Supreme Court takes protection order case

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to one case last week, denying seven other petitions.

The case granted transfer was A.W. v R.W., 29A02-1507-PO-856, where the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated a protective order against a family member who police accused of sexual abuse against a child. In that case, Rhonda Wood sought a protective order against her half-sister Anna Wood. Rhonda’s 7-year-old son told his nanny that Anna touched his penis, but the COA ruled the trial court improperly relied on hearsay evidence from the nanny in that case.

“D.W.’s statement and Detective (Sarah) Harris’s opinion were the only probative evidence that Anna committed a sexual offense/domestic violence against D.W. Consequently, the trial court’s erroneous admission of this evidence affected Anna’s substantial rights and cannot be considered harmless. Therefore, we reverse and remand with instructions to vacate the protective order against Anna,” Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel in the decision.

The Supreme Court uses initials to refer to parties in the case, whereas the COA used the full names of the adults involved.

Of the other seven cases denied, five were denied unanimously. Justice Steven David was the only justice to vote to transfer Christopher Rondeau vs State of Indiana, 49A02-1505-PC-427. In that case, Rondeau was convicted of killing his great uncle in a 2009 swordfight that also took the life of his grandmother. He was denied his post-conviction relief request by the COA.

The other case that was not unanimous was John Paul Garcia v. State of Indiana, 45A03-1503-CR-86. In that case, the COA was split 2-1 on whether Garcia should have to pay $3,600 in restitution for a fraudulent coin sale to Paul Bowman. Bowman did not appear at the sentencing hearing and the only support for the restitution order came from the probable cause affidavit. COA judge Cale Bradford dissented in the case, saying the restitution was never disputed and it was reported in documents of sufficient reliability that were made part of the record. Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Mark Massa voted in the minority to grant transfer.

Indiana Supreme Court transfer dispositions may be viewed here.

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