Opinions June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Gabriel V. Mendoza v. United States of America
13-3195, 13-3196
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Civil. Affirms denial of Mendoza’s petition for relief from his drug convictions. He was not deprived due process when an interpreter relocated her position in the courtroom to translate for a witness nor was he provided ineffective assistance of counsel.

Indiana Court of Appeals
George Patrick v. Keith Butts, Superintendent, State of Indiana and Indiana Parole Board
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of Patrick’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The order that Patrick participate in the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program does not violate the ex post facto clause of the Indiana Constitution.

Michael Torres v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder and Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license. There was no fundamental error when the chief forensic pathologist testified as an expert witness instead of the doctor who performed the autopsy, who had left the state by the time Torres’ trial began. Torres’ right to confrontation was not violated. Judge Kirsch dissents and would remand for a new trial.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Edward P. Dechert, Trustee of the Bankruptcy Estate of John E. Smith and Isley's Plumbing, Inc.
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Wells Fargo’s motion to set aside default judgments against it in favor of Dechert, as bankruptcy trustee for John E. Smith Builders Inc. and Isley’s Plumbing Inc. Dechert’s and Isley’s second amended complaint and crossclaim did not vacate the default judgments entered in their favor against Wells Fargo. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Wells Fargo’s motion to set aside the default judgments on the basis of defective service of process. The trial court did not abuse its discretion on policy grounds when it denied the motion to set aside the default judgments.

Keith D. Bott v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Joshua Ketchem v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Edwin Hunt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence for Class B felony burglary and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Bruce L. Truett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of placement in community corrections and order Truett serve three of his six years in the Department of Correction.

Larry Page v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Demitrus Grant v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after license was suspended for life.

In re the Paternity of E.S.: Makayla LeGault v. Michael J. Scott (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms modification of mother’s custody of minor child and grant of sole physical custody of child to Scott.

Christopher Baxter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence for murder.

Signature Estates of Indiana, Inc. d/b/a Gordon Marketing, Stephens-Matthews Marketing, Inc., Shields Brokerage, Inc. et al. v. Conseco Medical Insurance Company, et al. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Reverses partial summary judgment for Conseco Medical Insurance Company and other defendants in lawsuit alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Remands for further proceedings.

Omert'a LLC, Dino Zurzolo d/b/a Shangri-La East, and Wholesalers, Inc. d/b/a Shangri-La Show Club v. Phillip Gray (NFP)
Agency action. Affirms order directing payment of money to complainant Gray and other actions by the respondents.

David Gregg v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms two-year sentence imposed after Gregg admitted violating a term of his probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.


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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.