Opinions March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015

Indiana Supreme Court
Dustin E. McCowan v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms murder conviction, finding that a proposed jury instruction rejected by the judge regarding presumption of innocence had been sufficiently covered by other jury instructions and proceedings. States that prospectively, it is the absolute right of every criminal defendant to receive the following jury instruction, if requested: “The presumption of innocence continues in favor of the defendant throughout the trial. You should fit the evidence to the presumption that the defendant is innocent if you can reasonably do so.”
Indiana Court of Appeals
Norris Avenue Professional Building Partnership v. Coordinated Health, LLC
Civil plenary. Reverses judgment for tenant Coordinated Health LLC in a lease dispute filed by its former landlord and remands for entry of judgment in favor of Norris and further proceedings as appropriate. Although Coordinated Health did not satisfy the condition precedent of providing the contractual notice to exercise the option terms to extend its lease, it manifested its intent by paying the option terms’ rent payments, which were higher than the initial term’s rent payments. And Norris waived the condition precedent when it accepted those payments in lieu of the notices.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of J.W., Jr., A.W., and D.D., Minor Children, T.D., Mother, and J.W., Sr., Father v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights, holding that the statutory period under I.C. 31-35-2-4(b)(2)(A)(iii) requiring that a child has been removed from the home for at least 15 of the prior 22 months does not condition the waiting period on whether the Department of Child Services provided or made available services for the parents.

Chelsea Taylor v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses conviction for Class A felony neglect of a dependent, finding the evidence insufficient.

April Goodwin, Tiffany Randolph, and Javon Washington v. Yeakle's Sports Bar and Grill, Inc.
Civil tort. Reverses grant of summary judgment and remands for further proceedings. Finds the bar owed its patrons a duty to protect them from foreseeable criminal acts.  

The Peoples State Bank v. Benton Township of Monroe County, Indiana
Civil plenary. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Benton Township. Rules the loan for the new fire truck did not comply with the Indiana statutory requirement that taxpayers be given the opportunity to review and object. Consequently finds the contract between the township and the bank was invalid so the township is not responsible for paying the outstanding balance of the loan.

Larry Bell v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction and 25-year aggregate sentence for Class B felony rape and admission to being a habitual offender. Ruled the defendant’s statement to law enforcement that he could “read’ people was not improperly admitted at trial. Noted, even if the statement was inadmissible, the error would have been harmless given the evidence.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent Child Relationship of: A.B., Minor Child, N.S., Father v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms involuntary termination of the parental rights of the father, N.S.

Robert A. Ottomanelli v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Ottomanelli’s motion for return of bond money.

In the Matter of the Commitment of Z.P., Z.P. v. Memorial Hospital (mem. dec.)
Mental health. Affirms involuntary commitment for outpatient mental health treatment.

Adris Bailey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of Bailey’s petition for post-conviction relief after he pleaded guilty to two counts of Class B felony attempted robbery and was sentenced to 28 years.  

In the Matter of the Trust of H. Paul Lauster, Deceased, and Mary E. Lauster, Deceased, Christopher D. Lauster v. John M. Lauster and David P. Lauster (mem. dec.)
Trust. Affirms denial of Christopher Lauster’s motion to enforce the mediation agreement.

Todd Dayon Covington Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions for Class A felony attempted murder, Class A felony robbery and Class B felony criminal confinement.

Jonathon Hug v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Hug’s five convictions of neglect of a dependant, each as a Class C felony.

Luis Mandujano v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms denial of Mandujano’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas to Class B felony robbery, Class B felony battery and Class B felony prisoner in possession of a dangerous device.

W.W. V. B.W. (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms denial of mother’s petition to relocate from Shelbyville to Utica, Kentucky, with her child.

Bayley Joy Smith v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Smith’s sentence for 10 years, with six years suspended on probation, for pleading guilty to one court of dealing in a schedule I controlled substance, as a Class B felony.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: C.S. (Minor Child) and C.S. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of the parental right of father, C.S.