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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 4 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In Great Lakes Transfer, LLC, et al. v. Porter County Highway Dept., et al. , a 15-page opinion, the COA affirms the trial court decision, with Judge Najam concluding:

In sum, the Highway Department’s review of Great Lakes Transfer’s application for a driveway permit was a discretionary administrative act and not a decision subject to judicial review. The issue before the Highway Department required the county engineer to exercise his discretion in determining Great Lakes Transfer’s compliance with local regulations. See Peavler v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Monroe County, 528 N.E.2d 40, 45-46 (Ind. 1988). And because the decision on the application was within the county engineer’s discretion, the Highway Department was under no clear legal duty to grant Great Lakes Transfer’s application. Indeed, it would be a curious rule that required a highway department to grant a permit without regard to public safety and traffic safety standards, vehicle loads, or the adequacy of infrastructure to meet the proposed use. As such, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Great Lakes Transfer’s petition for review, and we affirm the trial court’s judgment in favor of Porter County.
See also this Oct. 4, 2010 ILB entry on the trial court decision, headed "Porter County wins battle in transfer station war."

In Shon L. Edmond v. State of Indiana , a 12-page opinion, Judge Crone concludes:

While the evidence against Edmond may not have been as strong as that in many other cases involving drugs, the evidence was nevertheless sufficient to establish probable cause for arrest; therefore, we conclude that the degree of suspicion weighs in the State's favor. Although the search of a person's body is a substantial intrusion, a police officer is authorized to conduct a thorough search of an arrestee. Officer Drennan conducted only a pat-down search of Edmond's clothing; thus, the degree of intrusion was minimal under the circumstances. See Powell v. State, 898 N.E.2d 328, 336 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008) (where, during pat-down search of arrestee, officer felt an object in arrestee's underwear but could not figure out how to access the object, it was not unreasonable for officer to cut open the arrestee's underwear), trans. denied. A search incident to arrest serves important purposes, such as ensuring that the arrestee is unarmed, preventing the arrestee from bringing contraband into jail, and preventing the destruction of evidence. Andrews v. State, 588 N.E.2d 1298, 1303 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992). Therefore, we conclude that law enforcement needs also weigh in the State's favor. As all three factors support the officer's action in this case, we conclude that Edmond's rights under Article 1, Section 13 were not violated.

Because Edmond's rights under the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 13 were not violated, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the marijuana found in his pocket into evidence. Therefore, we affirm his conviction.

In James R. Hundley v. State of Indiana , a 16-page opinion, Judge Najam's opinion begins:
James R. Hundley appeals his conviction and sentence for dealing in methamphetamine, as a Class A felony, following a jury trial. Hundley presents two issues for review: 1. Whether the evidence is sufficient to support his conviction. 2. Whether his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character. We affirm. * * *

Hundley next contends that the evidence is insufficient to show that he was dealing in methamphetamine, as a Class A felony. Specifically, Hundley contends that the State did not prove that the weight of the methamphetamine found at the campsite was in excess of three grams and, therefore, the State did not prove the Class A felony. Hundley points out that his conviction was based on the weight of the pill dough sample that was tested and that the pill dough contained material in addition to methamphetamine. Hundley then argues that the court should have considered only the weight of pure methamphetamine in determining the level of his offense. We cannot agree. * * *

The question presented in this case is whether the weight of an intermediate substance that is created in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine should be considered as a whole in determining the weight element of the offense. We hold that where, as here, the intermediate step is so near the end of the manufacturing process that the final product is present in the chemical compound, that substance qualifies as an “adulterated drug” for purposes of our manufacturing statutes.

NFP civil opinions today (0):

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

Kraig Eric Burgan v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Karl Neil Robinson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Sheldon C. McAuley v. State of Indiana (NFP)

James M. Mrozinski v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 14, 2011 10:47 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions