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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. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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