Opinions May 15, 2015

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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were issued after IL deadline Thursday.
Billy Young v. State of Indiana
Marquise Lee v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses convictions and 15-year sentences for attempted aggravated battery for co-defendants involved in a planned beating that concluded with an unexpected fatal gunshot apparently fired by another unidentified person in the killing of Ramon Gude of Indianapolis. Remands to the trial court to enter judgments of acquittal for Billy Young and Marquise Lee. Initially charged with murder and conspiracy, a trial court dismissed the counts, but during a bench trial, the court convicted Lee and Young of attempted aggravated battery as a lesser included offense. Separate panels of the Court of Appeals reached different conclusions; one affirming Lee’s sentence and conviction, another reversing Young’s. The Supreme Court ruled that under the circumstances of these cases, the trial court committed fundamental error in convicting the defendants of attempted aggravated battery. Defendants lacked fair notice of the charges.

Indiana Tax Court
Lee and Sally Peters v. Lisa Garoffolo, Boone County Assessor, and the Indiana Board of Tax Review
Tax. Affirms the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s 2010 assessment of a Zionsville office building owned by Lee and Sally Peters. The Indiana Board of Tax Review did no err in upholding the 2010 real property assessment.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation, et al. v. Town of Brownsburg, Indiana, et al.
Civil plenary. Reverses the trial court’s dismissal of a petition of remonstrance against the proposed annexation of 4,461 acres north of Brownsburg by the town and remands for proceedings. The trial court had jurisdiction to determine the sufficiency of Fight Against Brownsburg Annexation’s petition opposing the annexation, and that a Trial Rule 12(B)(1) motion is not a proper vehicle for challenging the sufficiency of a remonstrance.

Carlton Hart v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder, and Class B felony counts of criminal confinement and conspiracy to commit criminal confinement. Sufficient evidence supported Hart’s convictions as an accomplice, and there was no error in the trial court’s exclusion of details of a peace treaty he brokered between rival rap groups.

Dewayne M. Townsend v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction for one count of residential entry, as a Class D felony. Ruled the recording of a conversation between the victim and her friends should not have been admitted as evidence during the trial but the error was harmless. The evidence was offered in support of the charge of domestic battery but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on that charge so the erroneous admission was harmless. Also found the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction for residential entry.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: R.J.J., T.J., and R.L.J. (Minor Children) and R.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.  

Scott Wolf v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony counts of dealing methamphetamine and conspiracy to deal methamphetamine.

Christian Ricker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Class A felony child molesting, Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony intimidation.

In Re: The Estate of Margaret S. Jones: John A. Jones, Jr. v. Joyce E. Schaefer and Suzanne D. VanGombos, Alexandra Margaret Windle, Sean Frances Windle, Charlene J. Windle (mem. dec.)

Estate. Affirms in part, reverses in part. Affirms trial court finding that John A. Jones was liable for property taxes due and payable in 2013; concludes the court erred in holding Jones liable for repair costs and in ordering an award of attorney fees. Remands with instructions to enter a new order consistent with the opinion.

Terry W. Waugh, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of three counts of child molesting, one as a Class A felony and two as Class C felonies, as well as the 66-year prison sentence imposed.

James Miske, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of rape, two counts of criminal deviate conduct, all Class A felonies; Class C felony criminal confinement; Class D felony counts of strangulation, intimidation and domestic battery; and Class A misdemeanor charges of battery and resisting law enforcement. Also affirms aggregate 145-year prison sentence.

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