Opinions Sept. 4, 2012

September 4, 2012
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana opinions at IL deadline.

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

Indiana Court of Appeals

Nathan S. Berkman v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for murder. The trial court did not abuse its discretion in declaring a witness unavailable or in admitting the deposition testimony of another unavailable witness. Berkman’s sentence is not inappropriate as he had argued.

Hood's Gardens, Inc. v. Jason Young, Craig Mead d/b/a Discount Tree Excavation a/k/a D & E Tree Extraction
Civil plenary. Reverses dismissal of Hood’s Gardens’ declaratory judgment action involving Craig Mead, Jason Young and D&E Tree Extraction seeking to not have to pay workers’ compensation benefits to Young. The exclusivity provisions of the Worker’s Compensation Act did not give the board exclusive jurisdiction to decide the simple contract construction issue raised in the trial court by HG. Remands for further proceedings.
Tommi Emerson Winn v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses denial of Winn’s motion for bail bond reduction. While the severity of the 13 charges supports setting the bail at $25,000, the absence of any other factors to suggest Winn is a flight risk means the court should have granted his request to deposit an amount not less than 10 percent of bail under I.C. 35-33-8-3.2(a). Judge Brown concurs in part.

Heather N. Kesling v. Hubler Nissan, Inc.
Civil tort. Reverses summary judgment to Hubler Nissan on Kesling’s Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act, and fraud claims. There is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Hubler made a representation that the car was safe to operate. Judge Friedlander dissents.

Dennis J. Rodenberg v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony rape.

Damon T. Payne, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence imposed for three counts of Class D felony theft.

Charles B. Dietzen v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms order reinstating suspended sentence.

Victoria Yates v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery.

Olympia Shellman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to withdraw guilty plea.

James W. Manhart v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of petition to convert convictions from Class D felonies resisting law enforcement and operating a vehicle while intoxicated to Class A misdemeanors.

Artrece D. Patterson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms finding of violation and revocation of probation.

Noble Potter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class B felony residential burglary and being a habitual offender.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.