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Opinions March 18, 2014

March 18, 2014
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Indiana Supreme Court
David S. Delagrange v. State of Indiana
49S04-1304-CR-249
Criminal. Affirms convictions of four counts of Class C felony attempted child exploitation, finding sufficient evidence supports them. The state did not need to show Delagrange actually succeeded in capturing images of uncovered genitals, just that he took a “substantial step” toward doing so.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Donald Murdock v. State of Indiana
48A02-1306-CR-565
Criminal. Affirms finding that Murdock violated his probation terms when he committed Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement after running from a police officer who told him to stop. Well-established Indiana precedent holds that a person may not flee from a police officer who has told him to stop, even if the order is unlawful. Judge Mathias dissents.

Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board, Kimble L. Richardson, George Brenner, Andrew Harner, Geneva Osawe, Rex Stockton, Carla Gaff-Clark, and The State of Indiana v. Elaine Williams
48A05-1304-PL-185
Civil plenary. Affirms the revocation of mental health counselor Elaine Williams’ license. The board afforded Williams fair proceedings and acted within its authority in imposing the sanction of revocation. Finds the trial court also impermissibly reweighed the credibility of the witnesses and substituted its judgment for that of the board when it overturned the revocation after conducting a second hearing.

In the Matter of A.G. and A.K. Children Alleged to be in Need of Services, M.K. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
82A05-1306-JC-297
Juvenile.  Affirms adjudication that A.G. and A.K. are children in need of services. The court’s findings support the remaining conclusions, which support the judgment. Rejects mother’s argument that the rule in Gash v. Kohm, 476 N.E.2d 910, 913 (Ind. Ct. App. 1985) – that the privilege against self-incrimination does not prohibit the trier of fact in a civil case from drawing adverse inferences from a witness’s refusal to testify – should not apply in CHINS proceedings.

Filiberto Rivera v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1305-CR-264
Criminal. Affirms convictions and sentence for Class C felony burglary, Class D felony theft, and two counts of Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Edgardo Jose Guido v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1307-CR-286
Criminal. Affirms conviction and sentence for Class B felony incest.

Shawn McWhorter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
73A01-1309-PC-375
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Bry.B. and B.B. (minor children) and A.B. (Mother) and M.B. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

54A01-1310-JT-450
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Cecil Koger and Koger's, Inc. v. T&C, Inc., d/b/a I-70 Wrecker Service (NFP)
55A01-1305-CT-187
Civil tort. Affirms partial grant and partial denial of Koger’s motion for summary judgment on certain claims of T&C Inc. in its complaint for damages.

Ronnie D. Conley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
57A03-1308-CR-335
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class B felony dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance.

Harold Weir v. Riverwalk Holdings, LTD (NFP)
18A02-1310-CC-853
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment for Riverwalk Holdings in an action to collect an indebtedness arising from a credit card account assigned to Riverwalk.  

Dennis Hankins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
30A01-1305-CR-234
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony attempted burglary.

Gayle Clark, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
76A05-1305-CR-261
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony possession of marijuana and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

Eric Lewis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
36A04-1309-CR-464
Criminal. Affirms five-year sentence for Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent child.

Robert Fultz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1311-CR-437
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft and admittance to being a habitual offender.

Henry Woods v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1308-CR-701
Criminal. Affirms order Woods pay $1,600 in restitution for damage to Bianca Cunningham’s vehicle.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: C.O. (Minor Child) and T.E. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
06A04-1307-JT-367
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Tony M. Castoreno, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
12A04-1306-CR-290
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony battery by means of a deadly weapon and Class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of a firearm by a domestic batterer.

Timothy R. Hartwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A04-1304-CR-208
Criminal. Affirms finding of guilty but mentally ill of Class C felony criminal stalking.

Renee Berry, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Jeffery Berry, Deceased v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Duke Energy (NFP)
49A02-1306-CT-483
Civil tort. Affirms judgment in favor of Duke Energy Indiana on Berry’s complaint alleging negligence.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no decisions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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