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Opinions Sept. 22, 2010

September 22, 2010
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday.
Indiana Supreme Court
Term. of Parent-Child Rel. of I.B.; M.L. v. IDCS
03S05-1004-JV-218
Juvenile. Affirms denial of juvenile court to appoint appellate counsel to represent mother in an appeal of the involuntary termination of parental rights order. Holds that Indiana statutes dictate that the right to counsel continues through all stages of the proceeding to terminate the parent-child relationship, including appeal. Finds that the Rules of Professional Conduct, guidance from other jurisdictions, and the principal policy considerations animating termination of parental rights adjudications all dictate that, on the facts of this case, the lawyer had no basis to file an appeal and the trial court was correct not to appoint appellate counsel for that purpose.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Rosalyn West v. Betty Wadlington,et al.
49S02-1009-CV-509
Civil. Reverses trial court’s grant of Larkin and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s motions to dismiss West’s defamation and invasion of privacy claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Holds that a trial court with general jurisdiction to adjudicate claims of defamation and invasion of privacy is not ousted of jurisdiction merely because a religious defense to the claims is asserted. Remands for further proceedings.

Virginia Meister v. State of Indiana and the City of Union City, Indiana
68S04-1009-CV-510
Civil. Grants transfer and affirms trial court order that Meister’s truck be forfeited after her son was found to have drugs in the truck following a traffic stop. Although the search was invalid under Gant, it was justified under the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment based on probable cause and that it was a readily mobile vehicle.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Donte L. Boatner v. State of Indiana
49A04-1002-CR-68
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. The trial court did not err in admitting Boatner’s girlfriend’s statement under the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. Boatner’s confrontation claim is waived, and even if he had properly preserved his Crawford confrontation claim, his girlfriend’s statement to the deputy was not testimonial.

Sunder Upshaw v. State of Indiana
49A02-1003-CR-239
Criminal. Reverses conviction of driving while suspended with a prior misdemeanor conviction as a Class A misdemeanor. There is insufficient evidence supporting Upshaw’s conviction. Affirms convictions of Class B felony dealing in cocaine. Upshaw’s confession upon arrest of dealing drugs combined with the evidence of the drugs are sufficient to support his dealing conviction. Remands to amend the judgment of conviction by deleting the Class A misdemeanor conviction and inserting the Class A infraction in its place.

Ronald W. Ritz, et al. v. Town of Brookville (NFP)
24A01-0912-CV-576
Civil. Affirms trial court’s order requiring the demolition of the structure on the Ritzes’ property and enjoining them from violating the Brookville Property Maintenance Code. Reverses award of $2,500 to Brookville and remands to the trial court to impose a penalty consistent with the opinion.

Ellen C. Bragg Firn v. Todd D. Bragg (NFP)
85A04-1002-DR-243
Domestic relation. Affirms order awarding physical custody of minor son to Todd Bragg.

Larry Tidmore v. Linn A. Mackey and Ind. Farm Bureau Ins. (NFP)
27A04-1005-PL-323
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment for Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and Mackey on Tidmore’s complaint for damages stemming from a car accident.

Harold Schuler Owen v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A05-1003-CR-130
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine, Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine, and Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance.

Paul S. Freeman v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-0912-CR-573
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class D felony theft.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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