Opinions June 22, 2011

June 22, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Michael Lee Mokol Jr.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen.
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The District Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting bad acts testimony through Lori Miller’s testimony as to Mokol’s statement that he would put anyone who told on him “in the ground;” or in admitting bad acts evidence involving his daughter’s testimony about the gun “prank” in the Rising Sun parking lot. The District Court did not err in restricting cross-examination of his daughter and the District Court didn’t abuse its discretion by instructing the jury as to constructive possession.

Indiana Supreme Court
D.M. v. State of Indiana
Juvenile. Affirms admission of D.M.’s confession in a delinquency proceeding, in which D.M. claims he wasn’t afforded an opportunity for meaningful consultation with his mother and the waiver of his rights wasn’t knowing and voluntary. There was substantial evidence of probative value to support the decision to admit the confession. Also concludes the juvenile waiver form used by police in this case should be clarified.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jerrme Cartwright v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses Cartwright’s convictions of two counts of Class C felony attempted battery with a deadly weapon, two counts of Class B felony attempted aggravated battery, and one count of Class B felony possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon because the state’s proffered explanations for striking the only African-American juror from the jury panel were pretextual and the result of purposeful discrimination. Remands for a new trial. There is sufficient evidence to retry him on the attempted battery with a deadly weapon convictions. Judge Vaidik dissents.

Perry O. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms calculation of pretrial and credit time.

Carl Andre Coleman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Grants petition for rehearing and remands with instructions that the trial court reinstate Coleman’s conviction of attempted rape and for sentencing on that offense. Affirms in all other respects.

Latoyia Tuggles v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony forgery and Class D felony theft.

D.H. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Dismisses appeal of order requiring D.H. to pay restitution.

Zachard D.A. Edwards v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms order revoking home detention and probation.

Commitment of A.R. (NFP)
Mental health. Affirms order for temporary involuntary commitment.

Arden Balmer, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for felony murder and Class B felony criminal confinement.

Pete Burgmeier v. Robert Akin (NFP)
Small claim. Affirms award of $2,348.09 to Akin and denial of Burgmeier’s counterclaim seeking $5,020 in damages.

David B. Tyra v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life.

Todd A. Harmon v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Michael O. Branch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class D felony operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.