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Opinions Jan. 26, 2011

January 26, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Ty Brock
10-2385
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress items found in Brock’s car during a checkpoint stop. Because the checkpoint was neither objectively nor subjectively intrusive in any way that would outweigh the government’s interest in operating it, the checkpoint stop didn’t violate his Fourth Amendment rights.

Maurice Gipson v. United States of America
09-2756
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division, Judge Larry J. McKinney.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment for the government in Gipson’s suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act complaining about complications of neck surgery because the prison’s medical staff didn’t tell him that he needed to stop taking blood thinners at least five days before the surgery. The medical staff should have told Gipson to stop taking the aspirin, and there is conflicting evidence as to whether he ran out of aspirin more than five days before his operation as the government argues. Remands for further proceedings.

Indiana Supreme Court
Fredrick Michael Baer v. State of Indiana
48S00-0709-PD-362
Death penalty. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief following previous affirmation of Baer’s death sentence for two counts of murder. He did not receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel, his death sentence doesn’t violate the Eighth Amendment, and the trial judge didn’t error in rejecting his guilty but mentally ill plea.

Indiana Court of Appeals
S.S. v. Review Board
93A02-1006-EX-738
Civil. Affirms dismissal of S.S.’s appeal following the denial of unemployment benefits and the denial of her request for reinstatement of her appeal. S.S. was afforded due process and a reasonable opportunity for a hearing, and there was no error in the review board’s consideration of evidence or in its denial of her request to reinstate her appeal. Judge Brown dissents.

Dan Cristiani Excavating Co. Inc. v. Jeremy Money and Kerri Money
10A05-1002-CT-114
Civil tort. Affirms verdict in favor of the Moneys for injuries sustained by Jeremy in a bulldozer accident. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying bifurcation of the trial or in declining to allow the jury to view actual or photographic evidence of the bulldozer involved. Cristiani waived the issue of whether Jeremy’s life-care planner was qualified to testify as an expert and that the weight to be given to her testimony was properly conceded by the jury. Cristiani failed to establish actual personal bias by the trial judge.

A.H. v. State of Indiana
10A05-1003-CR-256
Criminal. Reverses one count of Class B felony incest. The evidence, which included A.H.’s stipulated polygraph, was insufficient to prove this conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. Remands for the trial court to vacate this conviction and accompanying sentence and for further proceedings.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of T.T., et al.; A.T. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
29A05-1008-JT-475
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parent-child relationship.

Gene Hooks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1005-CR-220
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class C felony child molesting.

Jonathan R. Dye v. State of Indiana (NFP)
21A01-1004-CR-168
Criminal. Revises sentence following guilty plea to two counts of dealing in a controlled substance, one as a Class B and one as a Class C felony, and remands for a sentence of 10 years with two years suspended.

Christopher West v. State of Indiana (NFP)
21A04-1004-CR-303
Criminal. Affirms West’s convictions of two counts of dealing in cocaine as class B felonies and one count of possession of cocaine as a Class D felony. Reverses the trial court’s imposition of consecutive sentences as to the two dealing convictions. Remands for further proceedings.

Melissa A. (Scales) Crupper v. Charles D. Scales, Jr. (NFP)
87A05-1008-DR-500
Domestic relation. Affirms judgment granting father physical custody of the children.

Tevin Reaves v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1005-CR-332
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder but sua sponte vacates the conviction of conspiracy to commit murder and sentence on double jeopardy grounds.

Paternity of T.A.; J.M. v. A.A. (NFP)
28A01-1007-JP-387
Juvenile. Affirms order that J.M.’s minor child should assume the surname of A.A., the child’s mother.

Arthur E. Lott, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1006-CR-383
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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