Opinions: 6/29/2015

June 29, 2015

Indiana Supreme Court
Larry D. Russell, Jr. v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms 10-year sentence for conviction of five counts of Class C felony neglect of a dependent and two counts of Class C felony criminal confinement. Despite an erroneous application of a particular section of Indiana Code on a perceived statutory cap on sentencing, the plea agreement is enforceable because Russell received the benefit of the bargain and there is no compelling reason to set aside the conviction, the majority held. Chief Justice Loretta Rush concurred in result only. Justice Mark Massa dissented, finding that the trial court’s acceptance of a plea agreement based on an error of law amounted to an abuse of discretion.

The following opinions were issued after IL deadline Friday.
Antonio Smith v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony burglary, finding that the state did not use false testimony to convict the defendant and the incredible dubiosity rule regarding witness testimony is not applicable in this case.
Andrew S. Satterfield v. State of Indiana
Life without parole. Affirms Satterfield’s convictions of murder, a felony; arson, a Class B felony; and attempted arson, a Class B felony; and sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The jury’s rejection of his mental health defenses was not contrary to the law because the evidence was contradictory on his mental illness diagnosis and his sanity. Also, the detective’s testimony that Satterfield was “evasive” during an interview was admissible.

Indiana Court of Appeals
In the Matter of the Supervised Estate of Ralph E. Herin, Beth M. Herin and Belinda Herin McIntyre v. Stephen E. Herin
Estate, supervised. Affirms the estate of Ralph E. Herin had no ownership interest in four certificates of deposit. Found Herin’s daughters failed to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that their father intended for the CDs to belong to his estate even though he listed only his son as joint owner.

Kevin Chocklett v. Melanie Davison (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Reverses judgment in favor of Melanie Davison in the amount of $14,453.37. Divided panel found there was not sufficient evidence that Chocklett’s purported breach of contract caused Davison’s damages, therefore the trial court improperly denied his motion for directed verdict. Dissenting Judge Melissa May wrote Davison presented sufficient evidence to withstand a motion for directed verdict.

Kari Poe v. Robert Poe (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms grant of primary custody of minor daughter, H.P., to father, Robert Poe.

James G. Wilson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A felony attempted murder.

Kevin L. Martin v. Discover Bank (mem. dec.)
Collection. Reverses order granting Discover Bank’s motion for summary judgment, finding the trial court abused its discretion for failing to conduct a hearing on the motion. Remands for hearing required under Indiana Trial Rule 60(D).

Jack Raymond Wirth v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms six-year sentence for conviction of Class C felony battery with a deadly weapon.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of M.R., Minor Child and Her Father, J.R., J.R. v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms termination of parental rights.