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Opinions Feb. 27, 2013

February 27, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Lamont Holloway v. State of Indiana
49A02-1207-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft. The evidence was sufficient to support the convictions.

In the Matter of the Paternity of G.W., J.W. v. R.M.

22A01-1205-JP-234
Juvenile. Reverses denial of mother’s two motions to dismiss the paternity action commenced by R.M. R.M. cannot serve as G.W.’s next friend, and R.M. failed to timely register with the Putative Father Registry, so he impliedly consented to the adoption of his minor child and is now barred from establishing paternity.

Midwest Minerals, Inc. v. Fred L. Wilson, Rick Jenkins, Joseph Kenworthy, Michael Tewell, and James Clayton, et al.

84A04-1205-MI-258
Miscellaneous. Affirms judgment in favor of the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Area Plan Commission of Vigo County and the Board of Commissioners of Vigo County on Midwest Minerals’ complaint alleging inverse condemnation and seeking damages. The trial court didn’t err when it concluded that the 17-month period from the time that the public water condition was implemented until it was reversed did not constitute inverse condemnation.

Storm Damage Specialists of America d/b/a America's SDS Construction, Inc. v. Melissa A. Johnson and Michael B. Johnson

64A03-1209-CT-386
Civil tort. The trial court properly entered judgment in favor of the Johnsons after Storm Damage Specialists collected an insurance check and failed to perform any work on the Johnsons’ roof. Finds the court erred when it ordered Storm Damage Specialists to pay four times the $4,224.78 compensatory damages amount. Remands with instructions the trial court award treble damages and reduce the total judgment award by $4,224.78.

Paula Tackett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A05-1205-CR-267
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine and Class B felony conspiracy to commit dealing.

Michael Chambers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

53A01-1209-CR-401
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor but remands to the trial court with instructions to impose concurrent sentences.

Jason A. Cafouras v. State of Indiana (NFP)
16A01-1208-CR-347
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor of driving while suspended.

Michael Merriweather v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1204-CR-159
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felonies robbery and attempted robbery, Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license. Remands with instructions to correct the abstract of judgment and chronological case summary because they contain clerical errors.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax 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. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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