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Opinions Aug. 10, 2017

August 10, 2017

Indiana Supreme Court
Bob Leonard v. State of Indiana
02S00-1604-LW-185
Life without parole. Affirms Bob Leonard’s various convictions for knowing murder, arson and other charges and his sentence to two terms of life without parole and consecutive terms of years for conspiracy and arson. Finds there was sufficient evidence to support the murder convictions and a statutory aggravator. Also finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused Leonard’s tendered, lesser-included jury instruction. Finally, finds Indiana’s LWOP statute is not unconstitutional.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Kory Berkhardt v. State of Indiana
49A04-1702-CR-369
Criminal. Reverses Kory Berkhardt’s conviction for Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe. Finds the evidence was insufficient to support Berkhardt’s conviction. Also finds the sentencing order erroneously states Berkhardt was convicted of Class A, rather than Class B, misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Remands to the Marion Superior Court to correct its sentencing order with respect to the misdemeanor conviction.

Landmark Legacy, LP and Dennis W. Fahlsing v. Dennis Runkle, D.R. Financial Inc., and D.R. Financial Group, Inc.
02A04-1702-PL-347
Civil plenary. Affirms the grant of attorney fees to Dennis Runkle, D.R. Financial Inc. and D.R. Financial Group. Grants Runkle and D.R. Financial’s request to award appellate attorney fees pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 66(E). Finds the Allen Superior Court did not commit error by awarding attorney fees pursuant to Indiana Code 34-52-1-1(b). Remands to the trial court for determination of reasonable appellate attorney fees.

In re the Name Change of A.L. and In re the Name Change of L.S.
79A02-1703-MI-473
Miscellaneous. Reverses in part the Tippecanoe Circuit Court’s finding that publication is required for changes of gender marker and name and denial of L.S.’s request to seal the record pursuant to Administrative Rule 9. Finds there is no statutory requirement to publish notice of intent to change one’s gender marker. Also finds there is a statutory requirement to publish notice of intent to change one’s name, but that statute is explicitly subject to Administrative Rule 9. Finally, finds L.S. made the requisite showing under Administrative Rule 9, is entitled to have the record sealed and is entitled to waive publication of notice of intent to change his name. Remands with instructions and for consideration of L.S.’s petition for a name change.

Derek Hutchinson v. State of Indiana
48A02-1702-CR-340
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Derek Hutchinson’s probation and order that he serve his entire five-year, previously suspended sentence. Finds the trial court did not commit fundamental error by failing to conduct a competency hearing before revoking probation.

City of Fort Wayne v. Southwest Allen County Fire Protection District and Tera K. Klutz, in her official capacity as Auditor of Allen County, Indiana
02A05-1612-PL-2883
Civil plenary. Reverses the dismissal of the city of Fort Wayne’s complaint for declaratory relief against the Southwest Allen County Fire Protection District and Ter K. Klutz, in her official capacity as Allen County auditor for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(1). Finds the Allen Superior Court has subject matter jurisdiction to decide the city’s request for declaratory judgment. Remands for further proceedings.

Stephen L. Deverick v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
84A01-1703-CR-648
Criminal. Affirms Stephen L. Deverick’s sentence to 10 years of incarceration for his conviction of Level 4 felony arson. Finds Deverick’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Todd Norman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
69A05-1611-CR-2661
Criminal. Affirms Todd Norman’s conviction for Level 2 felony possession of methamphetamine with the intent to deliver and his sentence to 27 ½ years in the Indiana Department of Correction, with five years suspended to probation. Finds the Ripley Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed the state to question Norman about his missing cellphone. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Norman’s conviction. Finally, finds Norman has failed to show his sentence is inappropriate.

J.R.H. v. O.M.H. (mem. dec.)
25A03-1611-DR-2534
Domestic relation. Affirms the Fulton Circuit Court’s custody order awarding primary physical and legal custody of J.R.H.’s children to O.M.H. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the trial court’s order.

Michael Reyes v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
32A01-1701-CR-101
Criminal. Affirms Michael Reyes’ sentence to 10 years for his convictions of Level 4 felony child molestation and Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Finds Reyes’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Lorie Bohannon v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1609-CR-2152
Criminal. Affirms Lorie Bohannon’s conviction for Level 6 felony theft. Finds Bohannon has not preserved the issue of whether the Marion Superior Court erred in admitting certain video evidence for appellate review because she did not object to the state’s request to admit the evidence, nor did she object when the trial court proposed to watch the video at an accelerated speed. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Bohannon’s conviction. Finally, finds Bohannon has presented no cogent argument to show that any error in her counsel’s conduct resulted in prejudice to her.

Bobby Collier v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
15A04-1703-CR-560
Criminal. Affirms the Dearborn Superior Court’s order that Bobby Collier serve his previously suspended sentence. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: A.M. (Minor Child), and R.M. (Father) and A.T. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
09A04-1701-JT-70
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Cass Circuit Court’s order terminating A.T. and R.M.’s parental rights to their minor child, A.M. Finds the trial court did not clearly err as the Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to support the termination.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.S. (Minor Child), and K.F. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
50A05-1703-JT-658
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of K.F.’s parental rights to S.S. Finds the Indiana Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to support the termination of her parental rights.

 

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