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Opinions July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:

Connie J. Orton-Bell v. State of Indiana
13-1235
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses summary judgment for the state on Orton-Bell’s lawsuit alleging sex discriminating and hostile work environment claims after she was fired for having an affair with the major in charge of custody at the prison where they worked. There is evidence that she was similarly situated to the major, who was allowed to resign, keep his benefits, and return to work at the DOC through a contractor. Affirms judgment for the state on her retaliation claims.


Tuesday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Kenyatta Erkins v. State of Indiana
58S01-1309-CR-586
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury. Presents first impression issue of whether the state must establish the existence of serious bodily injury for Erkins’ conviction to stand. Because conspiracy is a crime consisting of intent to commit an underlying crime, an agreement between or among conspirators to commit the underlying crime, and an overt act by one of the conspirators in furtherance of the agreement, the state needed only to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to support his conviction. Justice Rucker concurs in part and dissents in part to which Chief Justice Dickson joins.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark Rolley v. Melissa Rolley
87A01-1307-DR-330
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of Melissa Rolley’s petition to modify child support from $350 per week to $1,419 per week. Finds the trial court did not err in based on the appeals court’s analysis of the plain language of the child support modification statute, its recognition that the law governing child support agreements differs from that governing other contractual agreements, and its recognition that the ultimate concern is the child’s well-being.

City of Gary v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and Guadalupe T. Franco
93A02-1312-EX-1016
Agency appeal. Affirms decision that Franco had been discharged but not for just cause and is entitled to unemployment benefits. The paperwork documenting the chain of custody of a urine sample of Franco was not completed properly, and the city could have produced more information to prove Franco’s sample did arrive at the facility intact.

Steven R. Perry v. State of Indiana
39A01-1312-CR-517
Criminal. Affirms denial of Perry’s motion for credit time for time spent on electronic monitoring as a drug court program participant. A participant in drug court is not awaiting trial or awaiting sentencing under I.C. 35-50-6-3, and the statutes governing electronic monitoring as a condition of probation are inapplicable to a person who voluntarily participates in a drug court program.

James K. Melton, Perdue Foods, LLC f/k/a Perdue Farms Incorporated and FPP Business Services, Inc., et al. v. Chad Stephens, Guardian of the Person and Estate of Stacy S. Stephens and Chad Stephens
14A01-1308-CT-356
Civil tort. Affirms findings of fact and conclusions thereon determining that the substantive laws of the state of Illinois apply to a motor vehicle collision which occurred in that state between residents of Indiana. The place of the tort is significant to the action.

Tender Loving Care Management, Inc., d/b/a TLC Management LLC, et al. v. Randall Sherls, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Birdie Sherls, Deceased
45A05-1311-CT-562
Civil tort. Reverses trial court finding that an arbitration agreement was unenforceable because of ambiguity because the extrinsic evidence resolves the ambiguity surrounding the identity of the parties to the agreement. Concludes Birdie Sherls’ son had the authority to enter the agreement and therefore had the authority to waive her right to a jury trial. Remands for further proceedings.

Robert L. Dixon v. State of Indiana
84A01-1307-CR-339
Criminal. Reverses denial of motion to suppress certain evidence which was discovered through a pat-down search following a traffic infraction. The trial court abused its discretion when it denied Dixon’s motion to suppress evidence located in violation of Dixon’s Fourth Amendment rights. Judge Bradford dissents.

Scott Greenier v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1312-CR-602
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor battery.

Jacob A. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
65A01-1312-CR-529
Criminal. Affirms sentence for three counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.T., Minor Child, and K.S., Mother, K.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A05-1312-JT-580
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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