Opinions Dec. 17, 2014

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Indiana Supreme Court
Shawn Blount v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of being a serious violent felon in possession of a firearm. A detective’s testimony that a witness identified Blount as the suspect was inadmissible hearsay, but it was a harmless error. There was no variance between the charging information and the evidence presented at trial.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Joseph Dixson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery. Because the case does not involve deadly force, the trial court erred in instructing the jury that Dixson had to show that he had a reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm in order to prevail on his self-defense claim. But the error is harmless.

Gary Elvers v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Concludes that the Synthetic Drug Law is not unconstitutionally technical; the state properly enhanced Elvers’ charges based on the weight of the synthetic drugs in their adulterated form; the information sufficiently apprised Elvers of the crimes with which he was charged; the search warrant is not defective; and there is sufficient evidence to support a conviction for dealing in a synthetic drug. We further conclude that the state improperly charged Elvers with two counts of dealing in the synthetic drug JWH-122and remand with instructions for the trial court to vacate the conviction on Count V.

Tyrone Winkleman v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, Class A felony kidnapping and Class B felony criminal confinement. The jury instruction does not constitute fundamental error, Winkleman failed to establish that he did not know he was waiving his Boykin rights before he pleaded guilty to the habitual offender allegation, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in indentifying the aggravators.

Robert Holland v. Lake County Treasurer John Patelas
Miscellaneous. Dismisses without prejudice Holland’s appeal of the order granting the issuance of a tax deed to Lori Born and remands for further proceedings. Holland properly appealed the issuance of the tax deed by timely filing his Trial Rule 60(B) motion to set aside, but because he did not obtain a ruling on his motion, his appeal is improperly before the COA.

Dennis Boyer and Richard Smith v. Ernest Smith, Suzanne Cassidy, and In-Plas, Inc.
Civil tort. Affirms in part and reverses in part. The trial court properly granted summary judgment for Ernest Smith and Cassidy on Boyer and Richard Smith’s claim of a frivolous lawsuit. However, their claims of malicious prosecution, abuse of process, fraud, constructive fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress were not and could not have been determined in the previous federal lawsuit brought by Ernest Smith. Rejects Cassidy’s request for attorney fees. Remands for further proceedings.

Carrie Douglas v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms dismissal of Douglas’ petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Utah Dockery, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class A felony dealing in cocaine.

James David Finney v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of felony murder and two counts of Class C felony carrying a handgun without a license as well as the 73-year sentence.

Michael Whittaker v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation.

Robert Warner v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Steven R. Santana v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

James Roof v. David Asher (NFP)
Civil tort. Affirms jury verdict awarding $240,000 to Asher.

Deborah Birge v. State of Indiana (NFP)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order Birge serve one year of her previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction.

In the Matter of: J.M., A Child in Need of Services, T.M. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, and Child Advocates, Inc. (NFP)
Juvenile. Affirms finding J.M is a child in need of services.

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