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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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