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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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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