Opinions Sept. 12, 2013

September 12, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court
Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners, Board of Commissioners of Clark County, Indiana v. Dennis Dreyer and Margo Dreyer, as Co-Personal Reps. of the Estate of Margaret A. Dreyer
Civil plenary. Grants transfer to dispel confusion arising from “inartful language” in previous opinion.

Andrew McWhorter v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Reverses the denial of McWhorter’s post-conviction relief petition, vacates conviction for voluntary manslaughter and remands for retrial. Rules the state can retry on same voluntary manslaughter without violating double-jeopardy restrictions. Although the phrase “knowingly killed” is in the definitions of murder and voluntary manslaughter, McWhorter can be acquitted of murder while still being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter because “knowingly” is not the only single issue a rational jury would have considered.

Indiana Court of Appeals
John Luttrell v. Melinda Luttrell
Domestic relation. Affirms division of marital estate and award of spousal maintenance to Melinda Luttrell. Remands to the trial court for consideration of the parents’ liability for their children’s student loans in which one or both parents were co-signers.

Brian Russell v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated, rejecting Brian’s Russell’s argument that his Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure was violated. In a concurring opinion, Judge Mark Bailey held that because Rusell had waived the Fourth Amendment argument as the majority believed, he therefore would not have undertaken an analysis of the Fourth Amendment claim as the majority did.

Gina Albright v. Review Board of the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development and the Starke County Sheriff's Dept.
Agency action. Affirms denial of unemployment benefits, holding that the Department of Workforce Development’s determination that Albright was ineligible for benefits because she was fired for just cause was not contrary to law. The court also found dispatchers are an appropriately distinct class upon which to assess the uniform enforcement of an unexcused, unreported absence policy.

Flora Birdsong v. Illinois Central School Bus (NFP)
Civil. Affirms denial of worker’s compensation benefits to Birdsong.

Jeffrey Griebel v. Lehsa Griebel (NFP)
Domestic relation. Dismisses Jeffrey Griebel’s appeal of child support order.

Willie Ambros Norman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D attempt to acquire possession of a legend drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or subterfuge.
Adolfo Lopez v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Lopez’s motion for recusal/change of judge.

Thelma Lindsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms two-year sentence for operating while intoxicated, as a Class D felony.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.M.(Minor Child) and C.M.(Mother) and R.M.(Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of C.M’s and R.M.’s parental rights to their 4-year-old child, K.M.

In Re the Termination of the Parent-Child Rel. of H.W. (Minor Child) and D.F. (Father) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of D.F.’s parental rights to his child, H.W.

Phillip J. Troyer v. Tracy L. Troyer (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms order finding Phillip Troyer in contempt for failing to pay his share of K.T.’s uninsured medical expenses under the divorce decree. In her dissent, Judge Elaine Brown argues that Phillip’s action shows he was not being willfully disobedient. He told his ex-wife he would be delaying payment while he filed a claim against the insurer, to which she consented, and his assertion that he owed less than his ex-wife calculated was confirmed by the court.

In Re the Termination of the Parent-Child Rel. of El.S. and Et.S. (Minor Children) and M.S. (Mother) v. The Indiana Dept. of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of M.S.’s parental rights to her children, El.S and Et.S.

Darren L. Bunch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of rape as a Class B felony.

Jeff Pierrard v. Wright Implement 1, LLC (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Wright Implement 1, LLC, regarding its claim against Pierrard for conversion of a tractor and other equipment.

Oscar Diaz-Flores v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony burglary. Also affirms one count of Class C felony criminal confinement and vacates the other count. Finds Flores’ criminal confinement of his ex-girlfriend constitutes a single transaction and can only support one criminal confinement conviction.  

Stephen R. Harvey, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Harvey’s motion for concurrent sentencing.

Gregory Voltaire v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction for Class D felony sexual battery. Reverses and remands with instruction one-year sentence for Class B misdemeanor battery. Finds Voltaire’s one-year sentence suspended to probation for the misdemeanor violates Indiana Code which limits the term of imprisonment for Class B misdemeanor to no more than 180 days.

Thomas I. Goode v. Hendricks County Planning and Building Commission (NFP)
Civil plenary. Dismisses Goode’s appeal of the trial court’s July 2011 order and October 2012 order that he comply with the general business district zoning requirements. Finds Goode forfeited his right to appeal because he did not file notice within 30 days of the orders.

Christopher D. Davies v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence executed for theft, a Class D felony.

Indiana Tax Court issued no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana opinions by IL deadline.


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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.