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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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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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