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Opinions July 21, 2015

July 21, 2015

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinions were posted Monday after IL deadline:
United States of America v Keon Thomas and Styles Taylor
13-2814 and 13-3469
Appeals from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge James T. Moody
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part, the murder convictions and life sentences imposed on Keon Thomas and Styles Taylor for the 2000 slaying of nearly deaf 73-year-old Hammond gun store owner, Frank Freund. Remands for resentencing because the District judge failed to explain his reasons for rejecting the mitigating factors defendants raised about their abusive upbringings.

Kent Higgins, et al. v Koch Development Corporation
14-2207
Appeal from the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division
Chief Judge Richard L. Young
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Koch Development Corp. Finds Higgins failed to link his respiratory problem with his exposure to chlorine gas. Rules his expert witness was not qualified to offer causation testimony because she did not show a methodology for her diagnosis of Higgins.

June 21, 2015
Indiana Supreme Court

In the Matter of: Steven J. Ouellette
02S00-1502-DI-107
Attorney discipline. Disbars Steven J. Ouellette for converting $8,725 in client funds and failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. Ouellette, who currently was suspended indefinitely in a separate disciplinary matter, violated Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(a), 8.1(b), 8.4(b) and 8.4(c). Respectively, those rules violations are for failing to hold client property in trust; failing to respond to disciplinary authorities; committing a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness; and conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
The First Bank of Whiting, as Trustee of Trust dated 12/30/86 a/k/a Trust No. 1865 v. 524, LLC
45A04-1410-MI-476
Miscellaneous/tax deeds. Affirms trial court order directing the auditor of Lake County to issue to 524 LLC tax deeds for two properties purchased at a tax sale. The tax sale notices substantially complied with requirements of Indiana Code sections 6-1.1-24-4, 6-1.1-25-4.5, and 6-1.1-25-4.6. The trial court's order was timely. The panel finds that petitioners are legally entitled to a tax deed after completing all the requisite steps under I.C. § 6-1.1-25-4.6(b), and that a trial court has 61 days after resolving a challenge to a petitioner’s request for tax deed in favor of the petitioner to enter an order directing the county auditor to issue the deed.

In the Matter of: A.B. and C.S. (Minor Children), Children Alleged to be in Need of Services, S.W. (Mother) and M.S. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, et al (mem. dec.)
53A01-1408-JC-365
Juvenile CHINS. Reverses trial court’s CHINS adjudication. Rules the evidence presented at the fact-finding hearings does not support the conclusion that Mother is unable to care for her children or that court intervention was needed.

Danney R. Lowery v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
06A01-1410-CR-459
Criminal. Affirms the calculation of Lowery’s credit time in connection with the revocation of his placement in community corrections. Finds Lowery is not entitled to good-time credit for the home detention he served after Jan. 18, 2013.

Westville Lounge, Ltd., d/b/a Crossroads, and Michael Ganz d/b/a Crossroads Lounge v. Walter Wesley (mem. dec.)
46A05-1412-CT-606
Civil tort. Affirms denial of Ganz’s motion for relief from judgment under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B).

Clayton Labarr v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1411-CR-523
Criminal. Affirms conviction of public intoxication, a Class B misdemeanor.

Austin Barnard v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
34A02-1412-CR-896
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Barnard’s probation and order that the 650 days remaining on Barnard’s sentence be executed.  

Robert S. Kaufman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
82A01-1411-CR-516
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex. Remands to trial court to vacate Kaufman’s conviction and sentence for dealing in methamphetamine as a Class A felony and to enter judgment of conviction on one count of possession of two or more chemical reagents or precursors with intent to manufacture methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex as a Class C felony and to sentence accordingly.  

Shawn Wayne Kinningham v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
82A01-1411-CR-503
Criminal. Reverses convictions of three counts of attempted theft, as Class D felonies. Finds trial court abused its discretion when, over Kinningham’s continuing objection, it allowed employees from the four auto dealerships to testify and admitted into evidence the checks drawn on Kinningham’s bank account as well as the documents detailing Kinningham’s and his partner’s sales negotiations with the dealerships. Remands for proceedings consistent with this opinion.  

Cory Alan Neal v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
85A02-1412-CR-839
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence for Class A felony child molesting.


 

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