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Opinions Aug. 4, 2017

August 4, 2017

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Douglas D. Jackson
15-3693
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Robert L. Miller.
Criminal. Vacates Douglas Jackson’s conviction of one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Finds 18 U.S. Code Section 924(c)(3)(B) is unconstitutionally vague. Remands for resentencing. Also finds the district court erred in enhancing Jackson’s offense level for being a manager or supervisor to the crime. Vacates the offense level enhancement on that charge and remands for resentencing.

United States of America v. Cory S. Castetter
17-1327
Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. Chief Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Criminal. Affirms Cory Castetter’s 108-month sentence following his guilty plea to various drug offenses. Rejects Castetter’s arguments that a warrant issued in Michigan to track another person by GPS – who went to Castetter’s home to buy drugs – which lead to a warrant in Indiana to search his home should be ignored. Also rejects his claim that the first warrant did not pertain to him, and police were forbidden to learn who was doing business on his property without first obtaining a warrant based on his own activities.

John M. Stephenson v. Ron Neal
16-1312
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Reverses the denial of John M. Stephenson’s petition for habeas corpus. Finds the district court did not err in declining to give Stephenson a new trial, but that the presence of the stun belt during the penalty phrase was inappropriate. Remands with directions to vacate Stephenson’s death sentence and for further sentencing proceedings without the stun belt, if heard before a jury.

United States of America v. Donald Maggard, David Bell, Jeremy Jackson, and Dorothy Neeley
16-1776, -1777, -1780, -1832
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Sarah Evans Barker.
Criminal. Affirms the defendants’ convictions related to a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. Finds the district court did not err in denying their pretrial motions. Also finds the evidence the government presented at trial was sufficient.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Arrion Walton v. State of Indiana
79A04-1604-CR-768
Criminal. Affirms in part Arrion Walton’s convictions of multiple counts of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and his cocaine convictions. Vacates one of Walton’s convictions of possession of cocaine. Finds Walton’s SVF convictions are permissible under the language of the SVF statute. Also finds, sua sponte, that the cocaine conviction must be vacated to avoid a double-jeopardy violation with his conviction of dealing in cocaine – possession with intent to deliver. Finally, finds Walton’s 64-year sentence is inappropriate. Remands to the Tippecanoe Superior Court imposition of a 42-year sentence. Judge Mark Bailey dissents in part with separate opinion.
 
Steven James Burns, II. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
79A02-1701-CR-7
Criminal. Affirms Steven Burns’ convictions for Level 2 felony burglary while armed with a deadly weapon and Level 4 felony serious violent felon in possession of a firearm. Finds Burns’ convictions do not violate Indiana’s prohibition against double jeopardy under the state constitution or under common law.

Jackie Lynn Rolston v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A04-1701-CR-54
Criminal. Affirms Jackie Lynn Rolston’s conviction for battery as a Level 2 felony and her sentence to 30 years, with two years suspended to probation. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not err when it admitted certain photographs into evidence. Also finds the state met its burden to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Rolston committed battery on K.C. that resulted in K.C.’s death. Finally, finds Rolston’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and her character.

Michael J. Bates v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
79A02-1701-CR-100
Criminal. Affirms Michael J. Bates’ conviction for Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Finds that even if the exclusion of a video recording as evidence was error, such error was harmless.

Bruce Ashby v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
39A01-1610-CR-2341
Criminal. Affirms Bruce Ashby’s conviction of attempted dealing in a narcotic drug as a Level 2 felony. Finds the Jefferson Circuit Court’s error in determining that further consideration of Ashby’s motion to suppress was precluded by res judicata was harmless. Also finds the trial court properly admitted evidence discovered during a search of Ashby at the time of his arrest. Finally, finds the state presented sufficient evidence to sustain Ashby’s conviction.

Cory M. Wallace v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A02-1611-CR-2691
Criminal. Affirms Cory Wallace’s convictions of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, Level 3 felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a person less than 14 years old, Level 4 felony arson, Level 5 felony battery to a person less than 14 years old, and Level 6 felony obstruction of justice and his sentence to 72 years. Finds the Delaware Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the statements Wallace made to police during an interview or in admitting his earlier neglect conviction. Also finds that even if the trial court erred in admitting Dr. Ryan Wallace’s testimony, such error was harmless. Finally, finds the trial court did not err in sentencing Wallace.

Vaughn L. Reid v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A03-1606-CR-1286
Criminal. Affirms Vaughn Reid’s conviction for Level 6 felony domestic robbery. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not commit fundamental error in denying Reid’s permission to present evidence of L.F.’s out-of-court recantation.

 

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