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Opinions Jan. 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
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Indiana Tax Court
William W. Thorsness v. Porter County Assessor
49T10-1102-TA-14
Tax. Affirms final determination of the Indiana Board of Tax Review regarding Thorsness’ 2007 real property assessment. The burden-shifting rule contained in Indiana Code 6-1.1-15-1(p) and its progeny applies only to valuation challenges, not to uniform and equal constitutional challenges. Concludes that the Indiana Board of Tax Review did not err by determining that Thorsness’ ratio study did not demonstrate that the assessor’s assessment lacked uniformity.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Saral Reed and Durham School Services, Inc. v. Richard Bethel
49A02-1301-CT-9
Civil. Affirms a $3.9 million jury verdict in favor of Richard Bethel, who was struck by a school bus as he rode a bicycle to school. The appellate panel held that Reed and Durham were not deprived of a fair trial, that evidence the jury considered was properly admitted, and that the jury’s damages award is supported by evidence in the record.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Kimberly S. Earl and The Estate of Jerry Earl
36A05-1212-CT-635
Civil. Reverses a trial court award of $250,000 in favor of Earl and the estate and remands for a new trial, holding in a 2-1 opinion that evidence of the limits for an uninsured motorist policy was prejudicial to State Farm and should be ruled inadmissible as has been done in states such as Florida and Nebraska. Judge Patricia Riley dissents and would affirm the trial court, writing that prejudicial error is not established merely because the jury awarded the policy limit, but rather the jury awarded the policy limit in light of overwhelming evidence.

Jeffrey A. Cleary v. State of Indiana
45A03-1212-CR-518
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony causing death when operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol content over 0.15 and various lesser counts for which a 14-year sentence was imposed. The court rejected Cleary’s claim that his conviction in a retrial after a judge denied his request for a directed verdict constituted double jeopardy. Judge Terry Crone dissented, finding that the court should have entered judgment on a conviction of a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge after Cleary’s first trial, and that the retrial was a violation of his Article I, Section 14 protections against double jeopardy under the Indiana Constitution.

Roberta Himes v. Bruce Thompson (NFP)
71A05-1305-CT-210
Civil. Affirms jury damages verdict of $13,600 in favor of Roberta Himes resulting for an auto collision.

Jess G. Revercomb, Sr. v. Yellow Book Sales and Distribution Company, Inc. (NFP)
49A02-1305-CC-447
Collection. Affirms trial court judgment that Revercomb assumed liability as both a corporate representative and a personal guarantor when he signed advertising contracts with Yellow Book on behalf of a construction company.

Randall Capatina v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1304-CR-131
Criminal. Affirms four-year executed sentence for conviction of Class C felony disarming a law-enforcement officer.
 
Jerry Dillon v. State of Indiana, Burton A. Padove, Laurie Leber, and Patricia Pitcher (NFP)
45A05-1304-CT-165
Civil tort. Affirms dismissal of Dillon’s complaint.

Jason Halcomb v. State of Indiana (NFP)
69A01-1306-CR-280
Criminal. Affirms conviction of two counts of Class A felony child molesting and 40-year sentence. Judge Elaine Brown dissents, finding the sentence inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and Halcomb’s character, and would sentence him to no more than the advisory term.

Wesley Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1305-CR-467
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

In the Matter of: N.W. (minor child), a Child in Need of Services; A.B. (Mother) and No.W. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
53A04-1307-JC-335
Juvenile. Affirms determination that N.W. is a child in need of services.

Timothy Michael v. Gene Chandler (NFP)
20A04-1306-SC-300
Small claims. Affirms judgment of $5,697.50 in favor of Chandler.

Michael Sakha v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1305-PC-425
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief from a 50-year sentence for Class A convictions of attempted murder, attempted robbery and misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license.

Carlton Hillman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1305-CR-241
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and Class B felony dealing in a narcotic drug.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: O.M. and T.M. (Minor Children), and B.M. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
42A01-1303-JT-152
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Indiana Supreme Court issued no opinions by IL deadline.
7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.

 

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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  2. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  3. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

  4. If our State Government would sue for their rights to grow HEMP like Kentucky did we would not have these issues. AND for your INFORMATION many medical items are also made from HEMP. FOOD, FUEL,FIBER,TEXTILES and MEDICINE are all uses for this plant. South Bend was built on Hemp. Our states antiquated fear of cannabis is embarrassing on the world stage. We really need to lead the way rather than follow. Some day.. we will have freedom in Indiana. And I for one will continue to educate the good folks of this state to the beauty and wonder of this magnificent plant.

  5. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

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