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Opinions June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Horton v. State of Indiana
48S04-1106-CR-386
Criminal. Affirms convictions of child molesting but reverses 324-year sentence and orders it be reduced to an aggregate executed term of 110 years. Enhances one Class A felony conviction to 50 years and orders the 30-year advisory sentence on the remaining Class A felony convictions. Orders the Class C felony convictions to be four years on each count. Remands for the trial court to issue an amended sentencing order.  

Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of D.L., et al.; F.L. and C.B. v. I.D.C.S.
20A05-1009-JT-635
Juvenile. Dismisses appeal by the parents of the termination of parental rights order. The parents’ notices of intent to appeal were not “functionally equivalent” to a notice of appeal and the notices of intent do not serve to initiate the parents’ appeal on the date of filing. Finds no clear error in the decision of the trial court to terminate parental rights.

SJS Refractory Co., LLC, et al. v. Empire Refractory Sales, Inc.
02A04-1004-CT-233
Civil tort. Reverses $158,626 in damages to Empire for converted property that was subsequently returned and $12,600 in damages for certain materials. There is no evidence to support these awards. Reverses award of punitive damages on the breach of fiduciary duty claim. The complaint did not have a request for punitive damages on this claim and no request for these damages was made at trial. Affirms damages awarded to Empire for the converted property and tools not returned and the nearly $80,000 in attorney fees for conversion. Affirms order that Johnson, Salwolke, and SJS jointly and severally pay Empire’s attorneys $100,000. Remands for calculation of damages.

Winston D. Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1012-CR-1302
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony theft and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Rodney L. Houser v. State of Indiana (NFP)
92A03-1007-CR-399
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Jane Gonzales, et al. v. Mike Fitousis, et al. (NFP)
09A05-1006-CT-375
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict in favor of Indiana Head that it owed no duty to protect Gonzales’ daughter, who was employed by Indiana Head and killed by a co-worker.

Thomas Lee Keller, et al. v. Daniel Ray Keller (NFP)
17A03-1012-CC-644
Civil collections. Affirms calculation of the amount of tillable acreage as well as the determination that certain personal property should not be subject to the sale by public auction. Affirms calculation of cash rent due on two family farms.

Mark Wheatley v. Utility Trailers of Indianapolis, Inc. (NFP)
49A05-1012-CT-788
Civil tort. Affirms order denying Wheatley’s second motion for leave to amend his complaint against Utility Trailers of Indianapolis.

Ponie Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1006-CR-340
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of B.D.; A.D. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
52A05-1012-JT-803
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of Q.W., et al.; J.C. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
49A05-1010-JT-666
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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