Opinions June 28, 2011

June 28, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court
Randy Horton v. State of Indiana
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.
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.
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)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class D felony theft and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Rodney L. Houser v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Jane Gonzales, et al. v. Mike Fitousis, et al. (NFP)
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)
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)
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)
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

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

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

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues