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Opinions March 7, 2013

March 7, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
In Re: Visitation M.L.B.: K.J.R. v. M.A.B.
41S01-1209-MI-556
Miscellaneous. Rules despite the trial court’s ample “best interests” findings, the lack of findings on the other three factors, both standing alone and as compounded by the extensive visitation awarded without those necessary findings, violates Mother’s fundamental right to direct M.L.B.’s upbringing. Remands for a new entry of findings and conclusions revealing the court’s consideration of all four McCune/K.I. factors, without a new hearing.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph Matheny v. State of Indiana
49A04-1207-CR-347
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony auto theft. The police officer did not violate Matheny’s constitutional rights by asking for his address, so there was no error in admitting his statement at trial. The trial court erred in refusing one of Matheny’s tendered jury instructions, but the error was harmless.

Marcus Willis v. State of Indiana

49A02-1208-CR-636
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass. The state failed to prove a material element of criminal trespass within the meaning of I.C. 35-43-2-2(a)(1).

In Re The Matter of K.W. and B.W., Children in Need of Services: A.W. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)

32A05-1210-JC-537
Juvenile. Affirms court’s approval of K.W. and B.W. relocating with maternal grandparents to Wisconsin after they were placed with the grandparents following being adjudicated as children in need of services.

Dale Hite v. State of Indiana (NFP)
75A03-1208-CR-355
Criminal. Affirms two convictions of Class B felony resisting law enforcement and sentence.

Kenneth Hunter v. Deborah Goodrich and Paul Goodrich (NFP)
07A05-1205-GU-244
Guardianship. Affirms denial of the Hunters’ petition to remove the Goodriches as P.G.’s guardian and name them as P.G.’s successor guardians.

Q.P. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

79A02-1207-JV-609
Juvenile. Affirms order awarding wardship of Q.P. to the Indiana Department of Correction for housing in a correction facility for children.

Indiana Public Employee Retirement Fund (PERF) v. Robert O. Effner (NFP)
84A05-1208-MI-410
Miscellaneous. Reverses award of PERF benefits to Effner to a date more than four years before he applied for benefits. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Victor Ponce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A04-1208-PC-396
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Imani Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1208-CR-630
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationshp of: A.A., S.T., and C.P.; and A.A. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A02-1206-JT-511
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

The Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions at IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by 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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