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Opinions Sept. 3, 2013

September 3, 2013
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7th Circuit Court of Appeals
USA v. Farshad Ghiassi
12-3596
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
52A02-1304-PL-350
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.
49A04-1212-PL-620
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
49A05-1302-CR-59
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.
46A03-1207-MI-324
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)
82A01-1301-CR-23
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and adjudication as a habitual offender.

Yulanda C. Petty v. John T. Petty (NFP)
71A03-1301-DR-11
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)
55A04-1208-CR-444
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)
48A05-1302-CR-64
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)
33A04-1209-PC-491
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)
29A02-1301-JT-89
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Robert J. Winings v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1301-PC-26
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)
48A04-1301-CR-38
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

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

 

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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