Opinions July 22, 2016

July 22, 2016

Indiana Court of Appeals
Santiago Valdez v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B felony attempted rape and Class C felony criminal confinement. While a prosecutor’s hint during closing arguments that defense counsel improperly influenced an expert witness constituted prosecutorial misconduct, the trial court’s prompt admonishment prevented Valdez from being placed into grave peril. The trial court made no evidentiary errors. Admonishes Delaware County deputy prosecutor Eric Hoffman regarding ‘wild, baseless accusations of misconduct’ hurled at defense counsel.

Purvi Patel v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Vacates Patel’s Class A felony conviction for neglect of a dependent and Class B felony feticide, finding the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her baby would have not died but for her failure to provide medical care. Remands with instructions to enter a judgment of conviction for Class D felony neglect of a dependent and resentence accordingly. Holds that the Legislature did not intend for the feticide statute to apply to illegal abortions or to be used to prosecute women for their own abortions.

David Anthony Jordan v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms revocation of probation and order that Jordan serve 12 years of his previously suspended sentence. Jordan challenges the validity of the probation itself, but the COA concludes he waived his challenges to the judges’ authority and has failed to meet his burden on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

Gregg Appliances, Inc., and HHGregg, Inc. v. Dwain Underwood, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated
Civil plenary. Reverses trial court grant of summary judgment for Underwood in a class-action case seeking senior manager bonuses of $25,000 each based on company earnings that included $40 million in life insurance proceeds after the 2012 death of former executive chairman of the board Jerry Throgmartin. Those proceeds were properly excluded from Gregg’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which is the basis for calculating bonuses. Therefore, Gregg was not entitled to pay them. Directs entry of summary judgment for Gregg.

Richard Wilson and Hollie Wilson v. Charles M. Huff and Bonnie M. Huff
Civil plenary. Affirms judgment for the Huffs on their complaint and the Wilsons’ counterclaim in which the Huffs sought $2,612.50 in unpaid payments for property the Huffs sold to the Wilsons on contract. Finds the trial court did not err in imputing knowledge of the Huffs’ leasehold interest in the property to the Wilsons and holding the Wilsons failed to prove their counterclaim alleging fraudulent misrepresentation.

Mark A. Conley v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, holding the state presented evidence sufficient to support the conviction.

Dereck Worthington v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms sentence following guilty plea to Class C felony neglect of a dependent.

Troy Stevenson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms in part and reverses in part. Remands for the trial court to issue a new sentencing order and abstract of judgment vacating Stevenson’s conviction for Class D felony possession of a narcotic drug.

Denna Kay Kinser v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms sentence for Level 6 felony theft.

Brandon Lewis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses convictions of Level 1 felony rape and Level 3 felony criminal confinement. Remands for the court to vacate those and enter convictions for rape as a Level 3 felony and criminal confinement as a Level 6 felony and resentence Lewis accordingly. Affirms convictions of Level 5 felony battery and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Calvin Castillo v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of Level 5 felony leaving a scene of an accident resulting in death and Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Victor Karp v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Level 4 felony burglary conviction and sentence.

Michael Moore v. Brittney Baker (mem. dec.)
Protective order. Affirms ex parte order of protection against Moore.

Michael Heffern v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Morice Ervin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms convictions of murder and Class A felony rape.