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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
10S01-1308-PL-529
Civil plenary. Grants transfer to dispel confusion arising from “inartful language” in previous opinion.

Andrew McWhorter v. State of Indiana
33S01-1301-PC-7
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
49A02-1301-DR-85
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
46A03-1212-CR-544
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.
93A02-1301-EX-81
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)
93A02-1304-EX-319
Civil. Affirms denial of worker’s compensation benefits to Birdsong.

Jeffrey Griebel v. Lehsa Griebel (NFP)
53A04-1304-DR-191
Domestic relation. Dismisses Jeffrey Griebel’s appeal of child support order.

Willie Ambros Norman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1301-CR-13
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)
15A05-1302-CR-51
Criminal. Affirms denial of Lopez’s motion for recusal/change of judge.

Thelma Lindsey v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1211-CR-486
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)
81A01-1302-JT-58
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)
82A05-1301-JT-45
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of D.F.’s parental rights to his child, H.W.

Phillip J. Troyer v. Tracy L. Troyer (NFP)
02A03-1302-DR-55
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)
90A05-1211-JT-614
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)
73A01-1301-CR-15
Criminal. Affirms conviction of rape as a Class B felony.

Jeff Pierrard v. Wright Implement 1, LLC (NFP)
62A01-1305-CT-238
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)
49A02-1302-CR-184
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)
02A03-1302-CR-44
Criminal. Affirms denial of Harvey’s motion for concurrent sentencing.

Gregory Voltaire v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1303-CR-104
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)
32A01-1302-PL-67
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)
34A02-1301-CR-18
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 don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  2. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  3. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  4. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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