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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
64A04-1209-CR-464
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
27A05-1211-MI-593
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
09A04-1301-ES-22
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

82A05-1302-CR-72
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)

12A04-1212-CR-623
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)
34A02-1301-CR-94
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)
45A03-1210-CT-422
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)
64A03-1209-CR-391
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony robbery and Class D felony criminal confinement.

Na-Son D. Smith v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1210-CR-872
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)
32A05-1212-CR-610
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)
49A05-1212-CR-633
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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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