
Civil tort. Affirms award of attorney fees to the city after the Gillocks’ lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. The Gillocks’ complete failure to take any action for almost a year in furtherance of their lawsuit, including their failures to respond to discovery requests and obey the trial court’s order without any reasonable explanation, supports the trial court’s implicit legal conclusion that their claim was unreasonable and groundless. Denies the city’s request for appellate attorney fees and costs.  

Freddie L. McKnight, III v. State of Indiana
20A03-1109-CR-454
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. McKnight claimed the post-conviction court erred when it concluded he wasn’t denied effective trial or appellate counsel assistance and that he was denied a procedurally fair post-conviction hearing.

Brad Haskin v. City of Madison, Indiana
39A05-1308-CT-422
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for the city of Madison on Haskin’s complaint for damages, alleging the city was negligent in designing, constructing and maintaining a sewer drain on which Haskin stepped and injured himself, among other claims. With respect to Haskin’s claim that the city was negligent in the design, construction or maintenance of the curb or sewer drain, the designated evidence demonstrates that Madison is immune from liability. With respect to Haskin’s other negligence claims, the designated evidence demonstrates that the city did not owe a duty to Haskin as it did not possess or control the condition of Jefferson Street at the time of his injury nor did it manage the pedestrian traffic or other aspects of the regatta.

Winston K. Wood v. State of Indiana
53A05-1208-CR-423
Criminal. Denial of Wood’s motion for discharge pursuant to Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C) was not error. There was sufficient evidence Wood violated Indiana Code 14-15-4-1, but Wood’s three convictions, arising as they did from one incident of leaving the scene, subjected him to double jeopardy. Accordingly vacates two of his convictions, one of the Class C felonies and the Class D felony, and remands to the trial court with instructions to refund the fines imposed for the vacated convictions. Judge Kirsch dissents.

Shawn L. Keesling v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1305-CR-540
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class B felony robbery after pleading guilty but mentally ill. Remands for correction of sentencing order.

Marigold Overshiner and Earl Overshiner, Individually and as Parents and Guardians of their Minor Daughter, Kaitlyn Overshiner et al v. Anonymous Health Care Corp. et. al. (NFP)
67A01-1303-CT-110
Civil tort. Reverses dismissal with prejudice of the Overshiners’ medical malpractice action as they complied with the trial court order that they obtain new counsel within 90 days.

James Galloway v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1305-CR-260
Criminal. Affirms sentence for home improvement fraud: five counts as Class C felonies and three counts as Class D felonies, and being a habitual offender. Remands for the trial court to amend the abstract of judgment to show the habitual offender finding as an enhancement to Count I in Cause No. 1017.

Sophia Tompkins v. Kindred Nursing Centers, LLP, d/b/a Southwood Health and Rehabilitation Center (NFP)
84A05-1307-CT-348
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Southwood on Tompkins’ complaint for damages after falling and injuring herself while getting out of bed.

James Kucholick v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A05-1305-CR-255
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Kucholick serve his suspended sentences.

David R. McClure v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1306-CR-491
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Jerry Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1306-CR-266
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury.

James R. Belcher, Sr. v. Sandra G. Belcher (NFP)
32A01-1305-DR-225
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court order removing a motorcycle from the marital estate and adjusting the disposition of other assets to bring the division of the marital assets back to a 50/50 division.

Willie Norman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A04-1305-PC-270
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Tyler Burton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1306-CR-269
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony battery resulting in bodily injury on a child.

Micha Seymour v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-218
Criminal. Affirms adjudication as a habitual offender.

Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc. v. G & G Construction Company of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1304-PL-169
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Herman & Kittle’s motion to dismiss a breach-of-contract claim against it.

Walter Rowley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1305-CR-402
Criminal. Affirms imposition of $200 drug interdiction fee following Rowley’s guilty plea to Class D felony possession of a controlled substance and Class A misdemeanor driving while suspended.

Richard Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1304-CR-373
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery with bodily injury.

Edward L. Humes v. State of Indiana (NFP)

39A01-1305-CR-211
Criminal. Affirms sentence, which included an enhancement for being a habitual substance offender, imposed for Class D felony possession of cocaine and Class A misdemeanors possession of a synthetic cannabinoid and resisting law enforcement.

James Pigg v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1210-CR-838
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct error, wherein Pigg moved for a change of judge following convictions of one count each of Class C and Class D felony battery.

Lightning Rod Mutual Insurance Company v. Todd A. Messner, an Incapacitated Adult, by his Permanent Co-Guardians and Next Friends, James A. Messner and Judith M. Messner (NFP)

20A03-1305-CT-188
Civil tort. Affirms trial court finding that the Messners’ policy with Lighting Rod Mutual Insurance Co. is ambiguous.

Jacob Stidham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1211-CR-939
Criminal. Affirms trial court decision allowing the state to charge Stidham with Class B felony rape two days before his trial was to begin on other charges. Affirms convictions of rape and Class C felony confinement.

Richard Kozecar v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A04-1306-CR-263
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.W., Minor Child, C.C., Mother v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A02-1305-JT-468
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: J.A. (Minor Child), and M.R. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
53A01-1307-JT-306
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Anthony Eugene Fields v. State of Indiana (NFP)
50A05-1304-CR-186
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of meth, Class D felony possession of precursors with intent to manufacture, Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

Carolyn Bostick v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-226
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Megan Pierce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
64A03-1304-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony burglary.

Tonya Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A04-1303-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class C felony operating a vehicle while driving privileges were forfeited for life.

Tyson A. Hudson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1305-CR-178
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony battery on a pregnant woman and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Billye D. Gaulden v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1212-CR-651
Criminal. Re-affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony robbery.

Marteques L. Black v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1306-CR-276
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary.

Harold Evans, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
17A04-1307-CR-338
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following guilty plea to Class C felony possession of methamphetamine.

Paul L. Mishler, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1209-PC-405
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Indiana Tax Court
Vern R. Grabbe v. Carroll County Assessor, Neda K. Duff
49T10-1206-TA-35
Tax. Finds the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err in applying Grabbe’s 2009 agricultural property assessment to the 2010 tax year. The board’s determination that Grabbe’s 2010 assessment must be reduced to its 2009 assessed value is not contrary to law.

Vern R. Grabbe v. Carroll County Assessor, Neda K. Duff

49T10-1108-TA-51
Tax. Affirms 2009 assessment of Grabbe’s agricultural property. The board’s determination upholding the 2009 assessment is supported by substantial and reliable evidence and is not contrary to law.  

The Indiana Supreme Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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