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Opinions Sept. 20, 2011

September 20, 2011
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals had posted no opinions from Indiana courts at IL deadline.

Indiana Supreme Court
Rod L. Avery and Marshall K. Avery v. Trina R. Avery
49S05-1102-PL-76
Civil plenary. Affirms default judgment entered against Rod and Marshall Avery. The Indiana Trial Rules apply to will contest actions, and the failure to file an answer or responsive pleading in accordance with Trial Rule 7 may result in a default judgment.

Richard L. Barnes v. State of Indiana

82S05-1007-CR-343
Criminal. Grants rehearing and affirms original opinion that residents don’t have a common law right to resist police entering a person’s home. The castle doctrine is not a defense to battery or any violence against a police officer who is acting in his or her duties. Justice Rucker dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Thomas Temple v. State of Indiana
27A05-1101-CR-31
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Rejects Temple’s proposed definition of “induce,” and rejects his claims, premised upon that definition, that there was insufficient evidence and that there was a fatal variance between the charging information and the evidence adduced at trial.

State of Indiana v. Jonathon McDonald
32A05-1102-CR-56
Criminal. Reverses dismissal of charges against McDonald. The trial court erred by dismissing the charges based on the successive prosecution statute. Remands for further proceedings.

David L. McDaniel v. State of Indiana (NFP)

45A03-1102-CR-72
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Class C felony criminal recklessness.

Darnell Kelly, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1101-CR-67
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary and finding that Kelly is a habitual offender.

Richard West v. Elizabeth West (now Smith) (NFP)
22A01-1102-DR-45
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of Richard West’s petition to modify child custody and the award of $5,000 in attorney fees to Elizabeth West.

Daniel Zunica v. Zuncor, Inc., Steven A. Coppolillo, Jared Tomich, et al. (NFP)
45A04-1009-PL-700
Civil plenary. Affirms denial of motion to correct error brought by Zunica, which challenged a jury verdict finding him liable for breach of fiduciary duty in an action brought by Zuncor Inc. and shareholders.

Jon Dalton Gates v. State of Indiana (NFP)

12A02-1102-CR-160
Criminal. Affirms convictions of and sentence for Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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