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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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