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Opinions May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013
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The following opinions were posted after IL deadline Friday:
Indiana Tax Court
Board of Commissioners of the County of Jasper, Indiana v. Micah G. Vincent, Commissioner, Indiana Department of Local Government Finance
49T10-1011-TA-59
Tax. Reverses and remands the DLGF’s denial of a request to establish a cumulative building fund and levy for a county hospital, holding that the decision was arbitrary and capricious. The court rejected DLGF’s argument that the statute’s language that a fund and levy may be established “for not more than 12 years” did not preclude re-establishment of a fund that expired.

Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Arthur J. Usher, IV
49S00-1105-DI-298
Discipline. In a per curiam decision, justices suspend Usher for three years for violating several Indiana Professional Conduct Rules stemming from an incident where he had his paralegal email more than 50 attorneys a video clip purporting to depict a former summer intern nude in a film.

Monday’s opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. John W. Bloch, III
12-2784
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division, Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands. The court affirmed a conviction of firearm possession by a felon, but found error in convictions of two counts under 18 U.S.C. Section 922 because the possession of two firearms arose from the same incident. Ordered the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana to merge the convictions and resentence Bloch on a single count.

United States of America v. Jamel H. Brown
12-3413
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms 400-month sentence on a conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm, holding that the sentence in the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana was rendered after an acceptable consideration of disputed matter in the presentence report.

Indiana Court of Appeals
David F. Wood v. State of Indiana
49A02-1207-CR-615
Criminal. Reverses convictions and aggregate 11-year sentence for Class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and five counts of Class D felony possession of child pornography. The court vacated the SVF conviction, finding error because a plea was accepted after a jury returned a verdict form marked “No” regarding whether Wood knowingly or intentionally possessed a firearm. The court also found that five, consecutive one-year sentences for Class D felony convictions violates a cap of four years in I.C. 35-50-1-2. Remands for resentencing.

Roger Jay Piatek, M.D., and The Piatek Institute v. Shairon Beale
49A04-1209-CT-463
Civil tort. Affirms trial court’s denial of Piatek’s motion for mistrial. Found that a reference by Beale’s counsel during the trial to Piatek pleading the Fifth Amendment was generic and did not subject the doctor to greater prejudice. Also, the court held the trial court’s admonition to the jury was sufficient to cure any prejudice from the reference to pleading the Fifth.  

Jeffery S. Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
59A05-1209-CR-487
Criminal. Affirms in part and reverses in part Williams’ 15-year sentence for pleading guilty to one count of possession of methamphetamine as a Class B felony. Remands for the trial court to decide whether to grant Williams credit for his pre-trial release on bond. Rules Williams failed to show the trial court abused its discretion when it did not enter a written sentencing statement with an explanation for the sentence imposed. Expresses no opinion on Williams’ claim the trial court abused its discretion by failing to recognize mitigating factors. Finds that Williams failed to meet his burden of establishing that his sentence was inappropriate.

Gina West v. Midland Credit Management, Inc. (NFP)
03A01-1208-CC-395
Civil collection. Reverses the denial of motion to set aside a default judgment. Rules West had shown prima facie error in the denial of her motion as her motion did not have to be brought within a year and she proved service was improper.  

Kevin E. Scheumann and Tina Reynolds v. Danny Clark, Jason L. Little, Recovery One LLC, Renovo Services LLC, Renaissance Recovery Solutions LLC, Citifinancial Auto Credit Inc., et al. (NFP)
02A03-1210-CT-448
Civil tort. Affirms trial court entering final judgment in favor of Renovo Services LLC on its summary judgment ruling. Found the trial court did not err in finding that Renovo was not liable for any of the plaintiffs’ claims or any wrongdoing of the independent contractors under a theory of respondeat superior.  

Creditmax, Inc. v. Steve D. Jones (NFP)
03A05-1211-CC-598
Civil collection. Affirms trial court’s order that entered a limited garnishment of Jones’ wages in the amount of $20 per week in favor of Creditmax.

George Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1207-CR-616
Criminal. Affirms Johnson’s 20-year sentence imposed following his convictions of Class B felony criminal confinement and Class A misdemeanor battery. Ruled in light of Johnson’s character and offense, the sentence is not inappropriate.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no decisions by IL deadline.

 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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