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Opinions June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014
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Indiana Supreme Court
The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Thursday.

Randy L. Knapp v. State of Indiana
28S00-1305-LW-327
Criminal. Affirms in all respects the murder conviction and life without parole sentence for Randy L. Knapp in the killing of Stacey Lawson. The court rejected Knapp’s claims that crime scene photos and expert witness testimony were improperly admitted and that his sentence wasn’t supported by evidence or was inappropriate in light of his character and nature of his offense.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Brian S. Moore v. Kristy L. Moore
49A04-1310-DR-499
Domestic relation. Reverses contempt finding against Brian Moore and 30-day suspended jail sentence. The trial court improperly denied his request for the appointment of counsel. Remands for the trial court to determine if he is indigent and, if so, to appoint counsel to represent him at a new contempt hearing.

Robert L. Slone v. State of Indiana
17A03-1312-CR-496
Criminal. Affirms 24-year sentence after Robert L. Slone pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary in two separate causes. The fact that the state chose to join charges for trial does not prove that Slone’s criminal actions arose from a single episode of criminal conduct, therefore, the court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing.

In the Matter of the Adoption of M.S.; C.L.S., v. A.L.S.
20A03-1306-AD-217
Adoption. Affirms trial court’s order granting stepmother’s petition to adopt minor daughter, M.S. Rejects mother’s argument that the trial court’s calculation of her child support arrearage as the equivalent of one year of missed payments was improper. Concludes that interpreting Indiana statute as meaning a parent must fail to pay child support for one entire calendar year could lead to absurd consequences. Also finds the adoption was in M.S.’s best interests.

Jonathan Stephens v. State of Indiana

85A02-1306-CR-518
Criminal. Affirms Class C felony criminal confinement conviction. There is sufficient evidence to support the conviction; Stephens’ attorney did not provide ineffective assistance; and, although the prosecutor made one improper remark during closing arguments, Stephens could not prove fundamental error. Remands with instructions for trial court to correct the sentencing order, abstract of judgment and chronological case summary to reflect that an 8-year habitual offender enhancement serves as an enhancement of the criminal confinement conviction.

Randolph Kelley v. State of Indiana and Paige A. Devlin
02A03-1308-CR-329
Criminal. Affirms trial court order awarding Devlin a $50,000 credit toward restitution in Kelly’s favor. The criminal court did not commit reversible error when it granted Devlin a credit toward the restitution order based on her insurer’s payment of damages pursuant to a civil settlement to satisfy the criminal court’s restitution order of $59.974.87 for injuries Kelley suffered as a result of Devlin operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Lakhvir Singh v. State of Indiana (NFP)

49A02-1309-CR-761
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony rape, Class B felony attempted criminal deviate conduct, Class D felony sexual battery, Class D felony strangulation and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Dena Alfayyad v. U.S. Bank National Association as Trustee for RASC 2007KS3 (NFP)
29A02-1307-MF-652
Mortgage foreclosure. Affirms summary judgment in favor of U.S. Bank National Association.

In the Matter of: A.H., Jb.H., and Je.H., Children in Need of Services, C.P. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
34A05-1401-JC-1
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication of children in need of services.

Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions Friday by IL deadline. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana opinions Friday by IL deadline.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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