Opinions Feb. 3, 2017

Keywords Opinions

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Abel Covarrubias
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms the district court’s denial of Abel Covarrubias’ motion to suppress drugs found in a car being delivered to him from across the country. Finds that the district court correctly decided that Covarrubias lacked standing to contest the admission of the drugs into evidence.

John Jones Bey v. State of Indiana, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms the district court’s dismissal of John Jones Bey’s “Writ of Mandamus” seeking to enjoin state and county officials from taxing real estate he owns in Marion County and asking for a refund of $11.5 billion in taxes he’d paid. Rejects Bey’s claim that he is a “sovereign citizen.”

Indiana Court of Appeals
Richelle Marie Whitenack v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Richelle Whitenack’s convictions for unlawful possession of a hypodermic syringe, possession of paraphernalia, driving left of the center lane and exceeding the posted speed limit. Finds that the Huntington Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted evidence found by a K-9 officer and his dog during a valid traffic stop.

Lonnie L. Burton v. State of Indiana
Expungement. Affirms the Clark Circuit Court’s grant of the state’s motion to dismiss Lonnie L. Burton’s petition to expunge two Class D felony convictions of theft and fraud. Finds that the plain language of Indiana Code 35-38-9-3(b) provides that a “sex or violent offender” is not eligible for expungement of Class D/Level 6 felonies.

Shannon Randolph v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Shannon Randolph’s convictions for Level 1 felony rape, two counts of Level 3 felony rape and one count of Level 3 felony robbery resulting in bodily injury. Finds given that the state’s comment about “victim blaming” was in response to allegations from Randolph’s counsel, the prosecutor’s comment did not constitute misconduct. Also finds that when the state rephrased its arguments, it illustrated that it was not “vouching” for N.D.’s testimony, but rather was addressing any potential shortcomings in its case and what was required for the jury to reach a guilty verdict under the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard. Finally, finds that based on the physical evidence and the Marion Superior Court’s observations of the jury during the admonishing statements, even if the challenged statements during the state’s rebuttal had been misconduct, they had no probable persuasive effect on the jury’s verdict.

Kansas City Services, Inc. v. Bryan Connan, Julie Connan, and Connan's Zionsville Investors, LLC (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Boone Superior Court’s ruling on Kansas City Services Inc.’s restitution claim against Bryan Connan, Julie Connan and Connan’s Zionsville Investors LLC. Finds KCS has not shown that piercing the corporate veil is warranted. Remands for the entry of an updated award of interest in the amount of $4,409.33, for a total award of $26,455.98.

In the Matter of the Adoption of B.A.M.: G.M., Jr. v. D.E. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Affirms the Tippecanoe Circuit Court’s ordering granting D.E.’s petition to adopt G.M. Jr.’s daughter with J.E. Finds that D.E. met his burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that G.M. Jr.’s consent to the adoption was not required because for a period of at least one year, G.M. Jr. failed without justifiable cause to communicate significantly with his daughter when able to do so.

Breasia Sawyer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec,)
Criminal. Affirms Breasia Sawyer’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor theft. Finds there was sufficient evidence such that reasonable minds could reach the conclusion that Sawyer intended to commit theft.

Margaret J. Wilkinson v. Ivan H. Kuehn and Micki L. Kuehn (mem. dec)
Civil plenary. Affirms the trial court’s grant of Ivan and Micki Kuehn’s petition for partial relief from a scenic easement. Finds that Margaret Wilkinson failed to establish prejudice and, therefore, an abuse of discretion. Also finds that opportunities for further discovery were not needed, the degree to which requests for continuances or discovery were granted is largely immaterial, the sole issue in the case was fully litigated at an emergency hearing, and the Spencer Circuit Court was able to render judgment disposing of the main issue based on evidence presented at the hearing.

Kenneth Kennedy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Kenneth Kennedy’s convictions of a number of counts, including two counts of Level 6 felony battery. Finds the evidence is sufficient to sustain Kennedy’s battery convictions.

Anthony W. Brown v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Anthony Brown’s conviction for Level 5 felony possession of methamphetamine, the determination that he is a habitual offender and his aggregate 12-year sentence. Finds the Montgomery Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting challenged evidence. Also finds Brown has failed to prove that his sentence is inappropriate.

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