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Opinions March 29, 2012

March 29, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no Indiana opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Ronyai Thompson v. State of Indiana
49A05-1106-CR-323
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine. The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Thompson’s motion to dismiss the charges against him. The court did not err when it granted the state’s peremptory challenges as to the two African-American members of the venire. There was sufficient evidence from which the jury could infer Thompson intended to exercise control over the cocaine.

Mary E. Santelli, as Administrator of the Estate of James F. Santelli v. Abu M. Rahmatullah, Individually and d/b/a Super 8 Motel
49A04-1011-CT-704
Civil tort. Concludes that the very duty doctrine was not abrogated by the Indiana Tort Claim Act. In the new trial on the issue of allocation of fault, the trial court should instruct the jury on the very duty doctrine. Reverses and remands for further proceedings.

Brent Myers v. Jarod Coats
49A04-1104-PL-208
Civil plenary. Coats had a liberty interest in not erroneously being labeled as a sex offender, so the trial court did not err in granting his motion for partial summary judgment and denying Myers’ cross-motion for summary judgment as to this issue. The trial court did not err in concluding that Coats was not afforded due process. Finds Coats has not carried his burden to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact establishing that Myers personally deprived Coats of a liberty interest and failed to afford him sufficient process, so summary judgment for Myers should have been granted on this issue.  

Todd J. Crider v. State of Indiana
91A05-1108-CR-389
Criminal. Dismisses Crider’s appeal of his sentence of three years for Class D felony theft, enhanced by three years based on his status as a habitual offender. Crider waived his right to challenge his sentence as erroneous. Judge Riley dissents.

In the Matter of the Paternity of S.C.; K.C. v. C.C. and B.H.
30A01-1107-JP-322
Juvenile. Affirms the grant of B.H.’s verified petition for relief from judgment for fraud upon the court. Mother failed to establish a prima facie error in the order to set aside the paternity order.  Judge Riley dissents.

Ziese & Sons Excavating, Inc. v. Boyer Construction Corp. and Boyer Construction Group Corp.
45A03-1104-PL-180
Civil plenary. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Boyer Construction Group as Ziese presented evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Boyer Construction Group and Boyer Construction Corp. are alter egos and whether Boyer Construction Group is Boyer Construction Corp.’s successor. Remands for further proceedings to determine whether the Group’s corporate veil should be pierced and whether the fraudulent sale of assets or mere continuation exceptions apply.

Buck Gleason v. State of Indiana
48A02-1106-CR-630
Criminal. Revises Gleason’s sentence from 11 years to six years following his convictions of battery, criminal recklessness and failure to stop after an accident that resulted in injury. The evidence supports the convictions, but the sentence imposed was inappropriate based on the nature of the offenses and Gleason’s character. Remands with instructions.

East Porter County School Corp. v. Gough, Inc., and Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. of America
64A04-1109-PL-471
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Gough and Travelers and against the school corporation. Based upon the record and under the circumstances presented in this case, it is evident that there was not a meeting of the minds regarding the bid amount and thus that the school did not acquire the right to enforce Gough’s erroneous or mistaken bid. Agrees that Travelers should be released from its bid bond because its principal does not have any liability on the underlying contract.

Shamir Chappell v. State of Indiana
89A01-1106-CR-265
Criminal. Affirms the state presented sufficient evidence to support the Class A felony burglary conviction and the trial court did not err in imposing an aggregate sentence of 70 years. But Chappell’s convictions of Class A felony burglary and Class B felony burglary constitute double jeopardy. Remands with instructions.

Michael Woodson v. State of Indiana
49A02-1106-CR-543
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication. Woodson’s encounter with police did not rise to the level of a Terry stop for which reasonable suspicion is required, but once the officer smelled alcohol on Woodson and noticed his impaired speech, it evolved into a Terry stop.

DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc. v. Community Mental Health Center, Inc.
15A05-1107-CC-366
Civil collection. Reverses denial of DeLage Landen’s motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract complaint against Community Mental Health Center. The trial court abused its discretion in considering Community’s late-filed response on summary judgment and that, considering only the properly designated evidence, summary judgment should be granted to DeLage.

Danny R. Bailey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A05-1108-CR-398
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class A felony child molesting, Class C felony child molesting and Class B felony incest.

Gerald C. Vickers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1109-PC-510
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Euranus Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1103-PC-195
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Frank R. Keeton v. Linda K. Keeton (NFP)
67A01-1108-DR-00344
Domestic relation. Affirms dissolution order where the trial court assigned a value of $1.2 million to the parties’ commercial real estate.

Angela D. Driskell, Bob R. Dehaven, and Blonnie V. Dehaven v. Old Republic National Title Insurance Co. (NFP)
82A01-1108-PL-358
Civil plenary. Dismisses appeal involving property that was the subject of a mechanic’s lien.

Paul Rogers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1108-CR-772
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary.

Kimberly A. Pieper v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1110-CR-482
Criminal. Dismisses challenge of Pieper’s habitual substance offender adjudication.

Dejuan Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1106-CR-557
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony possession of marijuana.

Standard Coating Service, Inc. v. Walsh Construction Co. (NFP)
49A02-1109-CT-922
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment on Standard’s claims for breach of contract and for damages as a third-party beneficiary to a contract between Walsh and the city of Indianapolis.

Jesse Michael Villareal, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1107-CR-337
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony battery and Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy and sentence for battery.


 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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