Opinions Feb. 4, 2014

February 4, 2014
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
United States of America v. Darnell Jackson
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for unlawful possession of a weapon as a convicted felon. By selling the Ruger pistol to David Dircks, who like Jackson was prohibited from possessing a firearm, Jackson transferred the firearm in connection with a felony offense separate and distinct from the possession offense of which he was charged and convicted. Consequently, the District Court properly increased Jackson’s offense level pursuant to section 2K2.1(b)(6)(B).

Tuesday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Eric Smith v. Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, et al.
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses denial of Smith’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a policy that requires a permit before gathering on commission properties. The new policy, revised shortly after the District Court denied the motion, retains the problematic features of the old policy. Also, Smith has met the requirements for obtaining a preliminary injunction. Remands with instructions to enter an appropriate preliminary injunction.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ruben Gonzalez v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction for Class B felony aggravated battery because of a double jeopardy violation. Remands for trial court to reduce restitution award by $41,200, the amount of a permanent partial impairment settlement paid to Rodney Gahl, a correctional officer Gonzalez severely beat while incarcerated. A PPI payment is compensation for an injured employee’s permanent loss of physical function(s) rather than for an inability to work. Gahl, himself, could not have sought restitution at the criminal proceeding for loss of physical function, as it does not encompass already-incurred lost wages or medical expense. Accordingly, JWF Specialty Company, the third-party administrator for the state’s workers’ compensation benefits, cannot recover the PPI payment via its status as a surrogate victim.

In the Matter of C.U., A Child in Need of Services, C.U. and J.U. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication that child is a child in need of services. The evidence supports the designation under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents abandoned the child. Rejects the parents’ claim that the boy should have been adjudicated under I.C. 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members.  

Jason A. Fishburn v. Indiana Public Retirement System
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment for INPRS and the revised determination that Fishburn’s total monthly disability benefit payment from the 1977 fund is 79.85 percent of monthly salary of a first-class patrol officer. Although the statute is ambiguous, the court finds INPRS’ interpretation to be reasonable. Also, based upon the General Assembly’s inaction in the face of the INPRS’ interpretation of Ind. Code 36-8-8-13.5(f), the General Assembly is deemed to have acquiesced in INPRS’s interpretation of the disability benefit statutes.

In the Matter of Des.B. and Dem.B., Minor Children in Need of Services, E.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services

Juvenile. Affirms determination the children are children in need of services. The evidence supports the trial court’s findings that, as of the fact-finding hearing, the mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with the children’s fathers. The evidence also supports the trial court’s findings that these problems are harmful to the children. The trial court’s findings support its judgment that “there is a substantial risk of endangering the children” and that the children are in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation that they are not receiving and that is unlikely to be provided or accepted without the coercive intervention of the court.

Jerry Cooper v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and remands with instructions to correct a sentencing error.

James B.Wynne v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Thyssenkrupp Presta (NFP)
Agency action. Affirms finding that Wynne voluntarily left his employment without good cause.

Steven Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted dealing in cocaine and adjudication as a habitual offender. Remands with instructions that the trial court clarify in its records that it did not enter a judgment of conviction on Class B felony possession of cocaine.

Paul Fletcher v. National Financial Services d/b/a Fidelity Investments and Mark Zupan (NFP)
Civil plenary. The trial court did not err in considering the issue of the ownership of the 401(k) account because Fidelity filed a complaint for interpleader of the account and the parties filed a joint motion acknowledging that the account was at issue. The trial court erred in granting Zupan’s motion for summary judgment because Fletcher designated some evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact with regard to forgery. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it closed discovery after the case had been pending for more than three years.

Ramon Santana, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony rape and criminal deviate conduct.

Bradly Hornsby v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B misdemeanors public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

Brian Brough v. C. Richard Rush (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Rush on Brough’s legal malpractice complaint.

Junius U. Brooks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony robbery.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.