Opinions Sept. 9, 2010

September 9, 2010
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Indiana Supreme Court
Matter of the Estate of Harry L. Rickert
Civil. Reverses judgment in favor of Taylor, who was Rickert’s power of attorney, that she receive the money from accounts in which she was a joint holder. The presumption is that Taylor’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money. Remands with direction to order restoration to the estate of bank accounts owned of record by Rickert and Taylor that were created through use of Taylor’s power of attorney from Rickert and lacking any support documentation indicating participation by Rickert.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Mark Kinsel v. Robert and Dolores Schoen
Civil. Affirms denial of Kinsel’s motion to correct error following a judgment in favor of the Schoens for damages and injunctive relief against Kinsel for negligence, nuisance, and trespass. The trial court correctly determined the common enemy doctrine doesn’t apply and Kinsel may be held liable for his leaking pond.

Robert C. Bergstrom, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Infraction. Dismisses appeal because Bergstrom failed to timely file his notice of appeal within 30 days from the date his motion to correct error was deemed denied. Bergstrom did not file his notice of appeal until March 4, 2010, which, while within 30 days from the date the trial court issued an order denying Bergstrom’s motion to correct error, was not within 30 days from the date his motion was deemed denied under Indiana Trial Rule 53.3(A).

Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company v. Jeremy Oliver
Small claim. Affirms judgment in favor of Oliver in an action against him arising from an uninsured motor vehicle accident. The relaxed rules in the small-claims setting in Indiana, coupled with the provision in S.C.R. 4(A) that places the statute of limitations at issue without the need for the defendant to raise it, allows a small-claims court to decide a case based upon the statute of limitations where the defendant failed to raise or mention it at trial, but the matter was discussed during trial.

Thomas C. Temperly v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Remands with instructions to vacate the Class A misdemeanor conviction and sentence for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and enter judgment and an appropriate sentence for Class A misdemeanor operating with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or more. There was insufficient evidence Temperly operated his vehicle while intoxicated in a manner that endangered a person. Finds the consensual chemical test was reasonable under the state and federal constitutions. The BAC evidence was validly obtained pursuant to Indiana Code Section 9-30-7-3, complied with the requirements of I.C. Section 9-30-6-2, and was admissible in Temperly’s prosecution under Chapter 9-30-5

Steve Brown v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Wilfred V. Rhea, III v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Vacates conviction of operating a vehicle with a BAC of at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 as a Class C misdemeanor. Remands for further proceedings.

M.S., Alleged to be C.H.I.N.S.; J.F. v. I.D.C.S. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms adjudication of M.S. as a child in need of services.

Ricardo A. Telfer v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of and sentence for Class B felony dealing in cocaine.

David D. Lewis v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms the search warrant issued justified the search that turned up the drugs and affirms convictions of Class A felony dealing in cocaine and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Reverses conviction of Class C felony possession of cocaine and a firearm and remands to the trial court with instructions to vacate it and the sentence.

Fred Mott v. Ed Buss, et al. (NFP)

Small claim. Affirms dismissal of Mott’s small-claims action.

State of Indiana v. Charles Boyle (NFP)
Post conviction. Reverses order granting Boyle’s petition to modify his conviction of operating a motor vehicle while a habitual traffic violator as a Class D felony to a Class A misdemeanor.

Courtney E. Terhune v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class B felony burglary and Class D felony theft.

Kevin D. Duncan v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony burglary.

Indiana Tax Court had posted no opinions at 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.