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Opinions Oct. 28, 2010

October 28, 2010
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Indiana Supreme Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Robert D. Davis v. State of Indiana
32A01-1003-CR-144
Criminal. Affirms denial of Davis’ motion for leave to amend his motion to correct erroneous sentence. The information before the appellate court doesn’t allow it to decide whether he was erroneously sentenced.  

Quincy and Shannon Branham v. Rodney Varble and Norman Chastain
62A01-1004-SC-192
Small claims. Affirms order the Branhams pay $50 a month toward a small-claims judgment. The burden is upon the debtor to assert an exemption. Reverses the part of the court’s order that Quincy seek alternative employment by submitting five applications a week. There’s no court authority that supports this order. Judge Crone dissents in part.

Quincy and Shannon Branham v. Rodney and Carol Varble
62A04-1004-SC-256
Small claims. Affirms order the Branhams pay $50 a month toward a small claims judgment. Based on the evidence before the court, it concluded that exemptions aside, they had sufficient funds to pay the judgment. Reverses the part of the court’s order that Quincy seek alternative employment by submitting five applications a week. There’s no court authority that supports this order. Judge Crone dissents in part.

Kelvin Heyen v. State of Indiana
84A04-1002-CR-134
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and being a habitual offender. Heyen’s claim the evidence was stale fails; he didn’t show that the confidential informant’s identity was unknown to him, the evidence is sufficient to show he dealt methamphetamine and that he is an habitual offender, and his trial counsel didn’t render ineffective assistance.

Marvin G. Jerro v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A04-1001-CR-38
Criminal. Affirms convictions of two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine, one count of Class C felony possession of cocaine, and finding Jerro is a habitual offender.

Donald A. Pierce v. State of Indiana (NFP)
13A04-0908-CR-480
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of Class A felony child molesting and one count of Class C felony child molesting. Remands with instructions to attach Pierce’s fixed 10-year term for being a repeat sexual offender to one of his Class A felony sentences for an aggregate sentence of 134 years.

Dion Alexander Walker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1005-PC-250
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Richard D. Stewart v. State of Indiana (NFP)

42A05-0912-CR-705
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class D felony possession of methamphetamine, and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Joseph Hoskins v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1004-CR-524
Criminal. Affirms conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor.

Micah Potter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A05-1006-CR-391
Criminal. Affirms execution of Potter’s previously suspended sentence upon the revocation of her probation.

Paternity of C.W.R.; C.W. v. F.R. (NFP)
31A01-1002-JP-47
Juvenile. Affirms order denying mother C.W.’s petition to modify custody of C.W.R.

Samuel Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1003-CR-171
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony rape, Class A felony criminal deviate conduct, Class B felony robbery, and Class C felony intimidation.

Donald K. Wilburn v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1001-CR-24
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony rape and Class B felony criminal deviate conduct.

Anthony R. Helton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
29A02-1002-CR-183
Criminal. Affirms convictions of eight counts of Class D felony theft.

Martin A. Stanley v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1003-CR-209
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony arson.

William Greenwood v. State of Indiana (NFP)
43A03-1005-CR-322
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felonies child molesting and child exploitation and remands for correction of clerical errors.

Antoine R. Bird v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1003-CR-170
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class B felony robbery and felony murder.

Clarence Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1003-CR-273
Criminal. Affirms six-year sentence imposed following probation violation.

Randy A. Cummings v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A04-1001-CR-32
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder.

Walter Archer, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1001-CR-32
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license.

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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