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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 3 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

Brian J. Kelley v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC, et al. is a 25-page opinion by Judge Darden. Med-1 is a collection agency which contracted to collect delinquent debts on behalf of medical providers. From the opinion:

The Debtors assert that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Med-1. Specifically, they argue that 1) Med-1's filing of small claims notices “in its own name on accounts that it did not own” and “demand[ing] and collect[ing]” attorney fees from the Debtors violated the FDCPA; 2) their claims are not barred by res judicata or collateral estoppel; and 3) Med-1 committed fraud in suing on accounts that it did not own. * * *

In conclusion, we find that the trial court properly granted Med-1's motion for summary judgment and denied the Debtors' motion for partial summary judgment; and we decline to award Med-1 appellate attorney fees.

In Bryan Johnson v. State of Indiana , a 13-page opinion, Judge Riley writes:
Johnson raises two issues on appeal, which we restate as follows:

(1) Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to suppress evidence gained from a search conducted with an invalid search warrant; and
(2) Whether the trial court abused its discretion in determining that the evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant was admissible under the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule.

On May 1, 2009, Johnson took his computer to Computer Bay in Schererville, Indiana, to have it fixed because it was running slowly. Matthew Rusch (Rusch), an employee of Computer Bay, worked on the computer and discovered a folder titled “Had sex with a 12 year old_file.” Rusch did not know what to do, so he left the folder unopened and told his co-workers about it. Based on their recommendations, he reported the folder to the Schererville Police Department. * * *

Johnson's primary contention on appeal is that the trial court should have suppressed the evidence of the images that the police department found on his computer because Detective Rosado did not properly file the affidavit that was the basis for the police department's search warrant. When Detective Rosado submitted his affidavit and search warrant to the Schererville Town Court on May 19, 2009 to be signed, he did not see Judge Anderson. Instead, Detective Rosado submitted the forms to one of Judge Anderson's office employees and received them back shortly thereafter. Detective Rosado was not familiar with the policies of the Schererville Town Court and assumed that the court employee had taken care of everything necessary to properly file a search warrant. However, when Detective Rosado received the forms back, neither form had a file mark, and the Schererville Court later could not find either form in its records. * * *

Based on these facts, we cannot find any evidence that Detective Rosado filed the affidavit, so we conclude that it was not properly filed.

III. Good Faith Exception. Nevertheless, the State argues that even if the affidavit was not properly filed under I.C. § 35-33-5-2(a), the evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant is still admissible under the “good faith exception” to the exclusionary rule. * * *

[W]e conclude that Detective Rosado relied on the search warrant here in good faith. As required by Indiana Code section 35-37-4-5, he reasonably believed the warrant to be valid. First, as we concluded above, the warrant had sufficient probable cause. Second, there is evidence that he reasonably believed that he had properly filed the affidavit and warrant with Judge Anderson. He testified at trial that he took both forms to Judge Anderson‟s employees with the purpose of filing them, and he assumed that the employees had taken the steps necessary to follow the proper procedures. There was no reason for him to believe that they had not done so. In light of these facts, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that the evidence on Johnson‟s computer was admissible under the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule, or in denying Johnson‟s motion to suppress.

NFP civil opinions today (0):

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Ronnie Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

George Lowman v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Debora A. Phillips v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 2, 2011 11:53 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions