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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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