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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. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  2. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  3. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

  4. If our State Government would sue for their rights to grow HEMP like Kentucky did we would not have these issues. AND for your INFORMATION many medical items are also made from HEMP. FOOD, FUEL,FIBER,TEXTILES and MEDICINE are all uses for this plant. South Bend was built on Hemp. Our states antiquated fear of cannabis is embarrassing on the world stage. We really need to lead the way rather than follow. Some day.. we will have freedom in Indiana. And I for one will continue to educate the good folks of this state to the beauty and wonder of this magnificent plant.

  5. Put aside all the marijuana concerns, we are talking about food and fiber uses here. The federal impediments to hemp cultivation are totally ridiculous. Preposterous. Biggest hemp cultivators are China and Europe. We get most of ours from Canada. Hemp is as versatile as any crop ever including corn and soy. It's good the governor laid the way for this, regrettable the buffoons in DC stand in the way. A statutory relic of the failed "war on drugs"

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