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Opinions Oct. 13, 2011

October 13, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no Indiana opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
George Michael True v. State of Indiana
39A04-1102-CR-37
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. There was no serious evidentiary dispute about whether the battery was committed in the presence of the children. Instructing the jury that it could convict True of a Class A misdemeanor domestic battery instead of as a Class D felony improperly invited the jury to reach a “compromise” verdict. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

LeChann Davis v. State of Indiana
49A02-1103-CR-184
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony child molesting. Any abuse of discretion to allow E.S.’s mother’s testimony that E.S. told her that Davis pinched his bottom during Davis’ bench trial was harmless. There is sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc. v. AMCO Insurance Company
33A01-1103-CT-104
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment for AMCO Insurance Co. in a suit for negligent hiring, retention and/or supervision. The alleged negligent acts give rise to an “occurrence” under the circumstances of the case and a genuine question of material fact remains regarding whether R.M.H. was in the hotel’s “care, custody or control.” Remands for further proceedings.

Jeffrey D. Lacher, et al. v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and Bemis Co., Inc.
93A02-1102-EX-163
Agency appeal. Affirms denial of employees’ claims for unemployment benefits. The evidence does not support an inference that the employees were locked out of work; it supports the conclusion that an impasse had been reached on the issue of the temporary employee clause.

William Anderson v. Alicia Jones (NFP)
29A02-1104-DR-311
Domestic relation. Affirms order apportioning educational expenses for the couple’s eldest daughter and uninsured medical expenses for the couple’s youngest child.

Stacy A. Jenkins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
63A01-1102-CR-050
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Jenkins serve the balance of his sentence in the Department of Correction.

Jamar Alston v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1103-PC-307
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

In Re: The Marriage of William Scott Mitchell v. Crystal Hope Bailey (NFP)
88A01-1102-DR-72
Domestic relation. Affirms distribution of property and remands for clarification.

Associated Estates Realty Corporation v. Angela Mason (NFP)
49A02-1105-CT-426
Civil tort. Reverses denial of Associated Estates Realty Corp.’s motion for relief from a default judgment and remands for further proceedings.

D.L. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1101-JV-109
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication as a delinquent juvenile for committing what would be burglary and theft if committed by an adult.

In Re: The Paternity of K.K.A. v. D.J.K. (NFP)
82A01-1103-JP-94
Juvenile. Reverses grant of petition for name change filed by father D.J.K. regarding child K.K.A.

Philip Walker, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
34A02-1101-CR-112
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class C felony battery and Class D felony cocaine possession.

Metro Health Professionals Inc. v. Carmel Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Inc., d/b/a Champion Chrysler Jeep Dodge (NFP)
06A01-1105-CT-214
Civil tort. Affirms order awarding Metro Health Professionals $3,500 in attorney fees instead of the $37,737.50 that it requested.

Bruce A. White, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1101-CR-28
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and 65-year sentence for murder.

Cindi M. Hrovat v. Thomas W. Kirchner (NFP)
84A01-1102-DR-31
Domestic relation. Affirms order denying Hrovat’s verified notice of intent to relocate.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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