Opinions July 27, 2021

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday.
In Re: Algozine Masonry Restoration, Inc., Algozine Masonry Restoration, Inc., v. Local 52 Chicago Area Joint Welfare Committee for the Pointing, Cleaning and Caulking Industry, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana’s ruling against Algozine Masonry Restoration Inc., holding that Section 507(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code does not require assessing distinct benefit plans collectively. Finds that each of the individual priority claims brought by three employee benefit funds on behalf of employees who performed work covered by a collective bargaining agreement with Algozine were well within Section 507(a)(5)(B)’s limitation.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Terrance Leroy Smoots, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Terrance Smoots Jr.’s convictions of Level 5 felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury, Level 4 felony criminal confinement resulting in moderate bodily injury, Level 6 felony obstruction of justice, Level 6 felony attempted obstruction of justice and a finding that he is a habitual offender, and his 24-year aggregate sentence. Finds the state proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Smoots’ conduct was designed to prevent Robert Simmons from testifying against him, so Smoots forfeited his right to confront Simmons at trial in light of that wrongdoing and his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was not violated by the admission of Simmons’ statements at trial. Also finds the Madison Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Smoots. Finally, finds Smoots’ sentence is not inappropriate.

Robert Brown, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses and remands Robert Brown’s Jr.’s original 30-year sentence to 21 years, with 18 years executed and three suspended to probation, for his conviction of Level 4 felony child exploitation. Finds Brown’s sentence is inappropriate. Judge Melissa May dissents without separate opinion.

In the Matter of: L.S. and T.S. (Minor Children) and D.S. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of father D.S.’s children as children in need of services. Finds the Department of Child Services provided ample evidence that the children are in need of the court’s coercive intervention.

Carlos Prieto v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of Carlos Prieto’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Prieto failed to establish that the evidence leads unerringly and unmistakably to a conclusion opposite that reached by the post-conviction court.

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