Opinions March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015

Indiana Supreme Court
Drakkar R. Willis v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass, finding the evidence insufficient to sustain the conviction.

Lora Hoagland, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated v. Franklin Township Community School Corp.
Civil plenary. Affirms trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Franklin Township School Corporation, finding no constitutional requirement for school corporations to provide transportation to and from school. Justice Robert Rucker concurs in result only without separate opinion.

Detona Sargent v. State of Ind., and the Consolidated City of Indianapolis/Marion Co., and the Indianapolis Metro Police Dept
Miscellaneous/civil forfeiture. Majority reverses summary judgment in favor of the state entitling authorities to seize Sargent’s 1996 Buick Century after she was arrested in a Walmart store attempting to steal four iPhones. Sargent did not have constructive possession of the vehicle and, therefore, I.C. 34-24-1-1(a) was inapplicable. Justices Steven David and Mark Massa dissented and would affirm the seizure, though Massa noted this case appeared to represent an overreach in applying the asset forfeiture statute.

In the Matter of: Christopher A. Hollander
Attorney discipline. Suspends Hollander for one year without automatic reinstatement for offering to trade legal service for sex with a prostitute. Hollander violated nine rules of professional conduct, according to the court.

Charles Moore v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 65-year sentence for felony murder and conviction and life without parole sentence for murder. Finds the incredible dubiosity rule is not applicable because more than one witness testified, the testimony was not improbable, contradictory or coerced, and circumstantial evidence implicated Moore.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Kolyann Williams v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Grants petition for rehearing and affirms conviction for Class A misdemeanor marijuana possession. Finds that in light of the decision from the Supreme Court of the United States in Heien v. N. Carolina, 135 S. Ct. 530 (2014), a reasonable mistake of law can give rise to reasonable suspicion under the Fourth Amendment. In December 2014, the COA tossed Williams’ conviction because under the plain language of the state statute, his broken tail lamp was not a violation. However, with the SCOTUS ruling, the Kokomo officer’s wrong interpretation of Indiana law was still reasonable and therefore justified the traffic stop.

Mark A. Hensley v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction for invasion of privacy, a Class D felony.

Lisa Jacksen v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a Class C misdemeanor.

Kenneth W. Gibbs v. State of Indiana, et al. (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms denial of petition for write of habeas corpus.