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Opinions July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Antonio L. Vaughn v. State of Indiana
84A01-1302-CR-57
Criminal. Affirmed Vaughn’s conviction and 40-year aggregate sentence for two counts of dealing in cocaine, each as a Class A felony, and one count of maintaining a common nuisance, a Class D felony. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the controlled buys, statements of the confidential information and the cocaine. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury. Rules the evidence was sufficient to support Vaughn’s convictions. Holds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Vaughn but it made a clerical error on the sentencing order. Remanded to the trial court to correct error to reflect that Vaughn was sentenced for maintaining a common nuisance conviction to three years, not three-and-a-half years.

In re: The Grandparent Visitation of C.S.N.: Brooke Neuhoff v. Scott A. Ubelhor and Angela S. Ubelhor
19A05-1311-MI-542
Miscellaneous. Reverses and vacates trial court’s award of grandparent visitation for paternal grandparents Scott and Angela Ubelhor. The trial court erred in findings that awarded visitation because it failed to consider the totality of circumstances in determining that mother’s reasons for restricting visitation were unreasonable. Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik dissented and would affirm the trial court, which wrote that the trial court found visitation would be in the child’s best interests and there was no reason to believe visitation would resume without a court order.
 
Juan Manzano v. State of Indiana
48A02-1310-PC-905
Post conviction. Affirms post-conviction court’s denial of relief from a 50-year sentence for his conviction of Class A felony rape, concluding that Manzano did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.

Rebecca Stafford, Individually and as Surviving Parent of Drayden Powell, Deceased, and Drayden Powell, Deceased v. James E. Szymanowki, M.D. and Gyn, Ltd., Inc., and Joseph B. Clemente, M.D.
89A01-1401-CT-48
Civil tort. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants on a medical malpractice claim. The panel held that the trial court properly concluded that another doctor’s testimony did not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the liability of Dr.  Szymanowski; (2) GYN cannot be held vicariously liable for the perceived acts of medical malpractice committed by Dr. Smith when Dr. Smith’s conduct was never reviewed by the medical review panel; and (3) the trial court properly concluded that no recovery exists for the 2007 death of a child not born alive under the Child Wrongful Death Statute, as amended.

Jacqueline Myers v. Mark Myers
49A02-1310-DR-895
Domestic relation. Affirms in part and reverses in part a grant of Mark Myer’s motion to prevent Jacqueline Myer’s relocation to Texas with her daughter, H.M. Father’s petition was properly before the court. The trial court did not err in finding mother had not met her burden of proof in seeking to relocate. However, the court erred in ordering that father would receive automatic physical custody of H.M. if mother moved to Texas.

In the Matter of J.W., A Child in Need of Services J.W. (Minor Child), and M.K. (Mother), & D.W. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
49A04-1312-JC-593
Juvenile. Affirms in part and reverses in part, holding that a child in need of services finding was not error, nor was the trial court’s order that father complete a domestic violence assessment. But because there is no evidence father had a substance abuse problem, the court erred when it ordered him to submit to random drug testing.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of W.H., Minor Child, and His Mother, J.F., J.F. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)
79A02-1312-JT-1034
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Paul A. Croucher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
89A01-1401-CR-23
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part 40-year aggregate sentence and convictions of Class A felony and Class C felony child molesting. The trial court did not abuse discretion in admitting certain evidence and there was no prosecutorial misconduct. Remands for the trial court to amend its sentencing order because the court abused its discretion in classifying Croucher as a credit-restricted felon.

Alan R. Kohlhaas, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated v. Hidden Valley Lake Property Owners Association, Inc., and Robert A. Will, William Acra, Carl Adkins, et al. (NFP)
15A01-1308-PL-357
Civil plenary. Affirms grant of summary judgment in favor of Hidden Valley Lake Property Owners Association and other defendants.

Christopher Anderson v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A04-1307-PC-340
Post conviction. Affirms denial of post-conviction relief for conviction of murder, intimidation and possession of a handgun without a license.

James E. Manley v. Monroe County Prosecutor (NFP)
53A01-1402-MI-65
Miscellaneous. Affirms trial court denial of Manley’s pro se “complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief/challenge to the constitutionality of Indiana statute” challenging his conviction of multiple counts of child molesting.

Brandon Hicks v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A02-1308-CR-739
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 40-year sentence and conviction of Class B felony manslaughter and Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

Cynthia Marx v. State of Indiana (NFP)
48A04-1311-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and remands for correction of the sentencing order and abstract of judgment.

Brian Baxter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1306-CR-285
Criminal. Affirms denial of Baxter’s motion to compel certain public agencies to produce public records relating to his convictions of three counts of murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, resisting law enforcement and carrying a handgun without a license.

James Washington v. State of Indiana (NFP)
10A05-1312-CR-626
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder, reverses in part and remands. There was sufficient evidence to rebut Washington’s claim of self defense, his sentence was appropriate, but on the state’s cross-appeal, the panel determined the trial court erred by finding conviction of Class B felony robbery was a lesser included offense. Remands with instruction that Washington be resentenced with the additional robbery conviction.

Jerrimica T. Madding v. State of Indiana (NFP)
18A04-1312-CR-608
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court issued no opinions prior to IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions prior to IL deadline.




 

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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