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Monday, February 02, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 0 NFP) [1 opinion(s) and 0 memorandum decision(s)] - including canned hunting ruling

For publication opinions today (1):

In Ind. Dept. of Natural Resources, and Cameron F. Clark as Dir. of the Ind. Dept. of Natural Resources v. Whitetail Bluff, Llc., Rodney Bruce et al, a 27-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Friedlander writes:

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) appeals a grant of summary judgment in favor of Whitetail Bluff, LLC, Rodney Bruce, Backwoods Preserve, Inc., Midwest Woodlots, LLC, and Sean Taylor d/b/a T.C. Outdoors (Whitetail Bluff). The issue ultimately presented in this case is whether current Indiana statutory law prohibits “high fence” hunting of wild animals – in this case, deer. We affirm. * * *

May, J., concurs
Vaidik, C.J., dissents with opinion. [that begins, at p. 22] This case involves high-fence hunting of white-tailed deer. This is also known as canned hunting—the shooting within high-fence enclosures of farm-raised deer that are bred for unnaturally massive antlers. The dangers of canned hunting include infection—specifically, chronic wasting disease (CWD)—and unethical hunting practices, such as the concept of fair chase. See Ryan Sabalow, Trophy Deer Industry Linked to Disease, Costs Taxpayers Millions, Indianapolis Star, Mar. 27, 2014, http://indy.st/1mxxhiY (discussing both CWD and shooting—for a $15,000 fee inside a one-acre pen—a deer so ill that a ranch hand had to poke the deer with a sharp stick to get it to stand). * * *

Because IDNR may protect and properly manage the fish and wildlife resources of Indiana—regardless of who owns them—I believe that IDNR has the authority to regulate high-fence hunting under our current statutory scheme. Therefore, I would enter summary judgment in favor of IDNR.

[The ILB will have more on this opinion later. See this ILB post for background.]

NFP civil decisions today (0):

NFP criminal decisions today (1):

In Constantine D. Mills, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.), a 9-page decision, Chief Judge Vaidik writes:

Constantine D. Mills, Jr. pled guilty to Class A felony child molesting and Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor and was sentenced to fifty years in the Department of Correction. On appeal, Mills argues that the trial court abused its discretion in its treatment of aggravating and mitigating factors and his sentence is inappropriate. We do not reach these claims, however, because we conclude that Mills waived the right to appeal his sentence. We therefore dismiss this appeal. * * *

Mills waived the right to appeal his sentence. The language of the plea agreement itself is not ambiguous. Paragraph thirteen of the agreement explicitly states that Mills waived his right to challenge his sentence “under any standard of review, including but not limited to, an abuse of discretion standard and the appropriateness of the sentence under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) . . . .” * * *

The court did err, however, when it advised Mills at his sentencing hearing that he could appeal his sentence. But the court made this erroneous statement at the end of the sentencing hearing—well after it had accepted the plea agreement and entered Mills’ fifty-year sentence. By this time, Mills had already agreed to waive the right to appeal his sentence and had received the benefit of his bargain.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 2, 2015 10:52 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions