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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
33A04-1311-MI-577
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
49A02-1308-CR-727
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.
34A02-1311-PL-980
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)
48A02-1312-CR-1058
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Joshua Ketchem v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1308-PC-695
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Edwin Hunt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
60A01-1309-CR-406
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence for Class B felony burglary and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Bruce L. Truett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1311-CR-926
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)
48A05-1311-PC-556
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Demitrus Grant v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1311-CR-959
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)
71A05-1312-JP-606
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)
22A01-1312-CR-551
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)
29A02-1310-PL-846
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)
93A02-1309-EX-812
Agency action. Affirms order directing payment of money to complainant Gray and other actions by the respondents.

David Gregg v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1311-CR-505
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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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