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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.