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Opinions Sept. 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
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Indiana Supreme Court

The following opinion was issued after IL deadline Tuesday.


Kevin M. Clark v. State of Indiana
20S05-1301-CR-10
Criminal. Reverses conviction and 45-year sentence for Class A felony attempted dealing in methamphetamine, holding that police violated the Fourth Amendment protections of Kevin Clark when a late-night call regarding someone allegedly living improperly at a 24-hour self-storage unit instead became a “fishing expedition” for narcotics based on an officer’s hunch. Officers saw nothing illegal or appearing to constitute narcotics use, and evidence gathered from resulting search must be suppressed as fruit of the poison tree, a 4-1 majority ruled. Justice Mark Massa dissented, holding that when Clark dropped a bag as police approached, it provided reasonable suspicion, as did Clark’s subsequent admission that the bag contained marijuana.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Mario A. Allen v. State of Indiana
46A04-1203-CR-143
Criminal. Affirms conviction for attempted robbery, a Class B felony, attempted robbery, a Class B felony, and adjudication as a habitual offender. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence Allen’s arrest report and a co-defendant’s handwritten statement to police. Also rules the trial court properly excluded Allen’s proffered exhibit of an undated taxi cab receipt. Concludes the evidence was sufficient to sustain Allen’s conviction and that Allen abandoned his request for an early trial.

Anonymous, M.D. and Life Care Centers of America, Inc., d/b/a Lane House v. Evelyn Hendricks
79A04-1304-CT-185        
Civil tort. Reverses and remands the denial of Lane House’s motion to stay the proceedings and compel arbitration. Rules although Hendricks did not sign the arbitration agreement herself, she expressly authorized her health care representative to sign and she is now bound by that signing. Also finds that language in the agreement clearly indicates while the National Arbitration Forum is the preferred arbitrator, another arbitration service or method can be used.  

Lifeline Youth & Family Services v. Installed Building Products, Inc. d/b/a Momper Insulation
02A03-1211-CT-502
Civil tort. Affirms trial court denial of motion to correct error over a jury’s award of damages resulting from a fire. Lifeline sought an order to increase the jury’s award of damages from 55 percent of the loss to 100 percent, but the panel ruled that evidence Lifeline relied on to make its argument was not properly before the court because no transcript had been provided.

Brenda Hall v. Dallman Contractors, LLC, Shook, LLC and AT&T Services, Inc.
49A02-1210-CT-806
Civil tort. Reverses and remands a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of AT&T Services Inc. The court found there are issues of material fact concerning whether AT&T Services was Hall’s employer or a joint employer, and that the company has not established that Hall’s negligence claim against it was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of the Worker’s Compensation Act.

Anthony Michael Davis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1302-CR-57
Criminal. Affirms six-year sentence for conviction of Class C felony operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension.

David Barbee v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-0907-CR-370
Criminal. Affirms denial of motion to correct error challenging his convictions of murder and Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license.

Billye D. Gaulden v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A04-1212-CR-651
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 50-year sentence for conviction of Class B felony robbery and two counts of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.

Carlos Lamonte Minor v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A05-1302-CR-85
Criminal. Affirms 12-year sentence for conviction of Class B felony voluntary manslaughter.

Jennifer Barber v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1208-CR-395
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and Class C misdemeanor failure to stop and remain at the scene of an accident.

Sanders Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1211-CR-904
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder and being a habitual offender.

Ryan Schonabaum v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A04-1302-CR-44
Criminal. Affirms 50-year sentence for conviction of two counts of Class A felony child molesting.

Certain Properties Being Sold for Delinquent Taxes; Tax Sale Certificate #3910192 Parcel #39-0-17-114-024.000-007; Norman Eggers v. MLP Services, LLP and Jefferson County, IN. Auditor, et al. (NFP)
39A01-1211-MI-527
Miscellaneous. Affirms issuance of a tax deed to MLP Services and remands to the trial court to determine damages for an appeal brought in bad faith.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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