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
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.
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
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
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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues