Opinions July 29, 2010

July 29, 2010
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Louis and Karen Metro Family LLC, et al. v. Lawrenceburg Conservancy District, et al.
09-2418, -2482
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Magistrate Judge William G. Hussman.
Civil. Affirms the City of Lawrenceburg and the Lawrenceburg Conservancy District breached their contract with the Metros to convey land to the Metros based on the option contract their company held. Vacates decision to reform the contract to change the date by which the option could be exercised from 18 months after completion of the project to 18 months after the date of the District Court opinion. Remands for further proceedings to calculate damages and to assess costs against the district and city.

United States of America v. David Diaz-Gaudarama
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, Judge David F. Hamilton.
Criminal. Affirms District Court denial to credit Diaz-Gaudarama with the two-point reduction for acceptance of responsibility. The District Court properly relied on the last-minute nature of Diaz-Gaudarama’s guilty plea and his own statements during his plea colloquy don’t reflect remorse. He had even faked psychological illness in an attempt to evade punishment.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
S.T. v. Community Hospital North In-Patient Psychiatric Unit
Civil. Affirms temporary involuntary commitment of S.T. There is sufficient evidence to support the commitment for a period of no more than 90 days. Declines to change the standard of review in cases involving sufficiency of evidence required for involuntary commitment.

Eric C. Danner v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of dealing in cocaine, possession with intent to deliver over three grams as a Class A felony and possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor. The decision of the corporal to impound Danner’s car, which was later approved by her supervisor, was valid under paragraph K of the written police department policy and the evidence was properly admitted. The corporal’s observation of the marijuana was a proper plain view observation providing the officer with probable cause, and the search of the car doesn’t violate state or federal constitutional rights.

Elizabeth Bernel v. Jeffrey A. Bernel
Civil. Affirms denial of injunctive relief for Elizabeth. Reverses conclusion that the settlement agreement didn’t require Jeffrey to refinance or otherwise satisfy the outstanding balance on the JP Morgan Bank line of credit as necessary to remove the lien of debt from that account. Remands for the dissolution court to enter a money judgment in the amount of $950,000 for Elizabeth and against Jeffrey and to determine a reasonable amount of attorney fees. Holds Elizabeth shall be awarded prejudgment interest.  

State of Indiana v. Carla F. Wells (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court order granting Wells’ motion to suppress.

Eastern Livestock, Inc. and Thomas P. Gibson v. Bill Day (NFP)
Civil. Affirms findings regarding “missing cattle” and the damages award to Day, charges made by Eastern and/or Gibson in Day’s account, and overpayments that Eastern and Gibson allegedly made to Day. Also affirms conclusion that Day’s pasture contracts with Gibson were not unconscionable and the refusal to award prejudgment interest to Day.

Donna Demko v. Jeffrey P. Demko (NFP)
Civil. Grants petition for rehearing and reaffirms original opinion on child support, custody and other matters.

Jeffrey B. Flora v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to remove sexually violent predator status.

Scott S. Nowatzke v. Lorine L. Nowatzke (NFP)
Civil. Affirms division of property pursuant to the dissolution of the marriage.

Debra L. Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.

Harvey L. Lancaster v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B misdemeanors disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Mickel J. Mills v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony criminal trespass and Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Robert F. Dougan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class D felony residential entry and three counts of Class D felony intimidation.

Ryan E. Whitley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony public indecency.

Raymond Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Joe L. Knuckles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Adam N. Bock v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent to 0.08 or more as a Class C misdemeanor.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.