Indiana Court of Appeals

Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Arguments rejected in juvenile molestation appeal

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An 11-year-old boy adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be Class B and Class C felony child molesting if committed by an adult failed to persuade a Court of Appeals panel Friday that statutes as applied to him are unconstitutionally vague and the evidence didn’t support a true finding.
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Man will receive surplus on sheriff’s sale credit bid

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals awarded a Grant County man nearly $375 after finding a surplus was owed to him when his property sold at a sheriff’s sale for more than what was calculated by the trial court based on an agreed judgment between the man and the bank.
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Judges rule in favor of daughter in payment dispute with nursing facility

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who signed a move-in agreement at a skilled nursing facility as a “responsible party/agent” for her mother was able to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals she should not be liable for money owed by her mother for care while at the facility.
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Divided court reverses teen’s intimidation adjudication

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Split over whether a teen’s threats toward his grandfather were intended to place the man in fear of retaliation for a prior lawful act, two Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a teen’s delinquency adjudication for committing intimidation.
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COA split over whether damages are punitive

January 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals released a divided opinion Wednesday on the issue of whether damages awarded under the Indiana Sales Representative Act are punitive in nature. The majority affirmed the trial court’s ruling that damages awarded under the Act would be subject to the evidentiary standard, limitation and diversion provisions of Indiana’s punitive damages statute.
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COA finds attorney was not ineffective

January 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel with respect to either the manner in which voir dire was conducted or in the failure to object to the supplemental jury instruction defining “intentionally.”
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Trial court erred in disregarding psychiatrists’ unanimous finding

January 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who brutally attacked her boyfriend’s minor child had her conviction overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the trial court did not have enough evidence to contradict the psychiatrists’ reports and find her guilty but mentally ill.
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Nicknames properly admitted in sex with minor convictions

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Nicknames and aliases a defendant used were relevant to the charges he faced, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming felony convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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Raccoon hunter cleared of conviction for fetching wayward dog

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A raccoon hunter’s misdemeanor conviction was reversed Tuesday when appellate judges determined he wasn’t hunting or chasing wildlife when he retrieved his wandering dog from property where he didn’t have permission to hunt.
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In pollution suit rehearing, COA rejects fresh arguments

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on rehearing a decision that the Allen County Public Library could pursue damages against contractors resulting from a diesel spill during a building project. A panel rejected arguments from defendants that it said violated a “cardinal rule” because they were raised for the first time on rehearing.
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Marion County courts closed Tuesday; state courts delayed

January 27, 2014
IL Staff
Marion County Circuit and Superior Courts in the Indianapolis City-County Building will be closed Tuesday in anticipation of dangerously cold weather. State court operations in Indianapolis, meanwhile, will delay opening until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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Defendant entitled to cash bail refund under former statute

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to a refund of a $250 cash bond. The COA reversed a Monroe Circuit order denying a motion for release of cash bond dating to 2003.
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Appeals court affirms multiple sex-crimes, 100-year sentence

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Multiple convictions were upheld Monday against a man who had threatened, confined and sexually assaulted three Indianapolis women he picked up after offering them money for sex.
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COA vacates sex-abuse confinement conviction as double jeopardy

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday vacated a conviction of Class C felony criminal confinement for a man also convicted of Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, finding the lesser conviction resulted in double jeopardy.
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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Divided panel: OWI-causing-death retrial not double jeopardy

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel upheld a man’s conviction and 14-year sentence for driving while intoxicated causing death, but a dissenting judge said the unusual case history that led to the outcome constituted double jeopardy.
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Split opinion: Disclosure of insurance policy limit is reversible error

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Ruling on an issue of first impression, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a jury’s award of $250,000 to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. The majority remanded for a new trial, holding that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.
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Appeals panel upholds $3.9M verdict for bicyclist hit by school bus

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A student riding his bicycle to school on Washington Street in Indianapolis was hit by a school bus and critically injured, and a jury’s $3.9 million judgment in his favor was proper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges reverse possession of meth, paraphernalia convictions

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a consolidated appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Huntington County man’s convictions and sentences for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, ruling the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence purportedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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COA: Teen who shot cows did not mutilate or torture them

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday reversed a teenager’s adjudications for cruelty to an animal after finding the evidence was not sufficient to prove he mutilated or tortured either cow he shot.
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COA: Insurers have no duty to defend in environmental case

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by an Indiana court relying on Maryland law that granted summary judgment and defense costs to a business whose product led to perchlorate contamination in California and Indiana.
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Court upholds suppression of mentally ill man’s confession

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

Citing an inadequate Miranda warning and the mental illness a murder suspect has, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of the defendant’s motion to suppress confessions that he murdered two women. 

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Improper conduct by trial court does not require reversal of contempt order

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday found a trial judge committed some improper conduct during a hearing on a protective order, with one judge noting the court was “precariously close to crossing the line” when intervening in the proceedings. Despite this, the appellate court affirmed the order of contempt in favor of the petitioner.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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