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Opinions Dec. 9, 2013

December 9, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Lagro Township and Karen Pinkerton Tatro v. George E. Bitzer and Zelma E. Bitzer
85A02-1306-PL-520
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Bitzers on Lagro Township’s action seeking to exercise control over an area of land referred to as “the Belden Cemetery,” which is located on land owned by the Bitzers. The statute authorizing a township trustee to exercise control over cemeteries located within the township is inapplicable where the cemetery is located on land on which property taxes have been paid. And here, even though there was a genuine issue of material fact with regard to whether and to what extent the dedication of the Belden Cemetery to the public was accepted by the public through usage, there is no genuine issue of material fact with regard to the Bitzers’ payment of property taxes on the land on which the Belden Cemetery is located for decades. For this reason alone, the township’s claims of authority over the Belden Cemetery must fail.

John Aaron Schoultz III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
36A01-1301-CR-9
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder and 40-year sentence.

Jacob Phipps v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1303-CR-129
Criminal. Affirms order revoking probation and order Phipps serve the entirety of his previously suspended sentence.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of B.R., Minor Child and His Father, V.R. v. Marion County Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc (NFP)
49A04-1304-JT-156
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of father’s parental rights.

Edward R. Hoffman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A02-1307-PC-587
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Jon Alan Young v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A05-1303-CR-125
Criminal. Affirms 30-month sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony strangulation.

Willie L. Montgomery v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1305-CR-246
Criminal. Dismisses on interlocutory appeal the denial of motion to dismiss a charge that Montgomery failed to register as a sex or violent offender.

Pamela J. (McConnell) Neal v. David A. McConnell (NFP)
33A01-1305-DR-202
Domestic relation. Affirms modification of child custody, reverses modification of child support and remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Lori A. Cissom v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Supreme Indiana Operations, Inc (NFP)
93A02-1304-EX-404
Agency action. Affirms denial by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development of Cissom’s request to reinstate appeal of denial of claim for unemployment benefits.

Joshua Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1305-CR-205
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

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