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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. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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