Opinions March 23, 2011

March 23, 2011
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Troy R. Smith v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s order to revoke Smith’s probation due to non-payment of weekly child support – a condition of Smith’s probation. The state failed to prove Smith knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally failed to pay weekly child support and failed to prove Smith’s ability to pay.

Andrew McWhorter v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. The trial court did not err by accepting McWhorter’s guilty plea.

Shawn Green v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class C felony forgery. Allowing Green to avoid a forgery conviction because he electronically signed a credit card sales receipt would run contrary to the expressed intent of the General Assembly. He “made” a “written instrument” when he signed another person’s name in the electronic box on the electronic point of sale terminal.

Donna Smith, et al. v. Emmanuel Temple Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith Inc., et al.
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of the national church’s motion to dismiss Smith’s and others verified motion for rule to show cause, alleging the local church had violated the court’s August 2009 order by refusing to allow Donna Smith to enter the church premises and refusing to restore her to the pastoral position. Smith is not a member of the church staff and does not have the right to enter the building at times other than those designated for public worship. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in, in essence, affirming the decision to elect another pastor after the August 2009 order.

Ruby Hamilton v. Eddie Woods, Helen Billingsley, and Kathleen Henderson (NFP)

Small claim. Reverses small claims court judgments, ruling the court’s judgments in an estate case are not sustainable on a theory of contract or contribution.

Deangelo Banks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felonies rape and criminal deviate conduct, and Class D felony strangulation.

Linda (Fritts) Christopher v. Ronald Fritts (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s order on division of marital property and determining child support issues, ruling the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give appellant credit toward child support obligation for overnight visits with the couple’s child.

Cortez Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony neglect of a dependent.

James A. Nelson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Anthony Vanscyoc v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony aggravated battery.

Aaron Israel and Gary Robertson v. J. David Donahue, et al. (NFP)
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Israel’s petition for judicial review of administrative decision and/or petition for writ of mandate to either enjoin noncompliance or order compliance with the law.

Jeffrey A. Graham v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and remands with instructions to correct the order revoking probation and recalculate Graham’s sentence consistent with the appellate decision.

Lalena D. Ricketts Boller v. Scott W. Ricketts (NFP)
Domestic relation. Dismisses Boller’s appeal of the order of child support modification and restriction of parenting time, medical fees owed, and the payment of attorney fees and guardian ad litem fees following the dissolution of her marriage.

In the Matter of the Paternity of S.A.; G.L. v. T.A. (NFP)
Juvenile. Reverses denial of G.L.’s motion to correct error and remands with instructions the trial court enter a new order establishing the father’s child support obligation consistent with the appellate decision.

James Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of felony murder and Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of H.P.; M.G. and R.P. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

Jermarcus J. Starnes v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for two counts of Class B felony dealing in cocaine.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.