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Opinions Nov. 10, 2010

November 10, 2010
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Scott D. Wells v. Herman Bud Bernitt, et al.
53A01-0910-CV-494
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the Bernitts on Wells’ claim against them for defamation because there was no admissible evidence before the court to establish actual malice, an element of defamation. Affirms summary judgment in favor of J.D. Maxwell and Travis Coryea as to Wells’ claim for negligent and intentional torts finding the evidence establishes the officers didn’t use excessive force. Affirms summary judgment for Wells on the Bernitts’ cross appeal alleging abuse of process.

Robert J. Blanford v. Judy D. Blanford
65A01-1004-DR-181
Domestic relation. The trial court erred in calculating Robert’s child support obligations on two worksheets and treating each son as an only child without an explanation of its reasons. Affirms determination and allocation of extraordinary educational expenses as part of Robert’s support obligations related to college education. Reverses assigning funds in his 401(k) to his children rather than Robert and Judy upon S.B.’s completion of a bachelor’s degree because this assignment was a post-dissolution modification of the division of marital assets. Remands with instructions.

Kevin Barton v. State of Indiana
18A04-0910-CR-609
Criminal. Affirms Class C felony conviction of failure to return to the scene of an accident resulting in death. The trial court didn’t err when it denied Barton’s motion to dismiss, which asserted that the state was barred under collateral estoppel principles from prosecuting him, because he failed to comply with Indiana Code Section 9-26-1-1. He waived his claim of Doyle violations by the prosecutor during closing statements and the trial court properly determined the substance of Barton’s proposed instruction was adequately covered by other jury instructions.

C & R Realty, LLC v. Jerry Tooley (NFP)
26A01-1007-PL-391
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of C&R Realty’s motion to set aside a default judgment under Trial Rule 60(B).

Quentin L. Taylor v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1006-CR-388
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty pleas to three counts of Class B felony robbery, one count of Class B felony criminal confinement, and two counts of Class C felony battery.

Mamadou Sow v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-516
Criminal. Affirms Class A misdemeanor conviction of resisting law enforcement.
 
Damon A. Myers v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1001-PC-154
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Kenneth J. DeBord v. State of Indiana (NFP)
87A01-1006-PC-290
Post conviction. Reverses denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Remands for further proceedings.
 
Paul Catterall v. James Donbrock d/b/a Donbrock Enterprises (NFP)
76A04-1004-SC-219
Small claims. Affirms conclusion Donbrock could collect maintenance fees from Catterall from Jan. 5, 2002, to July 12, 2002. The court erred by ordering Donbrock to pay fees for months prior to Jan. 5 and prejudgment interest. Reverses ruling regarding fees prior to Jan. 5 and remands for an order consistent with the opinion.

Jean D. Schoknecht v. Susan E. Dunlap (NFP)
49A04-0912-CV-745
Civil. Reverses Schoknecht’s claims as a landlord against tenant Dunlap.
 
R.B. v. Review Board (NFP)
93A02-1005-EX-589
Civil. Reverses denial of claim for unemployment benefits.
 
Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at 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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