ILNews

Opinions March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Darryl Harris v. United Water Services, Inc.
93A02-1010-EX-1164
Civil. Reverses the decision by the Full Worker’s Compensation Board affirming the grant of United Water’s motion to dismiss. Harris’ deposition testimony doesn’t support the board’s finding that he admitted that his condition stemmed from a single incident and the board applied the wrong burden of proof. Remands for further proceedings.

Larry Bowyer v. Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources
09A05-0912-CV-740
Civil. Affirms order granting permanent mandatory injunction and damages in favor of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which said that Bowyer must remove the fill he placed in the lake and restore it to as close to its natural condition as possible. The trial court did not err in its application or construction of Indiana Code Section 14-26-2-6, and the order’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and judgment were not clearly erroneous.

Stephen B. Reeves v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1006-PC-324
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Nicole Cooper v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1004-CR-506
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following revocation of probation.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of A.K. Jr., et al.; A.K. Sr. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
27A02-1009-JT-1004
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jeremy Knoy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A02-1004-CR-431
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for felony murder.

Christopher Rondeau v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1006-CR-694
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction.

Bruce E. Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1007-CR-435
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony dealing in marijuana.

Shawn Hattery v. State of Indiana (NFP)
43A03-1002-CR-62
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class D felonies obstruction of justice, theft, criminal confinement, and sexual battery; Class A felonies burglary, attempted criminal deviate conduct, two counts of criminal deviate conduct, and three counts of rape; and Class C felony battery.

Terry Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1006-PC-747
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Mauricio Carvajal v. State of Indiana (NFP)
43A05-1007-CR-463
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to withdraw guilty plea.

Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. v. Doris Beard (NFP)
45A04-1009-SC-529
Small claims. Reverses denial of Carnival’s motion to dismiss Beard’s claim.

Evan Sapp v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1006-CR-330
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony theft.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

The Indiana Supreme Court granted one transfer and denied 23 for the week ending March 18.
 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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