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Opinions Nov. 15, 2010

November 15, 2010
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Lorenzo Tavarez
09-3879
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.
41A01-1003-JP-145
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

20A03-1005-CT-338
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.
49A02-1007-PL-714
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

10A01-1001-PL-22
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
70A01-1003-EU-104
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
46A05-0912-CR-718
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

35A04-1004-PC-245
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

45A03-1003-CC-129
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
30A01-1001-PL-186
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.

37A03-1006-CT-294
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
21A05-1003-CR-167
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)

82A05-1004-CR-215
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)

49A04-1001-CR-47
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)
23A05-1005-CR-292
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)

20A03-1004-CR-237
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)

20A03-1004-JT-228
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of parental rights.

In Re: The Guardianship of Patrick Hill; Kristin S. Hill v. Michael W. Hill (NFP)
49A04-0906-CV-339
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)

49A05-1003-JC-198
Juvenile. Affirms finding that I.D. is a child in need of services.

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

41A01-1003-CC-121
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment for Toole in Sharla Hackney’s suit for negligence.

Ronald Fisher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-411
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Gerardo Delao v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1004-CR-228
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed following admission to violating probation.

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

33A05-1006-DR-434
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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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