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Opinions Oct. 11, 2012

October 11, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Edward Jeroski, doing business as USA Cleaning Service and Building Maintenance v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission and U.S. Secretary of Labor
11-3687
Agency review. Denies USA Cleaning’s petition to review the order of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, which affirmed the denial of an application for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act. The meaning of “prevailing party” under the act does not apply to USA Cleaning, which was the subject of an order by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration that was later dropped.

Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals

William A. Boyd and Janice Ann Boyd v. State of Indiana
28A01-1203-PL-108
Civil plenary. Affirms the state’s taking of the Boyds’ property for use in constructing Interstate-69 in southwest Indiana. None of the Boyds’ claims are reviewable in eminent domain proceedings.

David E. Lyons v. State of Indiana
76A03-1112-CR-582
Criminal. Affirms convictions of five counts of Class A felony child molesting. The requirements of Evidence Rule 702 were satisfied and the admission of Dr. Judith Williams’ testimony did not constitute error or a fundamental error.

Andrew Machi v. State of Indiana (NFP)
36A04-1203-CR-166
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Daniel Crabtree v. State of Indiana (NFP)
15A01-1203-CR-131
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed after Crabtree’s probation for Class C felony child molesting was revoked.

Matthew Bryant v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A01-1110-CR-496
Criminal. Reduces Bryant’s conviction of Class C felony battery to a Class B misdemeanor and remands for resentencing, which will have no effect on his aggregate 93-year sentence. Affirms remaining convictions of Class A felony burglary, two counts of Class B felony criminal confinement, and two counts of Class C felony intimidation.

Shellie P. App v. William App, Jr. (NFP)
67A01-1203-DR-99
Domestic relation. Finds trial court erred by entering a post-secondary educational expense order in the absence of a worksheet or its own findings and conclusions and by failing to specify which parent should claim the child as a dependent for tax purposes. Affirms in all other respects. Remands with instructions.

John Tompkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1111-CR-690
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony burglary and status as a habitual offender.
 

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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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