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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. 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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