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Opinions Jan. 28, 2014

January 28, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Monday.

Bitler Investment Venture II, LLC, et al. v. Marathon Petroleum Company LP, et al.
12-3722.
Civil. Affirms in part, reverses in part a $269,000 judgment in favor of Bitler. Remands with instructions to double damages awarded under Michigan’s laws regarding doctrine of waste for properties that Marathon failed to maintain and were ultimately condemned. Reverses dismissal of certain contract claims and remands to the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for trial on those issues.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Tammy Lou Kelly v. State of Indiana
09A04-1303-CR-98
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s ruling that Tammy Lou Kelley is guilty but mentally ill after she attacked her boyfriend’s young daughter. Finds the lower court did not have sufficient probative evidence to disregard two psychiatrists’ conclusions that Young was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions at the time of the attack. Remands with instructions for the trial court to enter a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.  

Wayne Campbell v. State of Indiana
13A05-1304-PC-201
Post conviction. Affirms denial of relief from a conviction of Class B felony burglary, holding that Campbell failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of counsel. Campbell unsuccessfully argued that his trial counsel should have objected to an Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction regarding the definition of intent. Tension exists as to whether part of the instruction is a correct statement of law, and the Supreme Court has yet to resolve the issue.

Audie Wilson v. State of Indiana
49A02-1210-CR-846
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony and Class C felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and Class B felony attempted sexual misconduct with a minor. The court rejected appellate arguments that nicknames or aliases used by Wilson were improperly admitted and that the jury was improperly instructed with regard to Wilson’s defense that he had a reasonable belief that the victim was older than 16.

Jeremy Schath v. State of Indiana
16A05-1308-CR-433
Criminal. Reverses Class C misdemeanor conviction of chasing wildlife on private property without the consent of the owner, finding that the undisputed evidence showed Schath entered the property only for the purpose of retrieving a dog that had wandered from property where Schath had permission to hunt.

Allen County Public Library v. Shambaugh & Son, L.P., Hamilton Hunter Builders, Inc., W.A. Sheets & Sons, Inc., and MSKTD & Associates, Inc.
02A04-1302-PL-78
Civil plenary. On rehearing, reaffirms opinion in all respects that the library was entitled to pursue damages from defendants for diesel pollution that affected surrounding properties during a construction project, rejecting arguments raised for the first time on rehearing that there was no contamination outside the project area and that caselaw on which the defense relied was wrongly decided.

Michael Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1307-CR-590
Criminal. Affirms convictions of seven counts of Class A felony and three counts of Class C felony child molesting and habitual offender finding.

Jesse Imel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1306-CR-280
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 18-year sentence for Class B felony incest.

John Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1306-CR-277
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony auto theft.

Thomas A. Christopher v. Mike Raisor Imports (NFP)
79A05-1304-SC-214
Small claims. Affirms judgment in favor of Mike Raisor Imports.

In the Matter of the Involunatary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.B., Minor Child, and Her Mother, M.B., M.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

69A05-1305-JT-230
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Raul Fuentes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1306-CR-223
Criminal. Affirms conviction of three counts of Class A felony and four counts of Class C felony child molesting.

Eleanor L. Mitchell v. RIH Acquisitions IN, LLC, d/b/a Resorts East Chicago (NFP)
45A03-1306-CT-226
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict that defendants were not at fault for Mitchell’s injuries sustained in a fall in a casino parking lot.

Charles A. DePree v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A05-1308-PC-420
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court’s grant in part and denial in part of a petition for relief from a conviction of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Reginal Exson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1306-CR-490
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

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






 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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