Opinions Aug. 8, 2017

August 8, 2017

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Terrance S. McKinney v. Office of the Sheriff of Whitley County
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division.
Judge William C. Lee.
Civil. Reverses the grant of summary judgment to the Office of the Sheriff of Whitley County. Finds Terrance McKinney’s extensive evidence adds up to a strong case of race discrimination, as he presented evidence that he was treated differently than his similarly situated colleagues who are not black. Also finds McKinney presented substantial evidence that the many rationales used to fire him were baseless and pretextual. Finally, finds the district court erred by disregarding most of McKinney’s testimony, improperly discounting his testimony as “self-serving,” and misreading precedent on the “common actor” inference. Remands for trial.
Indiana Court of Appeals
Evaristo Martinez v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Evaristo Martinez’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Finds Martinez has waived the appellate argument that he did not validly waive his right to a jury trial by failing to present an adequate record on appeal. Also finds Martinez was not constitutionally required to personally waive his right to a jury trial.

Michael Smiley v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael Smiley’s conviction of criminal trespass as a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support a reasonable inference that Smiley committed trespass as a Class A misdemeanor.

David Lee v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms David Lee’s conviction of child molesting as a Class C felony. Finds that even if it was error to exclude Lee’s daughter, Rachel’s, testimony, such error would have been harmless. Also finds the prosecutor’s comments do not constitute misconduct or amount to fundamental error.

Zacharia Lockhart v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Zacharia Lockhart’s sentence to 900 days executed and 180 days suspended to probation for his conviction of Level 6 felony theft. Finds the Decatur Superior Court properly sentenced Lockhart.

Bradley K. Buchanan v. Tina Fox (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the grant of Tina Fox’s motion for summary judgment on Bradley K. Buchanan’s complaint, in which he alleged malicious prosecution, abuse of process and intentional inflection of emotional distress, among other theories of liability. Finds the Putnam Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it struck portions of Buchanan’s affidavit. Also finds the trial court did not err when it granted summary judgment to Fox.

Darrell Howery v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Darrell Howery’s sentence to 4 ½ years, with three years served in the Department of Correction and 1 ½ years served on home detention, for his conviction of possession of cocaine as a Level 5 felony. Finds Howery has not sustained his burden of establishing his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense or his character.

Marlon Jackson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Marlon Jackson’s motion to suppress. Finds the Marion Superior Court properly denied Jackson’s motion to suppress.

Brent Lavon Thomas v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brent Thomas’ conviction of felony murder. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in allowing the state to present Kyle Ellis’ identification testimony. Also finds Ellis’ identification testimony was merely cumulative of other properly admitted evidence.