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Opinions March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Rollie Mitchell
10-1831
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms sentence of life imprisonment for distributing cocaine base, stating the District Court properly calculated the guidelines range and did not improperly consider Mitchell’s exercise of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Affirms the District Court did not clearly err in finding by a preponderance of the evidence – the proper evidentiary standard – that Mitchell participated in the murder of a confidential informant.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jeffrey Wooten v. State of Indiana
49A02-1004-CR-586
Criminal. Dismisses Wooten’s appeal of trial court’s revocation of his probation. The state asserts that the appeals court has no jurisdiction over Wooten’s appeal because Indiana Post-Conviction Rule 2 does not permit belated appeals from the revocation of probation. Declines Wooten’s request for appeals court to exercise jurisdiction under its inherent authority to hear appeals that present a great matter of public interest, stating substantial evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that Wooten was properly before it for a probation revocation proceeding.

In the Matter of the Paternity of G.B.H.; L.R. v. N.H. and State of Indiana
68A01-1009-JP-475
Juvenile paternity. Reverses trial court’s contempt finding and resulting sanction, stating evidence does not support that father L.R. willfully failed to pay child support. States that during a period of involuntary unemployment, the father paid what he was able to pay, and had less than $100 per week on which to live after paying two cases of court-ordered support, and was therefore not in contempt.

Michael E. Cohee v. State of Indiana
89A01-1009-CR-472
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s decision to deny Cohee’s motion to suppress evidence against him. States that Cohee was not subject to a custodial interrogation when officers asked for his consent to a blood draw, and therefore, officers were not required to read his rights as outlined in Miranda v. Arizona.

Anthony Guzman v. C.K. Gray, et al. (NFP)
30A01-1009-CT-445
Civil tort. Affirms Hancock Superior Court’s denial of motion for leave to amend complaint.

Steven Green v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1008-CR-466
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor.

Flavio Gonzalez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
79A05-1006-CR-407
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, and sentences for two counts of Class B felony criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon, and Class D felony domestic battery.

Charles E. Justise, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
77A01-1006-SC-352
Small claim. Grants appellant’s petition for rehearing. Reverses the trial court’s dismissal of his complaint and remands with instructions to the trial court to reinstate complaint against the state for further proceedings. Reaffirms decision regarding any claim against the appellees personally.

Ricardo Rico v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A04-1009-CR-545
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentences for two counts of Class A felony delivery of methamphetamine, three grams or more.  

Matthew L. Skinner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
43A03-1008-CR-439
Criminal. Affirms trial court’s sentence following revocation of probation.

S.R. v. Review Board (NFP)
93A02-1009-EX-995
Civil. Affirms decision of Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development requiring S.R. to repay unemployment benefits.

Francheska McGraw v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1007-CR-442
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor of disorderly conduct.

Matthew Riddle v. Lee Rimer (NFP)
80A02-1011-PO-1203
Order of protection. Affirms trial court’s order granting Lee Rimer a protective order.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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