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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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  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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