Opinions Jan. 24, 2014

January 24, 2014
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Indiana Tax Court
William W. Thorsness v. Porter County Assessor
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
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
Civil tort. Affirms dismissal of Dillon’s complaint.

Jason Halcomb v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
Juvenile. Affirms determination that N.W. is a child in need of services.

Timothy Michael v. Gene Chandler (NFP)
Small claims. Affirms judgment of $5,697.50 in favor of Chandler.

Michael Sakha v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues