Opinions July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014
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Indiana Court of Appeals
Antonio L. Vaughn v. State of Indiana
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
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
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.
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
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)
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)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.

Paul A. Croucher v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and remands for correction of the sentencing order and abstract of judgment.

Brian Baxter v. State of Indiana (NFP)
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)
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)
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. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.