Opinions Aug. 29, 2017

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The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
Mary Price v. Indiana Department of Child Services; Director of Indiana Department of Child Services
Civil plenary. Affirms the dismissal of Mary Price’s complaint against the Indiana Department of Child Services. Finds Indiana Code 31-25-2-5 imposes strict caseload limits for DCS family case manages, but does not require DCS to perform one or more specific, ministerial acts for achieving it and, thus, is not amenable to a judicial mandate.

Tuesday opinions
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States of America v. Jaime C. Lopez
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Criminal. Affirms Jaime Lopez’s convictions of 15 counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering and one count of securities fraud for his participation in a fraudulent investment scheme. Finds the district court did not err in allowing Jane DeLancey to use the phrase “lulling payments” or in overruling Lopez’s objections to references to Bernie Madoff. Also finds the district court did not err in prohibiting Lopez from calling his witness an expert. Finally, finds it was harmless error for the district court to decline to allow the admission of extrinsic evidence to perfect the impeachment of a government witness. Judge Richard Posner dissents with separate opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Kristopher L. Weida v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Kristopher L. Weida’s sentence to three years, with one year executed and two years suspended to probation, for his conviction of Level 5 felony incest and two sex offender probation conditions that restrict his access to the internet. Finds Weida has failed to meet his burden of showing his sentence is inappropriate. Also finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by imposing the challenged probation conditions. Judge John Baker dissents in part with separate opinion.

Robert Gray, Jr. v. County of Starke, Indiana
Civil plenary. Affirms a judicial review order upholding former Starke County Deputy Sheriff Robert Gray Jr.’s termination. Finds the excessive force objective reasonableness standard does not provide a minimum threshold for termination of police employment when an allegation has been made that the officer violated an internal use of force rule, and Gray has not shown the Starke County Sheriff’s Merit Review Board’s discharge decision was contrary to law on this basis. Also finds Gray has not shown the decision is arbitrary and capricious as unsupported by substantial evidence.

R.B. v. D.C. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Dismisses the Hamilton Superior Court’s order determining that under Indiana Code 31-19-9-8(a)(11)(A), R.B. is unfit and that his consent to adopt A.R.B. was not required. Finds the trial court’s order was neither a final judgment nor an appealable interlocutory order, so R.B. has forfeited his right to appeal.

Todd D. Keck v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Todd D. Keck’s sentence to an aggregate of eight years for his convictions of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery, Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy and Level 5 felony stalking. Finds Keck has failed to show his sentence is inappropriate.

Douglas Flagle v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of 5 ½ years of Douglas Flagle’s suspended sentence. Finds the Kosciusko Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in revoking Flagle’s suspended sentence.

Sean A. Kubiak v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Sean A. Kubiak’s convictions for operating a motor vehicle while privileges are forfeited for life as a Level 5 felony and resisting law enforcement as a Level 6 felony and the revocation of his probation in a separate cause. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in permitting officer Robert Anton to testify to Angela Kubiak’s out-of-court statement to him in which she identified Sean Kubiak as the driver of the van or when it permitted Anton to testify that he had observed Sean Kubiak driving the van at an earlier date. Finally, finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Kubiak’s convictions and the revocation of his probation.

Ali B. McGraw v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Ali B. McGraw’s conviction for torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal as a Level 6 felony. Finds any error in the admission of the testimony of a veterinarian, Dr. Jon Sheff, is harmless beyond a reasonable doubt and did not make a fair trial impossible or constitute clearly blatant violations of basic and elementary principles of due process presenting an undeniable and substantial potential for harm.

Jeffery Heuring v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jeffery Heuring’s convictions for dealing in methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, maintaining a common nuisance and possession of paraphernalia. Finds the Warrick Superior Court did not err by allowing the state to use evidence obtained during two searches because there was no violation of Heuring’s rights under the Fourth Amendment or under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

James B. Weathers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses James B. Weathers’ sentence to 12 years for his conviction of Level 4 felony possession of a deadly weapon while incarcerated. Finds Weathers’ maximum sentence is inappropriate because he intended to harm himself, not a fellow prisoner or prison staff, with the razor blade. Remands for the imposition of a 10-year sentence.

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