The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers late last week, including one in which the court will re-examine a 2007 decision involving child support and incarcerated parents.
In Todd Allen Clark v. Michelle D. Clark, No. 35A05-0801-CV-26, the Supreme Court will decide whether its decision in Lambert v. Lambert, 861 N.E.2d 1176 (Ind. 2007), also applies to a request for a modification because of incarceration. The Court of Appeals used the Lambert decision – which held incarceration doesn't relieve a parent of child support obligations but makes calculation of support based on actual income or assets the parent has – to determine whether Todd Clark's verified petition for abatement and/or modification of child support order should be granted.
Court of Appeals Judge Margret Robb dissented, writing that it was up to the Supreme Court to expand the parameters of Lambert to include petitions for abatement or modification.
In Steven McCullough v. State, No. 49A02-0711-CR-931, the Court of Appeals ruled on an issue of first impression: whether the state can file a cross-appeal of a sentence. The appellate court held the state can't cross-appeal a sentence for abuse of discretion or inappropriateness unless the defendant appeals his or her sentence in the appellant's brief.
In Jeffrey A. Graham v. State, No. 03A04-0712-CR-688, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Graham's convictions of criminal recklessness, resisting law enforcement, and criminal mischief, but reversed the trial court's restitution order because the court didn't inquire into his ability to pay. The state presented no evidence at the sentencing hearing regarding his education, employment, income, or living expense. The matter was remanded with instructions to determine Graham's ability to pay and to fix a manner of payment.