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Opinions March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Estate of Nicholas D. Rice, deceased, by Rick D. Rice and Diane J. Waldrop, co-personal representatives v. Correctional Medical Services, et al.
http://media.ibj.com/Lawyer/websites/opinions/index.php?pdf=2012/march/GK0PUU3D.pdf
09-2804, 10-2389
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judges Robert L. Miller Jr. and Rudy Lozano.
Civil. In No. 09-2804, affirms in part and reverse in part the District Court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants. A material dispute of fact precludes summary judgment on one of the estate’s Section 1983 claims. In No. 10-2389, reverses the District Court’s decision to dismiss the state claims on the basis of collateral estoppel. Remands both cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

Indiana Supreme Court
Rebecca D. Kays v. State of Indiana
42S05-1107-CR-441
Criminal. Remands to determine Kays’ ability to pay restitution and a determination of her manner of payment. Finds nothing in 42 U.S.C. Section 407(a) to prohibit a trial court from considering a defendant’s Social Security income when determining the “amount the person can or will be able to pay” in restitution pursuant to Indiana Code 35-38-2-2.3(a)(5).

Henry L. Howard, et al. v. United States
94S00-1106-CQ-333
Certified question. Under Indiana law, railbanking and interim trail use pursuant to 16 U.S.C. Section 1274(d) are not uses within the scope of the easements, and railbanking with interim trail use does not constitute a permissible shifting public use.

Harold J. Klinker v. First Merchants Bank, N.A.
01S04-1107-PL-438
Civil plenary. Reverses judgment on fraud and treble-damages claims because there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether Klinker acted with the requisite criminal intent. Remands for further proceedings.

Hannah Lakes v. Grange Mutual Casualty Company
89S05-1109-CT-531
Civil tort. Holds that the tortfeasor’s vehicle was underinsured under Indiana Code 27-7-5-4(b) because the amount actually paid to Hannah Lakes was less than the per-person limit of liability of the under-insurance endorsement. Remands for further proceedings.

Jerrell D. White v. State of Indiana
15S01-1109-CR-545
Criminal. Holds, under the circumstances of this case, that the defendant did not preserve the issue of whether the trial court properly allowed the habitual offender filing. Also holds that the authenticated and certified evidence was sufficient to uphold the jury’s determination that the defendant had two unrelated adult felony convictions. Justice Sullivan dissents, believing the Court of Appeals opinion to be correct.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Cathy Benko and Gerald Ewing, as Executors of the Estate of Laverna Ewing, Deceased
75A04-1108-CT-440
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Auto-Owners’ motion to strike and summary judgment for Benko and Ewing in their underinsured motorist claim. Concludes that the plain language of the provision would lead an ordinary policyholder to believe that they were required to bring a bodily injury claim against the alleged tortfeasor within the applicable statute of limitations, which occurred in this case. Additionally, if the insurance company intended a different interpretation, it should have stated so in plain English so that their policyholders understand what is necessary to protect their interests and collect their benefits under the policy.

Luke Keys Carson v. State of Indiana
29A04-1106-CR-278
Criminal. Affirms convictions as guilty but mentally ill of two counts of battery by means of a deadly weapon, burglary, and resisting law enforcement. The evidence of Carson’s demeanor during and after the crime supports the determination that he was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of actions at the time of the crimes and therefore was guilty but mentally ill. There is also sufficient evidence to support the burglary conviction.

Curtis A. Bethea v. State of Indiana
18A05-1107-PC-416
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief. Based on Farmer v. State, 772 N.E.2d 1025 (Ind. Ct. App. 2002), and Roney v. State, 872 N.E.2d 192 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007), appellate counsel could have challenged the trial court’s use of one of the victim’s injuries as an aggravating factor because that was an element of the burglary charge that was dismissed pursuant to Bethea’s plea agreement. Concludes that Farmer and Roney misapplied the precedents on which they relied, and declines to follow those cases. Bethea’s remaining arguments concern minor mischaracterizations in the trial court’s findings which are not significant enough in light of the valid findings to warrant a downward revision. Judge May concurs in result; Judge Brown dissents.

Mitchell Preston v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1108-CR-403
Criminal. Affirms order Preston serve seven years of previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction.

Jonathan R. Stephens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
85A05-1108-CR-446
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Kevin Ferguson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
53A01-1107-CR-292
Criminal. Affirms conviction following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine after trial court denied request to withdraw plea.  

James N. Hamilton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A04-1103-CR-134
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class D felony receiving stolen property.  

B.M. v. M.M. and M.R.M., b/n/f M.M. (NFP)
12A02-1107-JP-722
Juvenile. Affirms order awarding custody to father. Father is not entitled to appellate attorney fees.

Clarence A. Martin, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1008-PC-497
Post conviction. Dismisses appeal of denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Thomas Eaton, et al. v. City of Gary, et al. (NFP)
45A04-1106-MI-312
Miscellaneous. Affirms order denying Eaton and other appellants’ motion to correct error.

Rochelle M. Gibler v. Discover Bank (NFP)
71A05-1109-CC-500
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Discover Bank upon its breach of contract claim.

R.S. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and M.B. (NFP)
93A02-1107-EX-656
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits.

Malinda Diaz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1109-CR-821
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

Earl R. England and Mary L. England v. Rob E. Hurford and Jennifer M. Hurford (NFP)
50A04-1106-PL-297
Civil. Affirms order granting a preliminary injunction to the Hurfords.

William Singleton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A05-1106-CR-346
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted voluntary manslaughter and remands with instructions to vacate the Class B felony aggravated battery conviction and sentence.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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