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Monday, February 05, 2007

Ind. Decisions - Three Indiana cases today from 7th Circuit

In USA v. Horne, Dewan A. (SD Ind., Judge Hamilton), a 6-page opinion, Judge Posner begins:
The defendant advertised fictitious vintage cars on eBay. If a person interested in such cars saw the ad and communicated with the defendant and they struck a deal, the defendant would offer him the option of coming to Indianapolis to pick up the car and pay for it on the spot in cash or the equivalent. With the aid of a gun-toting accomplice the defendant would then try to rob the car buff of the cash and anything else of value; in the only completed robbery, the take included the navigation system in the victims’ truck. A jury convicted the defendant of violating, conspiring to violate, and attempting to violate the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a), which so far as bears on this case makes robbery that “in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce” a federal crime, and also of using a gun in connection with a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A). The judge imposed sentences of 112 months for the Hobbs Act violations and 84 months for the gun violation, for a total of 196 months.

The defendant argues that his crimes, since they all occurred in Indianapolis in face-to-face encounters with his victims and no car or cash or any other object was transported across state lines, did not affect interstate commerce. This ignores the fact that eBay, the online auction site, is an avenue of interstate commerce, like an interstate highway or long-distance telephone service. The people who buy and sell through eBay are scattered around the world—indeed most of the vehicle sales made through eBay are interstate or international.

Moran Foods Inc v. Mid-Atlantic Market (ND Ind., Judge Miller) is a 12-page opinion by Judge Posner, reversing and remanding the district court, with instructions. The opinion begins:
This is a complicated diversity suit with a federal-law counterclaim. We shall simplify ruthlessly. Moran Foods franchises grocery stores under the name “Save-A-Lot” and sells the stores many of the groceries they need. Mid-Atlantic (and an affiliate that we’ll ignore) was one of the franchisees. Mid-Atlantic’s stores faltered, and eventually defaulted, leaving it owing Moran a considerable amount of money for groceries bought but not paid for. Mid-Atlantic later declared bankruptcy. Roger Camp, the owner of Mid-Atlantic, and his wife, Susan Camp, had guaranteed the company’s debts to Moran. (The various contracts recite that they are governed by Missouri law.) When they refused to honor their guaranties, Moran brought this suit for breach of contract against the two Camps plus Mid-Atlantic. Mid- Atlantic and Susan Camp counterclaimed. Mid-Atlantic claimed that Moran had violated a provision of their contract that required Moran to furnish certain accounting services to Mid-Atlantic. Susan Camp claimed that Moran had violated the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which so far as relates to this case forbids “any creditor to discriminate against any applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit transaction . . . on the basis of . . . marital status.” 15 U.S.C. § 1691(a)(1).
Daniels, Michael v. Knight, Stanley (SD Ind., Judge Young) - prisoner appeal - "The district court’s denial of Daniels’ § 2254 petition is AFFIRMED."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 5, 2007 01:55 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions