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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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