Opinions Sept. 9, 2015

September 9, 2015

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
The following opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
United States of America v. Eugene Clarke
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
Judge Rudy Lozano
Criminal. Affirms conviction for seven counts of filing a false claim with the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. 287. Rules the government did not have to prove Clarke willfully submitted false claims. Finds Clarke’s “patently false and utterly groundless” tax returns provided sufficient evidence that he knew he was filing claims with false information. Concludes the District Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give Clarke’s good faith instruction to the jury.

Common Cause Indiana v. Individual Members of the Indiana Election Commission, et al.
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
Civil. Affirms District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of Common Cause. Holds that Indiana’s statute for electing judges in Marion County and ensuring an even split of Democratic and Republican judges violates the First and 14th amendments of the Constitution, burdening the right to a meaningful vote without a sufficiently weighty state interest to justify such a burden.

Indiana Tax Court
Carol Cooper v. Allen County Assessor
Gregory and Carmen Cooper v. Allen County Assessor
Tax. Affirms 2012 land assessments upheld by the Indiana Board of Tax Review on two parcels of residential property in the Shadow Creek subdivision in Huntertown. Given the evidentiary presentations, the court cannot say the board’s final determination was against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances that were before it.

Indiana Court of Appeals
John Lind v. Nancy Lind (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Reverses trial court’s Nov. 6, 2014, order modifying the decree of dissolution. Finds the November order added two new obligations – the husband either refinance or assume the mortgage and have his ex-wife’s name removed from the debt – that were impressible.

Bryan Paul Whitlatch v. Priscilla Marie Wolfe (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms modification of child support.

Melvin C. Hamilton v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses convictions of three counts of Class A felony child molesting and remands for retrial. The trial court committed reversible error in admitting the testimony of a forensic interviewer regarding whether two children who accused Hamilton had been coached.

Kasey Hutchings v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation. Reverses calculation of Hutchins’ credit time and remands for a hearing to determine the time remaining on his sentence.

Robert E. Ellett v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms sentencing order that imposes fees, costs and a fine totaling $338.

Kolby O'Banion, Taylor O'Banion, Tim O'Banion, and Kelly O'Banion, et al. v. Ford Motor Company
Civil plenary. Reverses summary judgment in favor of Ford Motor Co. Finds the expert testimony of mechanical engineer David Zedonis is admissible, noting he examined the evidence in great detail and reached his conclusion after application of his engineering principles. The credibility of Zedonis’ opinion can be determined at trial. Admits the testimony of Zedonis and Berg, the other expert. Concludes since Ford’s motion for summary judgment was based on the assumption that the experts’ testimony would be inadmissible, the grant of the motion in the automaker’s favor is negated.  

Xiomara Kyle v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated with endangerment. Remands with instructions to clarify that the judgment for the conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration about 0.15 percent was either vacated or never entered.