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Opinions March 8, 2012

March 8, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S.A v. Marlon K. Spears
No. 10-3338
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division, Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to suppress evidence, finding that enough probable cause existed to justify a search warrant that led to a man’s convictions on drug charges.

Indiana Supreme Court
Keith Hoglund v. State of Indiana
No. 90S02-1105-CR-294
Criminal. Affirms trial court judgment that found sufficient evidence to support two Class A felony child molesting convictions and a 50-year sentence. Holds that the Indiana Rules of Evidence do not allow for “vouching testimony” in child sex abuse cases and that past caselaw does not create an exception.


Indiana Court of Appeals
Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.E., and T.E. and J.E., T.E. and J.E. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services
No. 20A05-1104-JT-206
Parental termination. Reverses and remands parental termination case, finding that trial court didn’t comply with Indiana Code 31-35-2-4(b)(2)(A) before involuntary terminating the parental rights.

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local Union No. 2371, Official Bargaining Agent, et al. v. Merchandising Equipment Group, Div. of MEG Manufacturing Corp., et al.
33A05-1107-CP-345
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court’s decision to grant defendant’s Trial Rule 41(E) motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute after 18 years, finding the court didn’t abuse its discretion.

Pamela J. Hensley v. State of Indiana
63A01-1105-CR-195
Criminal. Reverses trial court’s judgment denying motion to suppress evidence seized during a home search, finding that the probation search was not justified under the Fourth Amendment because it wasn’t a valid probation search but more resembled an investigatory search.

Gladys E. Curry and Thomas Curry v. D.A.L.L. Anointed, Inc.
45A04-1106-CT-290
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s judgment dismissing complaint for injuries and loss of consortium against D.A.L.L. Anointed, finding the lower court did not err in holding it lacked subject matter jurisdiction based on the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act.

Guardianship of M.A.M.: D.L.M. v. J.G. (NFP)
71A03-1108-GU-365
Guardianship. Reverses trial court’s order denying father’s petition to terminate maternal grandfather’s guardianship, finding prima facie error because of an existing power of attorney the father had in place while he was deployed.

Donnell Caldwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1108-CR-405
Criminal. Affirms six-year sentence imposed by trial court following a Class C felony criminal recklessness conviction, finding the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in sentencing him and the sentence is not inappropriate.
    
Lynnette A. Wire v. State of Indiana (NFP)
87A05-1106-CR-410
Criminal. Affirms in part and reverses in part a drunken driving case, finding the evidence is sufficient to sustain a Class C infraction for driving left of center and a Class C misdemeanor conviction of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content between 0.08 and 0.15. Remands to vacate conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating while intoxicated.

Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of R.H. and D.H., D.H. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Svcs. and Lake County CASA (NFP)
45A03-1107-JT-339
Parental termination. Affirms trial court’s involuntary termination of mother’s parental rights, finding evidence supported the juvenile court’s judgment.

Jeffery Haugh v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1106-CR-276
Criminal. Affirms denial of a motion to withdraw Haugh’s guilty plea in a case involving his conviction of Class D felony failure to notify authorities and moving a body from the scene. Finds the trial court didn’t err and that the sentence is appropriate.

William Estell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1109-CR-423
Criminal. Affirms man’s three-year sentence following a conviction of Class D felony escape, finding trial court properly denied motion for a continuance before the sentencing.

Russell A. Prosser, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
59A01-1107-CR-346
Criminal. Reverses trial court on permitting state to elicit testimony from child-molesting victim’s case manager substantiating the molestation claim. Remands for a new trial.

Richard J. Charlton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1108-CR-397
Criminal. Affirms Class B felony rape conviction, finding evidence was sufficient and trial court didn’t abuse its discretion by limiting evidence of sexual history between Richard Charlton and victim.
 
David S. Stover v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A01-1109-CR-398
Criminal. Affirms Class A misdemeanor conviction of criminal conversation and one-year sentence suspended to probation, finding evidence was sufficient.

James R. Lockhart, Jr. v. Lisa (Lockhart) Guyer (NFP)
29A02-1103-DR-208
Domestic relation. On petition for rehearing, appellate court revises its Dec. 11, 2011, opinion in same case and removes the citation to Indiana Code 34-52-1-1(b) and instead inserts citation to Indiana Code 31-15-10-1. Affirms previous decision in all other regards.

The Indiana Tax Court had no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. 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

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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