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Opinions Sept. 29, 2010

September 29, 2010
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The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday.
Indiana Supreme Court
David Hopper v. State of Indiana
13S01-1007-PC-399
Post conviction. In the future, a defendant expressing a desire to proceed without counsel is to be advised of the dangers of going to trial as required by Faretta, and also be informed that an attorney is usually more experienced in plea negotiations and better able to identify and evaluate any potential defenses and evidentiary or procedural problems in the prosecution’s case. Chief Justice Shepard and Justice Dickson dissent.

Today’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Efren R. Diaz v. State of Indiana
20S05-0911-PC-521
Post conviction. Refusing to admit the chart on grounds of hearsay was an error. It was prepared by an expert witness of Diaz on the misinterpretations between what the court said in English and what the translator told Diaz in Spanish, and the witness’ expertise was hindered by its exclusion. The evidence before the post-conviction court doesn’t reveal whether Diaz was provided with accurate interpreting. Directs the trial court to commission its own translation of the plea hearing and the sentencing hearing to rehear such evidence to answer whether Diaz’s plea was voluntary and intelligent.

State of Indiana v. Craig Cooper
49S02-1004-PC-220
Post conviction. Reverses grant of relief by the post-conviction court. The reading of the charge and the Indianapolis police officer’s statements that he works in Indianapolis and saw Cooper at an Indianapolis address coupled with Cooper’s acknowledgement of those statements constituted a sufficient demonstration that the events happened in Marion County in 1999. Directs that the conviction be reinstated.

Matthew A. Baugh v. State of Indiana
18S04-1007-CR-398
Criminal. Affirms determination Baugh is a sexually violent predator. The invited error doctrine applies to preclude consideration of Baugh’s appellate claims based on the absence of the doctors’ live testimony during his sexually violent predator and sentencing hearing and the alleged insufficient expertise in criminal behavior disorders.

Anne M. Bingley v. Charles B. Bingley
02S03-1002-CV-122
Civil. Reverses trial court ruling that Charles’ employer-paid premiums to a health insurance company on his behalf as part of his pension plan didn’t constitute a marital asset. Employer-provided health-insurance benefits do constitute an asset once they have vested in a party to the marriage. Justice Dickson dissents.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Capital Drywall Supply, Inc. and Old Fort Building Supply Co., Inc. v. Jai Jagdish, Inc. and Ranjan Amin
71A03-1004-PL-189
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of the cross-motion of summary judgment filed by Jai Jagdish Inc. and Ranjan Amin on Capital Drywall and Old Fort’s cross-claims to foreclose on mechanic’s liens. Any error in the trial court’s ruling that limited the admissibility of the affidavit of Pamela Hartman was harmless because the lien claimants didn’t comply or substantially comply with the mechanic’s lien statute. The lien claimants didn’t perfect their liens because they both used an incorrect owner’s name in their notices of intent to hold a lien; and the lien claimants didn’t substantially comply with the mechanic’s lien statute when they listed an incorrect owner’s name on their lien notices, even if such information was obtained by telephone from the public office designated by statute.

Gregory A. Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A03-1002-CR-212
Criminal. Affirms conviction of possession of cocaine as a Class D felony.

Phillip Lawton v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A04-1004-CR-267
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony rape.

Michael O. Branch v. State of Indiana (NFP)
84A05-1004-CR-259
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class D felony theft.

Terry R. Twitty, Sr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
32A01-1001-PC-19
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court didn’t err by denying claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel or by not appointing counsel for Twitty’s post-conviction relief proceedings and subsequent re-sentencing. The post-conviction court erred by granting Twitty relief and by re-sentencing him under Blakely. Remands with instructions to restore his original sentence.

Rudolph V. Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
71A05-1004-CR-147
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony robbery.

Lafayette Caldwell v. State of Indiana (NFP)
45A03-1003-PC-156
Post conviction. Affirms denial of successive petition for post-conviction relief.

David Reynolds v. State of Indiana (NFP)
06A01-0802-PC-67
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at IL deadline.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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