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Opinions June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
United States of America v. Terry Joe Smith
16-2035
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Judge William T. Lawrence
Criminal. Vacates Terry Joe Smith’s sentence to 14 months’ imprisonment for violating 18 U.S.C. Section 242. Finds the district court failed to adequately explain or justify the below-guidelines sentence. Remands for a complete resentencing.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
William McNeal v. State of Indiana
49S05-1706-CR-405
Criminal. Grants transfer and vacates the Court of Appeals’ discussion in its opinion of the community caretaking function, specifically the final sentence of Section 1, the entirety of Section 1.1, the first phrase of Section 1.2 and the second sentence of the paragraph numbered 25. Summarily affirms the remainder of the Court of Appeals’ opinion, including the rest of Section 1.2 and Section 2. Finds McNeal’s detention did not violate the Fourth Amendment because police had reasonable suspicion he “had committed, or was about to commit, the crime of public intoxication.” Also finds no Indiana constitutional violation.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Cynthia Clark-Silberman v. Richard M. Silberman and Susan A. Wang
71A05-1607-TR-1740
Trust. Affirms the trial court’s determination that Cynthia Clark-Silberman converted funds that were in a safe deposit box.  Finds the St. Joseph Probate Court did not err in concluding Clark-Silberman converted $46,182 or in awarding treble damages to Richard Silberman and Susan Wang.

NIPSCO Industrial Group v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company
93A02-1607-EX-1644
Agency. Affirms the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s approval of Northern Indiana Public Service Co.’s petition for a plan update to its previously approved seven-year plan. Judge Michael Barnes dissents with separate opinion. Finds the commission did not err in its approval of NIPSCO’s update. Also finds the commission did not erroneously grant a designation of eligibility to the multiple unit project categories.

Eugene Roach v. State of Indiana
49A04-1608-CR-1918
Criminal. Remands Eugene Roach’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement to Marion Superior Court to make findings regarding the state’s demeanor-based reason for striking an African-American man from the panel.

Angel Shores Mobile Home Park, Inc. v. John Crays and Megan Crays
79A02-1605-CT-1106
Civil tort. Affirms the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s award of attorney fees and litigation expenses to John and Megan Crays. Finds the parties’ agreed stipulation does not waive appeal of the issue of attorney fees and litigation expenses because the plain language of the waiver applies to the “trial verdict,” and the trial court decided the issue of attorney fees and damages. Also finds the Child Wrongful Death Statute allows the recovery of attorney fees and expenses. Finally, finds the trial court did not err in its assessment of attorney fees and litigation expenses.  

John M. Skorvanek v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
58A01-1612-CR-2879
Criminal. Affirms John M. Skorvanek’s sentence to an aggregate of nine years for Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and being a habitual offender. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of Skorvanek’s offense and his character.

Ronnie M. Williams v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A03-1609-CR-2236
Criminal. Affirms Ronnie Williams’ convictions for strangulation and battery as Level 6 felonies. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support his convictions.

Frank E. Puzynski v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
71A04-1611-CR-2511
Criminal. Affirms Frank E. Puzynski’s convictions of operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life as a Level 5 felony and failure to remain at the scene of an accident as a Class B misdemeanor, and his sentence to six years. Finds Puzynski has failed to establish the St. Joseph Superior Court committed fundamental error.

Ronald A. Manley v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
29A04-1611-CR-2715
Criminal. Affirms the Hamilton Circuit Court’s denial of Ronald A. Manley’s motion for modification of sentence. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying Manley’s motion.

William J. Woodford v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A03-1612-CR-2812
Criminal. Affirms the Elkhart Circuit Court’s order modifying William J. Woodford’s sentence placement by ordering him to serve his final 12 years on home detention, rather than reducing or suspending his sentence by 30 years. Finds that Woodford has not proven the trial court’s decision was an abuse of discretion.

James A. Briley, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
58A01-1611-PC-2587
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of James A. Briley’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Briley has failed to show he was prejudiced by the performance of his trial counsel. Also finds Briley has not shown the evidence as a whole unerringly and unmistakably leads to a conclusion opposite the one reached by the post-conviction court.

Matthew Duke Coonce v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
29A02-1609-CR-2054
Criminal. Affirms Matthew Duke Coonce’s sentence to six years for battery causing serious bodily injury as a Level 5 felony. Finds Coonce’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Christa Gorman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1612-CR-2295
Criminal. Affirms Christa Gorman’s conviction for resisting law enforcement as a Level 6 felony. Finds the Marion Superior Court made a reasonable inference that Gorman was able to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct at the time of the offense and to reject her insanity defense.

Ashley Nicole Nelson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1609-CR-2183
Criminal. Affirms Ashley Nelson’s conviction for Class B misdemeanor battery. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that the state rebutted Nelson’s self-defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt and to support Nelson’s conviction.

Kevion Golliday v. State of Indiana (mem.dec.)
71A03-1701-CR-173
Criminal. Affirms Kevion Golliday’s convictions for attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury as a Level 2 felony and attempted robbery while armed with a deadly weapon as a Level 3 felony. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support his convictions for two counts of attempted robbery. Also finds the admissions of State’s Exhibits 29 and 39 amounted to harmless error.

Brock J. Mathews v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
84A01-1701-CR-69
Criminal. Affirms the Vigo Superior Court’s imposition of Brock J. Mathews’ previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction’s CLIFF program following a revocation of his probation. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion.
 

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