Opinions May 7, 2013

May 7, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Jose J. Loera, Jr. v. United States of America
Criminal. Affirms drug conviction and 240-month prison sentence, holding that Loera failed to prove his attorney provided ineffective legal counsel. Loera claimed that a prior grant of a motion to suppress his statements to police before consulting an attorney should have been binding on future proceedings. The court held it was doubtful that a subsequent refusal to suppress on different grounds, if it was error, was harmful.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Think Tank Software Development Corp. d/b/a Think Tank Networking Technologies Group, et al. v. Chester, Inc., Mike Heinhold, John Mario, Joel Parker, Thomas Guelinas, et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses and remands on interlocutory appeal a trial court grant of a motion to exclude testimony from an expert witness on economics and business valuation, holding that once an expert’s scientific theories are determined to be reliable under Trial Rule 702, cross-examination is the means of exposing dissimilarities between actual evidence and an expert’s theories.

Ryan Westlake v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms aggregate sentence of 25 years executed and five years suspended for pleading guilty to Class A felony child molesting and Class B felony sexual misconduct. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing when it did not consider the guilty plea as a mitigating factor because Westlake received the “substantial benefit” of having four additional charges dropped in exchange for the plea.
In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: A.D.S. & A.S. and L.S. v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
Juvenile. Affirms termination of mother’s parental rights, concluding there was sufficient evidence that there is a reasonable probability
that the reasons for the children’s placement outside the home will not be remedied and that the totality of the evidence supports the trial court’s conclusion that termination of mother’s parental rights is in the children’s best interest.

Patti S. Maxfield and Ronald G. Maxfield v. Women's Health Partnership, P.C. and Corporate Cleaning Systems, Inc. (NFP)

Civil tort. Affirms summary judgments for Corporate Cleaning and for Women’s Health.  

Tracy Lawrence v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms Lawrence’s sentence to an aggregate 100-year term after being convicted of Class A felony child molesting and Class A felony attempted child molesting. The trial court neither abused its discretion nor imposed an inappropriate sentence.

Brice Dutrow v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms Dutrow’s sentence of concurrent terms of 45 years  with five years suspended to probation for convictions of burglary and robbery, both Class A felonies, and an enhancement of 30 years on the burglary conviction.   

Amy (Winton) Otis v. Marketing Three LLC (NFP)
Civil collection. Reverses the judgment of the trial court and remands for further proceedings. Concludes the trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of Marketing Three.

Jonathan Reiner v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Post conviction. Affirms Reiner’s conviction and 30-year sentence for Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine. The majority finds Reiner’s trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise a competency objection to the detective’s yield rate testimony; failing to present evidence challenging the reliability of yield rate evidence in general; and failing to move for a directed verdict on the Class A felony charge on the basis of insufficient evidence as to the amount of meth being manufactured. Also concludes Reiner’s appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to challenge the sufficiency of the state’s evidence as to the amount of meth being manufactured. In her dissent, Judge Elaine Brown finds Reiner has demonstrated that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failure to challenge the admissibility of the evidence regarding the yield rate. He also received ineffective assistant of trial and appellate counsel for failure to challenge the evidence as insufficient to support the Class A felony.    

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions prior to IL deadline.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues