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Justices add criminal and child support cases to docket

October 6, 2014

Whether a person’s proximity to a crime scene together with circumstantial evidence is sufficient for conviction is the question for the Indiana Supreme Court in one of two cases justices will review.

The court granted transfer in Drakkar R. Willis v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1310-CR-854. Willis was convicted of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass after he was arrested near the Watkins Family Recreation Center in Indianapolis.

While there was no physical evidence connecting Willis to the scene of a break-in at the center, a divided Court of Appeals panel affirmed his conviction, applying Meehan v. State, 7 N.E.3d 255 (Ind. 2014). The majority of justices in that case held that DNA found on a glove at a crime scene was sufficient to affirm a conviction.

The Willis panel majority held that Meehan bound the court to affirm the conviction, but Judge Michael Barnes dissented. “I do not believe that case demands or commands that the basic and longstanding tenets of the definition of ‘proof beyond a reasonable doubt’ be altered,” Barnes dissented in Willis. “Others may disagree.”

The court will also hear a not-for-publication child-support case that led a dissenting Court of Appeals judge to write, “the trial court’s math does not add up.”

In In RE the Paternity of D.M.Y.: M.S.R. v. B.Y., 34A04-1310-JP-504, the COA majority affirmed a Howard Circuit Court order that the father’s child support arrearage was $13,055 as of July 29, 2013. The father argued his arrearage should be $6,337 because the state intercepted the difference from his checking account.

The majority found the appeal untimely but also ruled the amount would have been taken into account by the trial court. Judge Margret Robb would have remanded the matter for recalculation of the arrearage and credit for payment.

The court also denied transfer in 20 cases for the week ending Oct. 3. Supreme Court transfer dispositions may be viewed here.


 

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