Opinions June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

Indiana Supreme Court
Reginald Harris v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Reginald Harris’ convictions for battery against a public safety official and resisting law enforcement. Finds the Lake Superior Court was within its discretion to admit Summer Snow’s gun as evidence. Also finds that although the gun was not relevant to Harris’ crimes, he failed to seek a separate trial or a limiting instruction, thus waiving any argument that the gun’s admission denied him a fair trial.

Summer Snow v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the trial court’s admission of Summer Snow’s gun as evidence. Finds the Lake Superior Court acted within its discretion in finding the gun relevant to Snow’s aggressive state of mind and that the danger of unfair prejudice did not substantially outweigh that relevance.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Keith D. Abney v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Keith D. Abney’s convictions for various felony drug offenses and sentence of an aggregate of 4,380 days. Finds that under the circumstances, an objective person, knowledgeable of all the circumstances, would not have a rational basis for doubting the judge’s impartiality, so the Howard Superior Court did not err in denying Abney’s motion to recuse. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding certain evidence. Finally, finds the trial court did not err in its sentencing order.

William Patrick Cheek v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the denial of William Patrick Cheek’s motion to recuse, his conviction of Level 6 felony failing to appear and his sentence to 730 days executed. Finds the Howard Superior Court properly denied Cheek’s motion to recuse. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to sustain Cheek’s conviction. Finally, finds Cheek’s sentence was not inappropriate.

The Care Group Heart Hospital v. Roderick J. Sawyer, M.D.
Civil plenary. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s denial of the Care Group Heart Hospital’s motion to dismiss, its judgment entered against the hospital and its grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the hospital. Reverses the court’s entry of June 30, 2016, order related to Dr. Roderick Sawyer’s verified petition for damages regarding attorney fees due pursuant to the discovery dispute. Finds the trial court did not err in denying the hospital’s motion to dismiss, its motion for judgment on the evidence and its motion to correct error. Also finds the trial court did not err in granting partial summary judgment to the hospital as to its request for relief based upon the operating agreement. Finally, finds the trial court abused its discretion in issuing its entry of June 30, 2016, when it relied exclusively upon the hospital’s calculation. Remands for further proceedings.

Deshawn C. Howard v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Deshawn Howard’s convictions of two counts of Class A felony dealing in cocaine in, on or within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex and of being a habitual offender. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting video recordings of the two controlled buys. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to sustain Howard’s convictions.

Donald Lee Troy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Donald Lee Troy’s sentence to six years, with five years executed and one year suspended to probation, for Level 5 felony sexual misconduct with a minor. Finds Troy has not demonstrated reversible error in the Putnam Superior Court’s sentencing order. Also finds his sentence is not inappropriate.

Christian James Cain v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Christian James Cain’s convictions for felony murder and Level 4 felony possession of a handgun by a serious violent felon, and his sentence to 68 years. Finds Cain has not shown the Marion Superior Court abused its discretion in the admission of evidence or in sentencing him. Also finds Cain’s convictions are supported by sufficient evidence of probative value and his sentence is not inappropriate.

Kimberly Stanley and Anthony Stanley v. Pawnee Leasing Corp. (mem. dec.)
Civil collection. Affirms a judgment entered against Anthony and Kimberly Stanley and in favor of Pawnee Leasing Corporation, Ltd. in the amount of $58,298.88. Finds the Stanleys have wholly failed to establish the Montgomery Circuit Court erred in determining the lease agreement constituted a finance lease rather than a purchase agreement/security interest and therefore, the agreement was governed by Article 2.5 of Title 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Isaiah Marki Walker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Isaiah Walker’s conviction for Level 3 felony rape. Finds the LaPorte Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by denying Walker’s request for a continuance made during trial. Also finds the trial court properly rejected the battery instruction.

Lisa G. King v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Lisa King’s two-year sentence for one count of Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine. Finds King’s abuse of discretion sentencing argument is not viable and her two-year sentence is not inappropriate.

Stephanie Leffler v. Dustin Verbosky (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Reverses the Miami Circuit Court’s order modifying Dustin Verbosky’s child support obligation. Finds Stephanie Leffler’s instant appeal is timely. Also finds the trial court erred when it determined Verbosky’s weekly gross income to be $594 based solely on his 2014 tax return and in awarding parenting time credit. Denies Leffler’s request for appellate fees.  Remands for the trial court to recalculate Verbosky’s weekly gross income and to modify and correct the child support worksheet to reflect his correct overnights. Judge Margaret Robb dissents with separate opinion.