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Opinions March 23, 2012

March 23, 2012
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no Indiana opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court
Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana
35S02-1106-CR-369
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s judgment to revoke probation for Troy Smith on grounds that he failed to pay weekly child support as a condition of his probation. Justices disagreed with Smith’s appellate argument that state failed to carry its burden of proof that his failure to pay was reckless, knowing or intentional.

Brice Webb v. State of Indiana
71S05-1106-CR-329
Criminal. Reverses murder conviction and remands for a new trial, finding the trial court inproperly denied a request for jury instruction on a lesser offense of reckless homicide. Finds evidence is sufficient to support the jury’s guilty verdict, but evidence also created serious evidentiary dispute about his acting knowingly or recklessly. Trial court committed reversible error by not instructing the jury on a lesser-included offense. Justice Steven David and Chief Justice Randall Shepard dissented in a separate opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals
The Estate of Donald Eugene Smith v. Joshua Stutzman d/b/a Keystone Builders
43A01-1103-PL-136
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against Keystone Builders involving an independent subcontractor who fell off a ladder, broke his neck and died. Finds the trial court properly granted a motion to set aside default judgment and a motion to dismiss the estate’s action.

City of Evansville and Evansville Water and Sewer Utility v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company, et al.
49A02-1104-PL-375
Civil Plenary. Affirms trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of insurance companies regarding city’s lawsuit about coverage for pollution discharge into local waterways. Holds that trial court properly determined the insurers were entitled to summary judgment because the city was seeking coverage for projects to prevent future discharges of combined-sewer overflows rather than to remediate past discharges.

Schwala Royal v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1108-CR-486
Criminal. Affirms Class D felony conviction of prostitution.
 
Athena Y. Collins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1104-CR-168
Criminal. Reverses jury conviction of Class A felony voluntary manslaughter. Affirms in part on grounds that trial court did not err in giving a jury instruction. Remands for a new trial.

William H. Lane v. Connie S. Lane (NFP)
18A02-1107-DR-668
Divorce. Affirms trial court’s division of property in a husband and wife’s dissolution of a second marriage.

Indiana  Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.



 

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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