Opinions Nov. 5, 2013

November 5, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Jason Wilson v. Kelly (Wilson) Myers
Domestic relation. Reverses modification of custody. Finds an abuse of discretion in the way this modification was carried out and ordered as it never mentioned whether the modification was in the best interest of the children or noted any substantial change in any of the factors enumerated in I.C. 31-17-2-8. Orders an evidentiary hearing and inquiry into in-camera interviews. Since the two children have already been pulled from their Indiana school system and are attending school in Michigan, this status quo should continue until further order of the court as to minimize further disruption to the kids.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Heather Herren v. Jerry Dishman
Small claims. Affirms an order of replevin returning custody of a dog to Jerry Dishman, after Heather Herren obtained an out-of-state protective order granting her custody and control of any animal owned, possessed, kept or held as a pet by either party. The small claims court erred in refusing to accord full faith and credit to the North Carolina protective order, but because Herren neither owned nor possessed the dog at the time the protective order was issued, she was not entitled to custody.

Andrew Wann v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms order requiring Andrew Wann to serve 90 days of a suspended 365-day sentence for conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana after a probationary urinalysis tested positive. The panel rejected Wann’s arguments that the urinalysis report was admitted in violation of his due process rights and that the court imposed a sentence that contravened statutory authority because time served or credited in jail or on probation exceeded 365 days.

Ritchie Hodges v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses trial court order dismissing a claim for post-conviction relief from the revocation of a conditional release to placement in community corrections. The court held that a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at a hearing to revoke placement is a claim that conditional release was unlawfully revoked, and therefore subject to a claim under Post-Conviction Rule 1(1)(a)(5).

State of Indiana v. William Gilbert
Criminal. Reverses suppression of evidence in a drunken-driving case in which a motorist was taken to a roll-call station where a breath test was administered. Police had probable cause to seize Gilbert after he allegedly ran a stop sign and police smelled alcohol and observed him stumble as he exited his vehicle. His rights under the Fourth Amendment therefore were not violated, the panel ruled.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.L. & D.L. (Minor Children) and K.M., (Mother) & D.L.,(Father) v, The Indiana Department of Child Services
Termination of parental rights. Affirms trial court termination order for mother and father, concluding there is clear and convincing evidence to support the trial court’s findings and the court’s ultimate determination that there is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in the children’s removal or the reasons for placement outside the home will not be remedied.

D.B., et al., v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Department of Workforce Development, and Anderson Transit System, Inc.
Civil. Affirms review board’s denial of school bus drivers’ application for unemployment compensation. Rules the board did not interpret the vacation provisions of Indiana Code Section 22-4-3-5, enacted in 2011 and 2012, too broadly. Presumes since the Legislature has held that mandatory vacation or shutdown period does not entitle employees to unemployment compensation, General Assembly did not  intend to change the common law beyond what its enactments and fair implications allow.  

Anthony E. Boyd v. WHTIV, Inc. and Walter Tarr, IV
Civil plenary. Reverses both the trial court’s denial of Boyd’s motion to correct error and its grant of summary judgment in favor of WHTIV and Tarr. Holds even though Boyd took 33 days to respond to WHTIV’s and Tarr’s motion for summary judgment, Trial Rule 6(E) allows for the extra time because the motion was delivered by mail. Also, since Boyd was denied additional time to complete discovery, the grant of summary judgment was premature.  

Dawn Willsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms 16-year aggregate sentence following guilty plea to two counts of burglary, Class B felonies.

James W. Avery v. Cynthia L. (Avery) Howe (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms trial court’s dissolution decree awarding 60 percent of the marital estate to James Avery and 40 percent  to Cynthia (Avery) Howe.

A.C. James, Jr., v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder and criminal recklessness, a Class D felony.

Brandon Titus v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Reverses denial of Titus’s petition for modification of convictions and remands to the trial court for further action consistent with this opinion. Holds the trial court’s discretion was limited to determining if Titus had complied with the terms of the plea agreement. Therefore, the court abused its discretion when it considered whether Titus would or could pursue a career in law enforcement.  

Eric Powell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Finds police officer’s request for Powell’s identification and search for outstanding arrest warrants were reasonable under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

The Indiana Tax Court did not submit any opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals did not submit any Indiana opinions by IL deadline.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise