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Opinions Dec. 7, 2012

December 7, 2012
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Terry L. Brown v. Tammy S. Brown
77A01-1204-PL-180
Civil plenary. Reverses civil judgment in favor of Terry Brown’s ex-wife. The trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence regarding criminal offenses he committed more than 20 years ago. Remands for further proceedings.

Robert Geller and Judy Geller v. Kurt P. Kinney, Holly Kinney, and A.M. Rentals, Inc.
29A02-1111-PL-1202
Civil plenary. Affirms judgment in favor of A.M. Rentals Inc. and the trial court’s calculation of damages for the Gellers against the Kinneys. Holds that the exculpatory clause of the lease and management agreement exempts A.M. from liability for its failure to perform its duties to the Gellers under I.C. 25-34.1-10-10(a)(3)(C). Holds that applying the exculpatory clause on these facts is not contrary to public policy. Holds that the trial court’s conclusion that the Gellers’ sale of their home mitigated the Kinneys’ damages to the Gellers is not clearly erroneous. Judge Kirsch dissents.

Verdyer Clark v. State of Indiana
49A04-1202-CR-66
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class D felony battery. The state did not prove its case because the only evidence it offered to prove Clark was over 18 at the time of the crime was inadmissible hearsay. Remands so that the state may decide whether to retry Clark.

Phillip T. Billingsley v. State of Indiana
02A05-1204-CR-216
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of marijuana. Holds that based on the totality of the facts and circumstances available to the responding officer at the time he detained Billingsley, the officer initiated an investigatory stop of Billingsley based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity. Accordingly, the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted into evidence marijuana seized following the officer’s detention of Billingsley. Judge Kirsch dissents.
 
Brenda Varo v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1203-CR-144
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony conspiracy to commit battery and Class D felony criminal gang activity.

In Re the Marriage of Lisa L. Shisler and Ned L. Shisler; Ned L. Shisler v. Lisa L. Shisler (NFP)
57A03-1109-DR-450
Domestic relation. Reverses distribution of marital estate and remands for further proceedings.

Vickie Jessie v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-413
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony criminal deviate conduct and order that Jessie pay $2,090 in restitution to her victim.

Michael R. Krohn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1203-CR-131
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury.

Quinn Nelson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1203-CR-145
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Anthony White v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1204-CR-321
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony attempted theft and Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Deandre L. Mathews v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1205-CR-416
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary.

Andrea Averitte v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1203-CR-251
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony forgery.

Michael McClellan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1204-CR-180
Criminal. Affirms sentence following conviction of two counts of Class C felony stalking.
 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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