Opinions Feb. 11, 2011

February 11, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Mouhamadou M. Sow v. Fortville Police Department, et al.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Chief Judge Richard L. Young
Civil. Affirms District Court’s grant of summary judgment to the Fortville Police Department, Officer Michael Fuller of the Fortville Police Department, and the McCordsville Police Department. Sow’s action was brought under 42 U.S.C. sections 1983, 1985, and 1986 after he was arrest for forgery but the charges were later dropped. Sow also alleged numerous state law claims, asserting that the District Court had supplemental jurisdiction over those claims.

The Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of Patrick K. Rocchio
Discipline. Suspends Rocchio from the practice of law for at least 180 days without automatic reinstatement. He was charged with violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 7.2(c)(3) and 5.5(b)(2), but found to also have violated 7.2(d)(2), 7.3(c). His conduct during the disciplinary process demonstrates his inability to recognize his clear violations of this state's disciplinary rules, his contempt for those rules and this disciplinary process, and his lack of appreciation for the role of the court's hearing officer and Disciplinary Commission members and staff led to his suspension without automatic reinstatement. Justice Rucker dissents to length of suspension.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Amir H. Sanjari v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Vacates Sanjari’s conviction and five-year sentence on his second count of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent due to double jeopardy constraints. Affirms his conviction of and five-year sentence for the first count of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent, with fines, costs, and restitution.

Alexander R. Pala v. Annare L. Pala Loubser
Civil. Affirms trial court’s grant of Loubser’s motion to terminate maintenance award. Based upon review of the record, the appellate court can’t say that the evidence leaves them with the firm conviction that a mistake was made or that the trial court’s decision is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before it.

T.L. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development
Civil. Reverses and remands denial of T.L.’s motion to reinstate his appeal from an adverse determination of his claim for unemployment benefits. The following issue was presented for review: whether the board abused its discretion by adopting the findings and conclusions of the director, thereby affirming the denial of the request to reinstate T.L.’s appeal.

P.K.E. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and D.Z.
Civil. Affirms administrative law judge’s decision that P.K.E. had not discharged D.Z. for just cause and D.Z. was therefore entitled to unemployment benefits. The review board affirmed the ALJ’s decision and P.K.E. appealed.

David Martinez Zarate v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for conviction of dealing in cocaine, a Class B felony.

Juan Salazar-Arvisu v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Anthony A. Coffey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

William T. Sexton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B misdemeanor false informing and Class D felony attempting to acquire a legend drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge.

Robert W. Gard v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s grant of the state’s motion for relief from order, which set aside its previous order granting Gard’s motion to suppress.

Michael J. Huffman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Paternity of C.F.; Rita K. Manns v. Richard A. Faler (NFP)
Juvenile. Reverses and remands order of the trial court emancipating Manns’ son and terminating the support obligation of Faler.

William E. Cathey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following convictions of two counts of Class D felony theft.

Candace Brewer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.

Donald R. Tweedy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of maintaining a common nuisance as a Class D felony, and driving while suspended as a Class A misdemeanor.

David Alan Davis Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses termination from the Madison County Drug Court Program and remands with instructions.

Michael Todd Hughes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Hughes’ motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

James E. McGee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of child molesting as Class A felonies.

Kenneth L. Duckworth Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s finding Duckworth is a habitual offender following his three convictions for dealing in a controlled substance, one as a Class A felony and the other two as Class B felonies.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions before IL deadline.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise