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Opinions June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011
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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Bruce Lemmon, et al. v. Michael L. Harris
52S02-1011-CV-642
Civil. Reverses trial court judgment granting injunctive relief for Harris by removing his sexually violent predator status. Harris’ status is sexually violent predator by operation of law, and that classification does not violate the Indiana Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause or separation of powers provision. Justice Dickson dissents.

Brenda Moore v. State of Indiana
49S04-1101-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms Moore’s conviction of public intoxication as a Class B misdemeanor. Declines request to reverse Moore’s conviction on public policy grounds and she suffered no impingement of any alleged constitutional right to select which beverages to consume. Her accountability under the public intoxication statute doesn’t violate her personal liberty rights under the Indiana Constitution. Justice Rucker dissents.

Today’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals

United States of America v. Brook Abebe
10-3966
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms sentence of 300 months in prison following guilty plea to armed bank robbery, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There was no procedural error in the District Court’s calculation of Abebe’s sentence and his sentence is not substantively unreasonable.

Aaron Smeigh v. Johns Manville Inc.
10-3388
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment for Johns Manville on Smeigh’s suit for retaliatory discharge and civil conversion. Smeigh didn’t present sufficient evidence to conclude that he was fired in retaliation for filing workers’ compensation or that JM knowingly exerted unauthorized control over his property. Admonishes Smeigh’s counsel for a portion of the appeal not meeting the standards for presenting and developing arguments on appeal.

Indiana Supreme Court
Indiana Department of Child Services v. A.B.
71S00-1002-JV-156
Juvenile. Reverses trial court order finding Indiana Code sections 31-37-17-1.4, 31-37-18-9(a)-(b), and 31-40-1-2(f) as unconstitutional as violating the separation of powers principle and the “one subject” rule under the Indiana Constitution. The three statues are constitutional. The DCS’ requirement that the child be placed in Indiana rather than out of state was arbitrary and capricious. Upholds Judge Nemeth’s placement of the child at Canyon State Academy and the DCS should pay for the child’s placement.

Citizens State Bank of New Castle v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc.
76S03-1009-CV-515
Civil. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Countrywide and Federal National Mortgage Association. Countrywide has failed to demonstrate that it is entitled to the remedy of strict foreclosure. Remands with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of Citizens Bank, and for all relief consistent with this opinion. Justice Sullivan dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Zachery Blackwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
67A01-1101-CR-98
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony attempted robbery, and Class D felonies criminal confinement and aiding rioting.

James Deloney Jr v. State of Indiana (NFP)

29A02-1010-CR-1227
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Christopher Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1010-CR-1157
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class D felony theft.

Martin J. Russell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
83A04-1011-CR-671
Criminal. Dismisses appeal of sentence following a plea agreement to six counts of Class C felony theft and three counts of Class D felony theft.

John Chatman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1005-PC-362
Post conviction. Vacates trial court denial of Chatman’s motion for additional credit time for completion of a substance abuse program while he was in jail awaiting trial and dismisses the appeal.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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