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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. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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