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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. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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