Opinions Nov. 15, 2010

November 15, 2010
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lorenzo Tavarez
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, Judge William T. Lawrence.
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of distributing 50 grams or more methamphetamine. Tavarez failed to show that the confidential informant was available only to the government. The District Court therefore did not err by refusing the missing witness instruction. Concludes that the jury could reasonably reach its guilty verdict on the circumstantial evidence presented here.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Paternity of C.H.; K.L. v. M.H.
Juvenile. Affirms parenting time schedule regarding father M.H.’s time and the appointment of a parenting coordinator. The evidence showed that C.H. had bonded well with both parents and needs time with both of them, and the trial court’s assessment of M.H.’s time is not an error. The trial court didn’t error in appointing the parent coordinator given the ongoing communication difficulties the parents have had regarding the parenting time schedule.

Mary Booher, et al. v. Sheeram, LLC

Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Sheeram LLC on the Boohers’ negligence complaint. Having failed to file a formal request with the trial court for an extension of time, the trial court was without discretion to accept the technically late-filed documents.

Tony A. Holmes v. Celadon Trucking of Indiana, et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses grant of Celadon Trucking’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. Holmes began the instant suit against Celadon within the statutorily allotted time. Remands for further proceedings.

City of Jeffersonville v. Hallmark at Jeffersonville

Civil plenary. Affirms judgment in favor of Hallmark of Jeffersonville on its complaint for refund of sewer tap fees. Affirms the court’s findings and conclusion as to the proper total amount of $15,000 that Hallmark should have been assessed as a sewer tap or connection fee for the three buildings. Concludes the voluntary payment doctrine is inapplicable in this case.

In the Matter of the Unsupervised Estate of Dwight M. Wilson v. Phyllis Steward
Estate unsupervised. Affirms Steward’s claim against the estate for unpaid child support is not barred by Indiana Code Section 34-11-2-12. The evidence was sufficient to overcome the presumption of satisfaction of the judgment.

Robert L. Comer v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Comer serve the balance of his sentences. The appellate court doesn’t have jurisdiction to entertain Comer’s challenge, if any, to the sentence originally imposed.

Donald G. Kistler v. State of Indiana

Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief. Kistler did not demonstrate that he wouldn’t have pled guilty even if properly advised and his claim of ineffective assistance fails.

Wayne & Susan Vanderwier v. Joshua & Stephannie Baker

Civil collection. Affirms judgment in favor of the Bakers on their claims for fraud arising from their purchase of the Vanderwiers’ home. This evidence supports the trial court’s judgment that the Bakers established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Vanderwiers made fraudulent misrepresentations on the Sales Disclosure Form and that the Bakers justifiably relied on the Vanderwiers’ fraudulent disclosure of only “minor garage seepage.”

Robert Guy v. Commissioner, Indiana BMV
Civil plenary. Vacates trial court’s denial of Guy’s verified petition for order to renew his Indiana operator’s license. Because Guy only served the commissioner of the BMV and not the attorney general, as required by both the Indiana Administrative Orders and Procedures Act and Indiana Trial Rule 4.6(A)(3), the trial court did not have personal jurisdiction.

Charlotte Manns v. Amos J. Richie, et al.

Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment for Richie on Manns’ complaint for unjust enrichment. As a matter of law, Manns did not confer any benefit upon Richie.

Clarence Seeley, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms refusal to tender Seeley’s jury instruction. The evidence unequivocally demonstrated that Seeley was not “briefly” within 1,000 feet of school property when he illegally sold a controlled substance from his residence. As such, there was no evidence in the record to support the giving of the proffered jury instruction on the statutory defense. The state presented sufficient evidence that St. Gabriel’s School was “school property” for purposes of the statutory enhancement. Reverses habitual offender finding and remands for re-sentencing.

Dewayne E. Rhye v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class D felony conspiracy to commit theft, Class D felony criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury, and Class B misdemeanor criminal recklessness.

Raymond Lee v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms habitual offender adjudication and sentence for Class C felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Stephen Quick, II v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion for change of judge and 125-year sentence for three counts of Class A felony child molesting.

Jose L. Macias v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine.

Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of J.A.; S.J.M. and J.A. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)

Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

In Re: The Guardianship of Patrick Hill; Kristin S. Hill v. Michael W. Hill (NFP)
Civil. Affirms probate court’s order appointing Michael Hill as guardian over son Patrick.

In the Matter of I.D.; T.D. v. IDCS (NFP)

Juvenile. Affirms finding that I.D. is a child in need of services.

Sharla Hackney and Raymond Hackney, Sr. v. Stacy G. Toole (NFP)

Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment for Toole in Sharla Hackney’s suit for negligence.

Ronald Fisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Gerardo Delao v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following admission to violating probation.

James R. Stephens v. Brenda K. Stephens (NFP)

Domestic relation. Dismisses James Stephens’ appeal of the order regarding his child support arrearage because his appeal is untimely.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues