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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. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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