Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
Criminal. Affirms 70-month sentence for Ghiassi’s guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S. Code 922(g)(1). Finds the District Court was uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of Ghiassi’s co-defendant and her statements that she purchased eight firearms on his behalf. Also rejects Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process. Rules Ghiassi knew the court was going to rely on his co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to challenge those statements.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Peru City Police Department and City of Peru v. Gregory Martin
Civil plenary. Reverses a trial court ruling that overturned a city board’s firing of a police officer for use of excessive force against a 64-year-old nursing home patient hit with five Taser deployments in one minute. The panel held that the trial court erroneously substituted its judgment for that of the city board, impermissibly reweighed evidence, disregarded evidence favorable to the board’s decision, credited the testimony of witnesses that the trial court did not personally hear, and misstated evidence regarding the scope of the officer’s training.

Peter F. Amaya v. D. Craig Brater, M.D., In his Capacity as Dean and Director of Indiana University School of Medicine; The Board of Trustees of Indiana University; et al.
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Indiana University School of Medicine and related co-defendants for the dismissal of third-year medical student Peter Amaya on allegations of cheating on an exam. The panel held that Amaya was not denied due process and that it could not conclude that the decision to dismiss Amaya was not based on substantial evidence or was arbitrary or capricious.

Marion Turner v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction for dealing in cocaine as a Class A felony. Finds no reversible error in the trial court’s exclusion of a confidential informant’s offer to pay more money for cocaine. The jury could “reasonably interpret” from Turner’s testimony saying “the intensity was basically up the ante,” that the purchase price was being increased. Also rules the evidence is sufficient to prove Turner’s predisposition to deal cocaine. Turner’s interaction with an undercover detective indicated he was familiar with drug jargon and was soliciting a future transaction.  

TP Orthodontics, Inc., Christopher K. Kesling, DDS, MS, Adam Kesling, and Emily Kesling, Individually and derivatively on behalf of TP Orthodontics, Inc. v. Andrew C. Kesling, et al.
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court’s order compelling TP Orthodontics to file a copy of the special litigation committee’s entire report under seal and to produce a copy for the siblings and their counsel. Rules the heavily redacted report gives a partial picture at best. It does not provide any information on what the committee may have failed to do or may have done incorrectly. Consequently, the derivative plaintiffs must have access to the complete unredacted report in order to determine if the committee was disinterested or conducted its investigation in good faith.

Kem Duerson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Yulanda C. Petty v. John T. Petty (NFP)
Domestic relation. Affirms in part, reverses in part and remands a trial court order in favor of John Petty. Remands for a hearing to determine the balance in a trust account and a corresponding recalculation of Yulanda Petty’s share of support for a daughter’s college expenses.

Ruben Mancillas, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms aggregate sentence of seven-and-a-half years for conviction of Class D felony resisting law enforcement with a motor vehicle, misdemeanor counts of failure to stop at an accident resulting in damage to a vehicle and operating a vehicle while intoxicated enhanced by a habitual offender finding.

Dwight McPherson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Remands to the trial court for proceedings, finding error in imposing a $200 public defender fee and in leaving a determination of restitution for the probation department.

Guy Ivester v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief from 18-year executed sentence for conviction of Class A felony dealing in a Schedule II controlled substance.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of E.M., L.M., & G.M., and S.M. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Robert J. Winings v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief from 40-year executed sentence for convictions of Class A felony dealing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school and Class B felony dealing methamphetamine.

Robert Small v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.