Opinions - June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Tuesday.
Indiana Supreme Court

Walker Whatley v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Whatley’s conviction of and sentence for Class A felony dealing in cocaine because he was arrested within 1,000 feet of a church that provided services to youth on a regular basis. A jury could properly find that the nearby church was a “youth program center” because it provided a building or structure that on a regular basis offered recreational, social, or other programs or services for persons less than 18 years of age. Justices Boehm and Rucker dissent.

Indiana Tax Court
Lawrence and Glenda Pachniak v. Marshall County Assessor (NFP)
Tax. Affirms the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s final determination regarding the Pachniak’s 2006 real property assessment.

Today’s opinions:
Indiana Supreme Court posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

J.M. v. M.A., et al.
Civil. Reverses and remands decision of trial court with instructions trial court vacate its order adjudicating J.M. as the legal father of W.H. and ordering him to pay child support. Additionally, because the state has conceded that J.M. is not W.H.‘s biological father, the trial court must set aside the paternity affidavit.
Fifth Third Bank v. Peoples National Bank

Civil. Reverses and remands with instructions to determine the appropriate amount of sanctions to be assessed against Fifth Third Bank. The issue raised was whether Fifth Third waived its right to enforce its security interest with respect to its indebted depositor’s checking account and proceeds held therein.
American Heritage Banco Inc. v. Arthur W. Cranston and Joanne E. Cranston, et al.
Civil. Reverses and remands trial court’s judgment in favor of Arthur W. and Joanne E. Cranston on American Heritage Banco Inc.’s mortgage foreclosure claim and claim for damages on a promissory note against the Cranstons. The trial court had denied the bank’s claims for relief and instead entered judgment in favor of the Cranstons on the Cranstons’ affirmative defense and counterclaim for constructive fraud against AHB. The trial court also awarded treble damages and attorney fees to the Cranstons pursuant to the Indiana Crime Victim’s Relief Act.

Ben Erwin and Shona Erwin as parents, natural guardians, and next-of-friend of their minor child, D.E. v. Brenda Roe
Civil. Affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands. Concludes (1) trial court was within its discretion to deny the Erwins’ extension of time; (2) Roe is not liable for treble damages with respect to the federal statute; however, knowledge is not a requirement for violation of Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act; (3) Roe was negligent per se with respect to state tort law; and (4) there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Roe was provided with a reasonable amount of time after she received notice lead paint would need to be removed from the house she rented to the Erwins before they broke their lease.

Adoption of D.C.; J.C. v. J.C. and A.C.

Civil. Affirms order of trial court that grants the petition of D.C.’s stepfather J.C. and his wife A.C. to adopt D.C. D.C., born May 5, 1998, has lived with stepfather since his birth. D.C.’s mother died in 2005 and stepfather has since remarried. Among the issues raised by D.C.’s biological father, appellant J.C., was whether his parental rights may not be terminated absent the procedural protections of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska was permitted to intervene regarding the potential application of the ICWA.
Value World Inc. of Indiana v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and C.C.

Civil. Affirms determination of the Unemployment Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that concludes Value World did not have good cause for failing to attend an administrative appeal hearing.

Ebrahima Diallo v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class C felony forgery.
Indiana Department of Correction v. Douglas Haley
Criminal. Reverses denial of DOC’s motion to correct error, which challenged the trial court’s order granting Haley’s petition for educational credit time.
Aaron Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to withdraw guilty plea.
Vicki Sue Maze v. Robert L. Davenport, et al. (NFP)
Civil. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment with respect to Maze’s claim for damages for breach of contract. Remands as to Maze’s unjust enrichment claim.
Joseph B. Williams AKA Lonnie Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Civil. Affirms trial court’s denial of petition for writ of habeas corpus, after revocation of parole.

Bruce W. Guess v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms sentence following a guilty plea to murder and robbery as a Class B felony.
Jerome Ford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of battery, a Class A misdemeanor.
Terry Ray Isaacs v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
Andrew Tesch v. State of Indiana (NFP)  
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following guilty plea to Class C felony robbery.
Anthony L. Beery v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s finding of violation of probation and probation revocation.
Leeland Runkel v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post-conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.
James Watkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of resisting law enforcement, a Class D felony.
Wolf Lake Pub Inc. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, et al. (NFP)
Civil. Affirms decision of the Indiana Unemployment Insurance Review Board dismissing Wolf Lake Pub’s appeal for failure to appear at a hearing.
Copenhaver Construction Consultants LLC, et al. v. Lincoln Bank (NFP)
Civil. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Lincoln Bank and denial of appellants’ counter-motion for partial summary judgment.

Gary Parsley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses and remands sentence following a guilty plea to attempted aggravated battery, a Class B felony.

Mark Vickery v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s denial of motion to remove sexually violent predator status.
Rickey D. Miller and Jennifer Miller v. Art Duncan, M.D. (NFP)
Civil. Affirms judgment entered on medical malpractice action after jury returned a verdict in favor of Dr. Duncan.
Steven T. Hutson Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms probation revocation.
Tara L. Huffman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of cocaine, fraud, and theft as Class D felonies.
J.D. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication of J.D. as a juvenile delinquent after the juvenile court found he committed acts that would be Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft if committed by an adult.

Matthew Ferry v. State of Indiana (NFP)  
Criminal. Affirms convictions of possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor; maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony; possession of marijuana while having a prior conviction, a Class D felony, and with being a habitual substance offender.

Indiana Tax Court 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