Opinions July 25, 2013

July 25, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jama Mire and Hassan Rafle
12-2792, 12-2793
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms both men’s convictions of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cathinone; affirms Mire’s additional convictions of knowingly using or maintaining a place for the purpose of distributing and using cathinone; and possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing cathinone. Rejects claims that that their due process rights were violated because they were not given fair warning that the possession of “khat” may be illegal; and that the District Court erred under Daubert in admitting government expert witness testimony regarding khat plants that were seized at the coffee house and tested for cathinone, a controlled substance. Rejects Mire’s argument that his conviction for conspiracy to distribute khat and his conviction for maintaining a place for the distribution or use of khat violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason King v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 45-year sentence for attempted murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying King’s motion to suppress evidence regarding his confession.

Farmers Mutual Insurance Company of Grant and Blackford Counties v. M Jewell, LLC, Auditor of Grant County, Indiana and Treasurer of Grant County, Indiana
Miscellaneous. Reverses order denying Farmers Mutual’s petition to set aside a tax deed issued to M Jewell, LLC. The denial of the petition was clearly erroneous because it was based on the conclusion that the auditor’s failure to search his records was, in essence, harmless. Remands with instructions to grant the petition.

Eddie G. Showley, Executor, Estate of Phillip J. Showley v. Tracey Kelsey, Individually and as Successor Personal Representative of the Estate of Sonya Sue Showley
Estate, supervised. Affirms order distributing the wrongful death proceeds to Tracey Kelsey, individually and as successor personal representative of the estate of Sonya Sue Showley. The trial court properly applied the law and thus, did not abuse its discretion by applying Rhode Island statutory law to the distribution of the wrongful death settlement. Judge Brown dissents.

Jason E. Morales v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms denial of petition for placement in the Vanderburgh County Forensic Diversion Program. Concludes that the trial court’s denial of sex offender Morales’ petition was not an abuse of discretion because there was no final administrative decision for the trial court to review and that, even if the program had explicitly rejected Morales, its decision would not have been arbitrary or capricious because Morales was ineligible under the statute. Finally, even assuming solely for argument’s sake that Morales had been eligible under the statute, Indiana counties have the ability to determine the scope of their forensic diversion programs.

Bradley T. Steidle v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and remands with instructions to vacate Steidle’s Class A misdemeanor conviction and sentence and enter a judgment and an appropriate sentence for operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a Class C misdemeanor.

Virgil Pyles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses calculation of the remaining balance of Pyles’ suspended sentence upon revocation of his probation. The trial court is directed to amend its sentencing order on petition to revoke to reflect that as of Nov. 29, 2012, Pyles had 609 days left to serve on his original suspended sentence.

Lorraine V. Kucki, Michael J. Kucki, Michael R. Bradash, Ziese & Sons Excavating, Inc.: Construction Services.; Biesen Excavating, Inc. and V & H Excavating, Inc. v. Jessica Archer (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms order denying the Kuckis’ and other defendants’ joint motion for summary judgment, contending that the trial court erred in ordering the substitution of a plaintiff with no damages as the real party in interest.

Mark R. Hurst v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony robbery and Class D felony criminal confinement.

Na-Son D. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentences for two counts of murder and one count of robbery as a Class A felony.

Donald R. Smitty v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated causing endangerment and sentence. Remands for the limited purpose of correcting the record to show that the operating while intoxicated charge is enhanced by the three-year sentence that was imposed in light of the habitual substance-offender finding.

Clarissa Brewer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class D felony neglect of a dependent. Concludes that the trial court abused its discretion by imposing community service in lieu of fines and costs and by improperly delegating Brewer’s ability to pay fines and costs to the probation department. Remands with instructions.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline.


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?