Opinions Aug. 24, 2017

August 24, 2017

Indiana Supreme Court
John Doe #1, et al. v. Indiana Department of Child Services
Civil tort. Affirms the grant of summary judgment to the Department of Child Services on a claim brought by a child abuse reporter whose name was not redacted when the report was released. Finds the statute protecting anonymity provides no private right of action. Also finds DCS’ recitation of the confidentiality statute did not create a common-law duty. Justice Steven David concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Duke Energy Indiana, LLC v. Town of Avon, Indiana

Agency. Reverses the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s dismissal of Duke Energy Indiana, LLC’s complaint against the Town of Avon. Holds Indiana law establishes exclusive jurisdiction in the IURC over the subject matter of the parties’ complaints. Remands for further proceedings.

Jason Hershberger v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jason Hershberger’s convictions of six counts of child molesting, five as Level 1 felonies and one as a Class A felony. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted into evidence the video recording of I.H.’s interview at the Casie Center under the Protected Person Statute or when its admitted into evidence two photographs of a sex toy. Also finds Hershberger has waived appellate review of his contentions that the trial court abused its discretion when it excluded hearsay testimony and when it restricted defense counsel’s closing argument.

James Gillespie v. Anita Gillespie (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms and reverses in part the Howard Superior Court’s order dissolving James Gillespie’s marriage to Anita Gillespie. Finds the testimony was sufficient to support the trial court’s finding that James Gillespie had kept the entire tax refund. Also finds the trial court’s distribution of James Gillespie’s pension was not an abuse of discretion. Finally, finds the trial court failed to effectuate an equal division of the marital estate when it excluded James Gillespie’s Wells Fargo accounts from the estate. Remands with instructions to include both Wells Fargo accounts in the marital estate, enter findings that an equal division of the entire marital estate is just and reasonable or that the presumption in favor of an equal division has been rebutted, and to recalculate the division of marital assets accordingly.

L.T. v. E.T. (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the modification of a child support order between L.T. and E.T. Finds the LaGrange Circuit Court did not err.

Jeff Nelson v. Deaconess Hospital, Inc. (mem. dec.)
Civil collection. Affirms the entry of judgment against Jeff Nelson and in favor of Deaconess Hospital, Inc. on its action to collect outstanding medical bills. Finds the Vanderburgh Circuit Court’s ruling was not clearly erroneous.

Tony Arguello v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Tony Arguello’s conviction of six counts of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds Arguello failed to establish the St. Joseph Superior Court committed fundamental error when it allowed nurse Abbie Baker to testify regarding what A.W. told her happened to her or on his claim of a failure to establish corpus delicti for three of the four crimes he was convicted of committing against A.W.

Robert Shelton v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Robert Shelton’s aggregate sentence of 30 years executed for his conviction of attempted robbery and his admission to being a habitual offender. Finds Shelton has failed to carry his burden of proving his sentence is inappropriate.

Hirman E. Jackson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Hirman Jackson’s convictions of five counts of attempted murder as Level 1 felonies, two counts of aggravated battery as Level 3 felonies, two counts of battery with a deadly weapon as Level 5 felonies, two counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury as Level 5 felonies, one count of criminal recklessness as a Level 5 felony, one count of pointing a firearm as a level 6 felony and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon as a Level 4 felony, as well as a sentencing enhancement based on the unlawful use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and for being a habitual offender. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not commit fundamental error when it instructed the jury or when it allowed the state to make certain statements during its closing argument.

Jill I. Lane v. Michael P. Lane (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the Whitley Circuit Court’s denial of Jill I. Lane’s request to relocate to from Indiana to Connecticut with her the child she shares with Michael Lane, G.M.R.L. Finds the trial court did not clearly err in finding that relocation was not in G.M.R.L.’s best interest.

Exie M. Myles v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Exie M. Myles’ sentence to 16 years for her conviction of robbery resulting in serious bodily injury as a Level 2 felony. Finds Myles has failed to carry her burden of proving her sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense or her character.

Dwayne Christopher Ward v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Dwayne C. Ward’s sentence to an aggregate of 49 years in prison, with 10 years suspended to probation, for his convictions of Class A felony child molesting, Class C felony child molesting and Class D felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors. Finds the probative value of evidence regarding Ward’s personal viewing of pornography was not outweighed by any danger of unfair prejudice. Also finds the evidence was sufficient to support Ward’s convictions. Finally, finds Ward’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.