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Opinions June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Brad W. Passwater v. State of Indiana
48S05-1210-PC-583
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court denial of Passwater’s petition for relief. In the decision, the court reconsiders the instructions it approved in Georgopuls v. State, 735 N.E. 2d 1138, 1143 n.3 (Ind. 2000), for juries faced with the option of finding a defendant not responsible by reason of insanity or guilty but mentally ill. The court concluded the instruction provided by the Indiana Pattern Jury Instruction 11.20 is better and approved its use.

Valentin Escobedo v. State of Indiana
71S03-1306-CR-455
Criminal. Affirms aggregate term of 53 years for convictions of battery, a Class A felony and neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony. The court disapproves of giving consideration of a community’s outrage in the determination or review of a criminal sentence. However, the court does agree with the ultimate conclusion of the Court of Appeals that the sentence imposed by the trial court was appropriate.

In Re Mandate of Funds for Center Township of Marion County Small Claims Court Order for Mandate and Mandate of Funds
49S00-1207-MF-420
Mandate for funds. Affirms special judge’s decree approving renovations, additional staff and prohibiting relocation of the small claims court as had been sought by the Center Township trustee and board. Justices conclude the record is replete with evidence that moving the court from its present location poses a clear and present danger to access to justice for the litigants it serves, and that maintaining and upgrading the Court in its present location is reasonably necessary to preserve that access. Orders the township trustee to relinquish control over court functions, noting authority over its employees and its financial operations shall be vested solely in the court.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Horse Racing Commission v. Edmund W. Martin, Jr.
49A02-1206-PL-512
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court order setting aside and vacating an exclusion order issued by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission against Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association director Edmund Martin Jr., and remands for reinstatement of the order. The court held that the exclusion order was not arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law, and Indiana Code 4-31-6-1 and Rule 5.5-1-1(a) required him to be licensed as an active participant in the group’s activities at Indiana pari-mutuel horse racetracks.

Shannon Robinson and Bryan Robinson v. Erie Insurance Exchange
49A02-1211-PL-908
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Erie Insurance Exchange, holding that a hit-and-run driver was uninsured as a matter of law. Holds that summary judgment instead should have been granted to plaintiffs who sued over denial of coverage in an accident in which their vehicle was totaled but there were no bodily injuries.

Calvin McKeller v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1209-CR-714
Criminal. Affirms conviction after jury trial of Class B felony robbery.

John P. Schaub v. The Estate of Edward G. Schaub and David Schaub, Personal Representative (NFP)
54A01-1301-PL-11
Civil plenary. Reverses damage award of $12,000. Finds the estate did not meet the burden of proof in proving the elements of a replevin claim. The estate failed to present evidence relative to the value of the recreational vehicle on the date that the possession by John Schaub became wrongful.

Larry G. Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A2-1208-CR-657
Criminal. Affirms Brown’s convictions and sentences for two counts of Class A felony child molesting.

Christopher Gross v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A04-1210-CR-647
Criminal. Affirms Gross’ sentence of 30 months of incarceration following his conviction of Class D felony possession of a controlled substance.

Gregory D. Swagger v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A02-1212-CR-1018
Criminal. Affirms trial court was statutorily authorized to revoke Swagger’s probation and order him to serve the rest of his four-year sentence in the Department of Correction.

Robert J. Lambright, Shirley A. Lambright, and Dutch Land, Inc. a/k/a Dutchland, Inc. v. Dawn M. Gregory, as Guardian for Donna Lee (NFP)
44A04-1211-CC-589
Civil collection. Reverses the grant of summary judgment and remands for further proceedings. Holds the trial court erred by considering a letter from a certified public account that was not properly part of the designated evidence and that there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the lenders waived or partially waived enforcement of the penalty provisions.   

Brandon Shane Fitch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
27A05-1209-CR-481
Criminal. Affirms convictions of five counts of child molesting, each as a Class C felony.
 
David Gibbs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1208-CR-406
Criminal. Affirms conviction of arson as a Class B felony.
 
Tony Wombels v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1212-CR-652
Criminal. Affirms conviction of carjacking, a Class B felony.

Santos Vasquez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1301-CR-1
Criminal. Affirms conviction of burglary as a class B felony.  

Layne M. Jefferson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1211-CR-952
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to theft as a Class D felony. Concludes the sentence the trial court imposed – three years in the Indiana Department of Correction with one year executed and to be served at a work release facility, and two years suspended to supervised probation – is specifically tailored with Jefferson’s particular history and rehabilitative issue in mind.  

Daniel Drake v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1212-CR-972
Criminal. Affirms conviction of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor.

Gersh Zavodnik v. Michela Rinaldi, et al. (NFP)
49A05-1211-CT-595
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of Zavodnik’s case against Rinaldi pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 41(E).

The Paternity of P.A.B.; K.B. v. J.L. (NFP)
15A04-1210-GU-518
Guardianship. Affirms trial court’s order terminating guardianship and granting motion for change of custody to the father. Finds the grandmother failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that P.A.B.’s interests were substantially and significantly served by continued placement with her.

State of Indiana v. Harley Perkins (NFP)
48A02-1210-CR-823
Criminal. Affirms the trial court’s order granting a mistrial and dismissing the charges against Perkins.

Heather Renae Ingle v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1211-CR-901
Criminal. Affirms Ingle’s convictions of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated endangering a person, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Re: Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of J.W,. and K.S. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
65A01-1211-JT-535
Juvenile. Affirms termination of father’s parental rights.

Marquis Wilcox v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1209-CR-456
Criminal. Affirms Wilcox’s convictions on four counts of Class A felony child molesting.   

Terrance L. Walton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-1210-CR-518
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license and Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated endangering a person.

Jarrell Outlaw v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1210-CR-521
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor auto theft and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Also affirms trial court’s order Outlaw pay $166 in court cost.

Indiana Tax Court
Geoffrey Odle, Personal Representative of the Estate of Floyd L. Odle, Deceased v. Indiana Dept. of State Revenue
49T10-1210-TA-61
Tax. Affirms probate court ruling affirming a denial of a tax refund, holding that beneficiaries of the estate – nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews of a childless couple – were properly classified as Class B and Class C transferees subject to taxation at a higher rate than Class A transferees.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by 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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