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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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