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Opinions July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Martin J. Jonassen
13-1410
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge James T. Mood.
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for kidnapping and obstruction of justice. The District Court properly declined to conduct a competency hearing. Although Jonassen asserted bizarre legal theories based on his claim of “sovereign citizenship,” that alone does not provide a reason to doubt his competence to stand trial, and the record does not otherwise suggest that he lacked the ability to understand the proceedings. The court’s evidentiary ruling was also sound. The government laid an ample foundation for admission of the hearsay statements under Rule 804(b)(6); the evidence established that Jonassen used bribery, guilt and various forms of psychological intimidation to procure his daughter’s unavailability. Finally, because he did not request Jencks Act material before the close of trial, his claim for relief under the Act necessarily fails.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Serenity Springs, Inc. and Laura Ostergren v. The LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau, by and through its Board of Managers
46A04-1309-MI-470
Miscellaneous. Reverses judgment in favor of LaPorte County Convention and Visitors Bureau that permanently enjoined Serenity Springs from using the Internet domain name visitmichigancitylaporte.com and transferred the domain name to the visitors bureau. “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” is not a protectable trade name and Serenity Springs’ use of it was not unfair competition.

John M. Abbott, LLC, Class Representative and All Others Similarly Situated v. Lake City Bank
02A05-1402-PL-53
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the bank on John M. Abbott LLC’s class action, alleging the bank breached the terms of its promissory note executed in conjunction with certain commercial real estate loans. The note makes clear that the term being defined – the 365/360 method – is the method of computing regular interest payments, not the annual interest rate.

Larry D. Knox v. State of Indiana
02A03-1312-CR-491
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal. The evidence most favorable to the judgment demonstrates that Knox knowingly or intentionally mutilated the cat when he kicked it so hard it knocked out a tooth.

M.G. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1311-JV-535
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication for committing what would be Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana if committed by an adult.

Hubert Cook Mayhugh III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1312-CR-531
Criminal.  Affirms conviction of felony murder and reverses Mayhugh’s Class D felony theft conviction. Affirms 60-year sentence.  

In the Matter of K.L., K.L., and K.G., C.L. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A02-1310-JC-894
Juvenile. Affirms order adjudicating the three children as children in need of services.

Randell Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
31A01-1401-CR-10
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony neglect of a dependent and four counts of Class A misdemeanor cruelty to an animal.

Connie Hinsenkamp, Town of Seelyville Clerk-Treasurer v. Seelyville Town Council; Jerry Jones, Council President; Jerry Reynolds, Council Member; and John Wade, Council Member (NFP)
84A01-1309-CC-408
Civil collection. Affirms partial denial of Hinsenkamp’s motion for summary judgment on the issues of compensation, her authority to discharge a town employee and the forfeiture of town council positions.

Marvin Strong v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A04-1401-CR-9
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections.

Ashley N. Lemon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
92A03-1310-CR-419
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Maurice Amos, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
27A02-1309-CR-840
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder, Class A felony attempted murder and Class D felony receiving stolen auto parts, and finding Amos is a habitual offender.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by 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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