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Opinions May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014
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Indiana Supreme Court
Mayor Gregory Ballard v. Maggie Lewis, John Barth, and Vernon Brown
49S00-1311-PL-716
Civil plenary. Reverses partial summary judgment to Maggie Lewis, holding Mayor Greg Ballard is entitled to summary judgment on redistricting ordinance issue. Justices exercise judicial restraint and leave redistricting in the hands of the two branches of local government responsible for the task. Also reverses any order requiring Ballard to pay part of the cost of a master brought in on the issue.

In the Matter of: Christopher E. Haigh 
98S00-0608-DI-317
Discipline. Haigh engaged in conduct in contempt of the Supreme Court by violating the suspension order. He is disbarred effective immediately and must pay $1,000. Any further contempt will likely result in imprisonment.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Shane Beal and The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company v. Edwin Blinn, Jr.
27A03-1306-PL-235
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of Beal’s motion for summary judgment, which concluded that a genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether Beal’s representation of Blinn Jr. in a federal criminal case constituted legal malpractice.

John Jacob Venters v. State of Indiana
79A02-1305-CR-481
Criminal. Reverses sentence for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, as a Class D felony, enhanced by the habitual substance offender statute. Remands with instructions to order Venters’ enhanced sentence to run concurrently with his previously enhanced sentences. The trial court erred in ordering the sentence at issue to be served consecutively to his previously entered sentences.

Rahsaan A. Johnson v. State of Indiana
18A02-1304-CR-343
Criminal. Affirms conviction of 14 counts of possession of animals for fighting contests, all as Class D felonies. There is sufficient evidence to support the convictions and they do not violate the double jeopardy clause of the Indiana Constitution.

Johnathon R. Aslinger v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A02-1303-CR-296
Criminal. Grants rehearing for the limited purpose of ordering a retrial on Aslinger’s conviction for possession of paraphernalia. Affirms original opinion in all respects.

Ricky Allen Cox v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1308-CR-717
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony theft and remands for a determination of the credit time to which Cox is entitled.  

J&W Construction, Inc. v. Duffy Tool & Stamping, LTD, LLC, et al. (NFP)
18A02-1309-CT-809
Civil tort. Affirms orders dismissing J&W’s motion for proceeding supplement and its motion to correct error.

Robert F. Petty v. State of Indiana (NFP)
72A05-1305-CR-237
Criminal. Affirms convictions of voluntary manslaughter, Class D felony removal of body from scene and Class D felony obstruction of justice.

Claude F. Hudson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A01-1305-CR-197
Criminal. Reverses denial of credit time and remands with instructions to award Hudson credit time from Oct. 15, 2012, to Dec. 27, 2012, when he was confined at a hospital.

Larry Fulbright v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1309-CR-789
Criminal. Reverses denial of petition to file a belated notice of appeal.

Indiana Tax Court
MedCo Health Solutions, Inc. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue
49T10-1105-TA-35
Tax. Grants the department’s Trial Rule 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss. Medco is not entitled to relief on two claims: that the court should order the department to pay a refund and that advisory letters should be binding in this matter.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.

 

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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. 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

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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