Opinions July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Antonio L. Vaughn v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirmed Vaughn’s conviction and 40-year aggregate sentence for two counts of dealing in cocaine, each as a Class A felony, and one count of maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the controlled buys, statements of the confidential information and the cocaine. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury. Rules the evidence was sufficient to support Vaughn’s convictions. Holds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Vaughn but it made a clerical error on the sentencing order. Remanded to the trial court to correct error to reflect that Vaughn was sentenced for maintaining a common nuisance conviction to three years, not three-and-a-half years.

In re: The Grandparent Visitation of C.S.N.: Brooke Neuhoff v. Scott A. Ubelhor and Angela S. Ubelhor
Miscellaneous. Reverses and vacates trial court’s award of grandparent visitation for paternal grandparents Scott and Angela Ubelhor. The trial court erred in findings that awarded visitation because it failed to consider the totality of circumstances in determining that mother’s reasons for restricting visitation were unreasonable. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented and would affirm the trial court, which wrote that the trial court found visitation would be in the child’s best interests and there was no reason to believe visitation would resume without a court order.
Juan Manzano v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court’s denial of relief from a 50-year sentence for his conviction of Class A felony rape, concluding that Manzano did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.

Rebecca Stafford, Individually and as Surviving Parent of Drayden Powell, Deceased, and Drayden Powell, Deceased v. James E. Szymanowki, M.D. and Gyn, Ltd., Inc., and Joseph B. Clemente, M.D.
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on a medical malpractice claim. The panel held that the trial court properly concluded that another doctor’s testimony did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the liability of Dr.  Szymanowski; (2) GYN cannot be held vicariously liable for the perceived acts of medical malpractice committed by Dr. Smith when Dr. Smith’s conduct was never reviewed by the medical review panel; and (3) the trial court properly concluded that no recovery exists for the 2007 death of a child not born alive under the Child Wrongful Death Statute, as amended.

Jacqueline Myers v. Mark Myers
Domestic relation. Affirms in part and reverses in part a grant of Mark Myer’s motion to prevent Jacqueline Myer’s relocation to Texas with her daughter, H.M. Father’s petition was properly before the court. The trial court did not err in finding mother had not met her burden of proof in seeking to relocate. However, the court erred in ordering that father would receive automatic physical custody of H.M. if mother moved to Texas.

In the Matter of J.W., A Child in Need of Services J.W. (Minor Child), and M.K. (Mother), & D.W. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms in part and reverses in part, holding that a child in need of services finding was not error, nor was the trial court’s order that father complete a domestic violence assessment. But because there is no evidence father had a substance abuse problem, the court erred when it ordered him to submit to random drug testing.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of W.H., Minor Child, and His Mother, J.F., J.F. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Paul A. Croucher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part 40-year aggregate sentence and convictions of Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting. The trial court did not abuse discretion in admitting certain evidence and there was no prosecutorial misconduct. Remands for the trial court to amend its sentencing order because the court abused its discretion in classifying Croucher as a credit-restricted felon.

Alan R. Kohlhaas, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated v. Hidden Valley Lake Property Owners Association, Inc., and Robert A. Will, William Acra, Carl Adkins, et al. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of Hidden Valley Lake Property Owners Association and other defendants.

Christopher Anderson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief for conviction of murder, intimidation and possession of a handgun without a license.

James E. Manley v. Monroe County Prosecutor (NFP)
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court denial of Manley’s pro se “complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief/challenge to the constitutionality of Indiana statute” challenging his conviction of multiple counts of child molesting.

Brandon Hicks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 40-year sentence and conviction of Class B felony manslaughter and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Cynthia Marx v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and remands for correction of the sentencing order and abstract of judgment.

Brian Baxter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Baxter’s motion to compel certain public agencies to produce public records relating to his convictions of three counts of murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, resisting law enforcement and carrying a handgun without a license.

James Washington v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder, reverses in part and remands. There was sufficient evidence to rebut Washington’s claim of self defense, his sentence was appropriate, but on the state’s cross-appeal, the panel determined the trial court erred by finding conviction of Class B felony robbery was a lesser included offense. Remands with instruction that Washington be resentenced with the additional robbery conviction.

Jerrimica T. Madding v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions prior to 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.