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Opinions Nov. 12, 2010

November 12, 2010
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Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of William J. Rawls
49S00-0908-DI-355
Discipline. Disbars Rawls for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.16(d), 8.1(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(b), and 8.4(c). Rawls has demonstrated a pattern of neglect of his clients' cases, resulting in adverse dispositions, suspension of one client's driver's license, a missed opportunity to settle, and undue delay.

Indiana Court of Appeals
R.H. v. State of Indiana
71A03-1003-JV-206
Juvenile. Affirms awarding guardianship of R.H. to the Indiana Department of Correction. His placement is justified by the two instant adjudications, his behavior while in detention and on electronic monitoring, his pattern of inappropriate sexual conduct, and his family’s inability or refusal to address his inappropriate sexual conduct.

Michael McAllister, et al. v. Loretta A. Sanders, et al.
76A03-1006-MI-306
Miscellaneous. Affirms summary judgment in favor of intervenors Williamson and the Grays in which the court concluded there had been a common law dedication of the disputed parcel of land – an alley between the Williamson and Grays’ lots. The trial court did not err when it found that Loretta Sanders intended to make a common law dedication of the disputed alley and that the McAllisters and Zirkle had not acquired fee simple title by adverse possession.  

Brian McNeill v. State of Indiana
71A05-1003-CR-219
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony aggravated battery because there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction. McNeill was at the crime scene and participated in the crime by firing his gun.

Tracie Burton v. Donna Bridwell, et al.
47A01-1003-CT-185
Civil tort. Reverses jury’s determination that Burton, as a passenger in a car, was at 50 percent fault for an auto accident, but rules the error was harmless. Affirms the damage award because it was within the bounds of the evidence that was presented at trial.

Town of Avon v. West Central Conservancy District, et al.
32A05-1003-PL-149
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of the West Central Conservancy District and other appellees on their challenge of an ordinance enacted by Avon that purports to regulate the conservancy district and township’s ability to remove and sell groundwater that was located in a local park. The Home Rule Act makes it clear that Avon may not impose a duty on the appellees “except as expressly granted by statute.” Ind. Code Section 36-1-3-8(a)(3). Therefore, because an aquifer is not a watercourse, Avon has no authority to restrict what the appellees choose to do with the groundwater in the aquifers.

Jimmy Morris v. State of Indiana
49A04-1003-CR-165
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to modify sentence placement. The 2001 modification of Ind. Code Section 35-38-1-17(b) did not give the trial court authority to modify Morris’ 1998 sentence.

Lucio Garcia v. State of Indiana
49A02-1005-PC-597
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Garcia didn’t meet his burden to prove he received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Leo Machine & Tool Inc., et al. v. Poe Volunteer Fire Dept. Inc., et al.
02A03-1003-PL-143
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment ruling that Poe Volunteer Fire Department is immune from liability under the Indiana Tort Claims Act and denial of Leo Machine’s complaint for damages suffered as a result of a fire. The Poe Fire Department’s actions are entitled to immunity as these were undertaken after a conscious and informed risk/benefit analysis based upon the specific challenges and threats caused by this particular fire.

Joseph L. Haskett v. State of Indiana (NFP)
52A02-1004-CR-505
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine.

Randy L. Labresh v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1004-CR-229
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death.

John F. Minter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-0911-CR-666
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, Class C felony possession of cocaine, and Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.

Samuel D. Clark, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
33A01-1004-CR-236
Criminal. Affirms revocation of home detention and suspended sentence.

Roman Warner v. Alan Finnan, et al. (NFP)
77A05-0905-CV-251
Civil. Affirms order denying Warner’s motion for extension of time to file his reply brief. Warner waived his claims for failure to develop the record on appeal.

Donielle S. Sims v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1003-CR-140
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class A felony attempted robbery.

W.T. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1002-JV-120
Juvenile. Affirms trial court valuation of one of the items W.T. stole.

David Lee Wright v. State of Indiana (NFP)
19A01-1003-PC-161
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Paul Hagedorn v. Dennis Talboom (NFP)
71A03-1002-SC-48
Small claims. Affirms finding Talboom’s damages were $2,593 plus costs.

Walter A. Griffin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1003-CR-199
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass.

Timothy Martin v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A05-1005-CR-333
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to withdraw plea of guilty but mentally ill to Class B felony burglary.

Simon Allen v. State of Indiana (NFP)
67A01-1005-CR-245
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony conspiracy to commit trafficking with an inmate and Class D felony possession of cocaine. Remands for clarification of the sentence imposed.

Charles E. Gould v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-430
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony burglary.

D.M. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1005-JV-551
Juvenile. Affirms finding D.M. delinquent for committing what would be Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft if committed by an adult.

Christopher Upton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1003-CR-135
Criminal. Affirms conviction of invasion of privacy but reverses the enhancement to a Class D felony and remands for entry of and sentencing for the conviction as a Class A misdemeanor.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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