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Opinions Nov. 20, 2013

November 20, 2013
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Clifford and Judith Ann Garrett v. Paul and Linda Spear
23A01-1303-PL-96
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for the Spears on their claims of title by acquiescence and adverse possession and denial of summary judgment for the Garrets. The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment based upon the doctrine of title by acquiescence.

Tony Sluder v. State of Indiana
03A01-1305-CR-208
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. The evidence was insufficient to establish that Sluder intended to use the syringe to introduce a controlled substance into his body.

Thomas Haggerty and Cathy Haggerty v. Anonymous Party 1, Anonymous Party 2, and Anonymous Party 3
53A01-1210-CT-472
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part. The trial court had jurisdiction to rule on the issue of immunity because it is an affirmative defense. Concludes that the Haggertys’ suit against the anonymous parties is barred by statutory immunity. Affirms the trial court’s grant of summary judgment, on immunity grounds, to AP1. Concludes that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether immunity also applies to AP2 and AP3; thus, reverses the trial court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment. Judge Baker dissents in part.

The City of Fort Wayne v. Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. d/b/a All-Phase Electric Supply Co.
02A04-1306-CC-283
Civil collection. Affirms summary judgment for All-Phase on its unpaid subcontractor’s claim served on the mayor of Fort Wayne and against the city. When read in conjunction with relevant statutory provisions, I.C. 36-1-12-12 allowed All-Phase to serve notice of its unpaid subcontractor’s claim on the mayor of Fort Wayne. Also finds that All-Phase provided timely notice of its claim.

In Re The Paternity of B.B., R.B. v. T.J.
34A02-1303-JP-243
Juvenile. Affirms order modifying custody, visitation and support of B.B. to mother T.J. The court ruled that the mother was in the best position to act as B.B.’s primary caretaker and awarded her physical custody. After review, COA cannot say that the court’s findings or conclusions were clearly erroneous and concludes that the court did not abuse its discretion in granting her petition to modify custody.

John S. Paniaguas, Kathy R. Paniaguas, Woodrow Cornett, III, and Kristine E. Cornett v. Endor, Inc. et al (NFP)
45A03-1205-PL-244
Civil plenary. Affirms order that determined that the appellee homeowners’ homes were in compliance with the restrictive covenants of the subdivision.

In The Matter of The Estate of Charles W. Merlau, Deceased, Patricia Trout v. C. Thomas Cone, et al (NFP)
30A01-1304-EU-166
Estate, unsupervised. Affirms in part and reverses in part, and remands with instructions to conduct further proceedings. The successor representative improperly valued the stock, in that it should have been valued as of the date of distribution rather than on the date of the decedent’s death. All of the heirs should share equally in the payment of the taxes and the loss that was incurred on the stock. A subsequent hearing needs to be conducted that also addresses the issue of an administrative claim that the business lodged against the estate.

Dino D. Hickmon, Sr v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1305-CR-167
Criminal. Affirms 22-year sentence for two convictions of Class B felony incest.

Howard Moffitt v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1304-CR-186
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary, Class D felony theft and Class C misdemeanor operating never having received a license.

Carlowe Wilson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A02-1304-CR-440
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony nonsupport of a dependent child.

Tawon L. Wright v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1304-CR-368
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony possession of cocaine.

George Cunitz v. State of Indiana (NFP)
35A02-1305-CR-405
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence following convictions for two counts of Class B felony burglary.

Eric Rasnick v. State of Indiana (NFP)
39A01-1211-CR-526
Criminal. Affirms convictions and 36-year sentence for Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Indiana Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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