« Ind. Gov't. - Both sides rest in Charlie White case | Main | Ind. Decisions - More on 7th Circuit rules on: Superfund used to justify $28,000 bill to fight fire at couple's home »

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides 2 additional Indiana cases today

In Brown v. Bowman (ND Ind., Springmann), an 18-page opinion, Judge Cudahy writes:

This case involves the scope of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine and whether the district court properly applied that doctrine to appellant’s 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims. In April 2007, appellant Bryan Brown applied for admission to the Indiana Bar. As part of his application process, the Indiana Board of Law Examiners (BLE) requested that Brown attend hearings to investigate his application and also required Brown to be evaluated by mental health professionals. The BLE ultimately denied Brown’s admission application and, after exhausting his appeals to the Indiana Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court, Brown brought suit in the district court. His complaint, lodged against various state actors involved in his application process, alleged that the evaluation of his application focused on his religious beliefs (ostensibly Roman Catholic) and violated his constitutional rights. The district court dismissed his complaint without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rooker-Feldman. The district court also found that the defendants were immune from civil suit. On appeal, Brown raises two issues: (1) whether the district court erred in dismissing his federal suit under Rooker-Feldman; and (2) whether the district court erred in finding that defendants were entitled to immunity. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the district court’s finding that Rooker-Feldman applies and decline to assess whether the district court was correct in ruling in the alternative that the defendants were immune from suit.

In US v. Zahursky (ND Ind., Lozano), a 6-page opinion, Judge Wood writes:

This is Erik Zahursky’s second appeal to this court. In 2007, a jury convicted Zahursky of attempting to coerce or entice a minor to engage in sexual activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b)—an offense for which Zahursky received a 262-month prison term. Zahursky appealed, challenging both his conviction and a sentencing enhancement based on § 2G1.3(b)(2)(B) of the sentencing guidelines. We affirmed the conviction, but we vacated Zahursky’s sentence and remanded, ruling that § 2G1.3(b)(2)(B) was inapplicable. On remand, the district court, relying in part on § 2G1.3(d) of the guidelines, sentenced Zahursky to 210 months in prison. Zahursky appeals again, arguing that our earlier ruling precludes not only the section (b) enhancement, but also the section (d) enhancement. Although § 2G1.3(d) may not apply, we find that Zahursky has forfeited this argument and therefore affirm his sentence.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 2, 2012 11:59 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions