Opinions Aug. 30, 2017

August 30, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
Vicki Jo Clemons v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Vicki Clemons’ conviction for Level 5 felony battery with a deadly weapon. Finds the Shelby Superior Court did not commit fundamental error when it did not instruct the jury on the legal definition of “serious bodily injury.” Also finds a probation condition prohibiting Clemons from associating with people of bad character or reputation or with people likely to influence her to commit a crime was impermissibly vague. Remands with instructions to the trial court to clarify the probation condition. Judge John Baker concurs and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Michael Amos v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Michael Amos’ motion to dismiss the 33 charges against him. Finds the trial court did not err in denying Amos’ motion to dismiss.

In re Adoption of D.M. Michael Mendez v. Brent L. Weaver
Adoption. Affirms the Cass Circuit Court’s decree of adoption of D.M., the biological child of Michael Mendez. Finds the evidence most favorable to the trial court’s decision supports its conclusion that Mendez’s consent to the adoption is not required pursuant to Indiana Code 31-19-9-8(a)(11).

Lincoln R. Pickett v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses the Lawrence Superior Court’s denial of Lincoln Pickett’s motion to bifurcate the proceedings under two cause numbers to prevent the jury from hearing evidence of his prior conviction, Class C felony escape, potentially qualifying him as a serious violent felon if he was in possession of a firearm. Finds the trial court erred by denying Pickett’s motion. Remands for further proceedings.

Janet P. Hixson v. Doyle L. Silvers (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the Wabash Superior Court’s order granting Doyle L. Silvers custody. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded permanent custody to Silvers.

Anthony Roberson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Anthony Roberson’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not create fundamental error by allowing Depak Goradia to translate Govinbhai Patel’s testimony. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence.

Randy Brotherton and Vickie Brotherton v. Town of Bryant (mem. dec.)
Small claims. Affirms the small claims court’s entry of judgment against Randy and Vickie Brotherton in a small claims action by the town of Bryant to collect outstanding balances the Brothertons owed for sewer service. Finds because the Brothersons did not challenge the amount of individual sewer bills in the appropriate proceeding, the small claims court did not err in entering judgment against them.

Coty A. Faler v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Coty A. Faler’s convictions for Level 5 felony battery against a public safety official, Class A misdemeanor criminal trespass and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct and his sentence to an aggregate of three years. Remands with instructions to vacate Faler’s conviction of Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support Faler’s convictions, but his resisting law enforcement conviction must be vacated on double jeopardy grounds. Also finds Faler has failed to carry his burden to show his sentence is inappropriate.

Charles Jason Montooth v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Charles Jason Montooth’s convictions of Class A misdemeanor intimidation, Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement and Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Finds the Vanderburgh Circuit Court acted within its discretion in denying Montooth’s motion to dismiss his felony intimidation counts. Also finds the evidence is sufficient to support Montooth’s intimidation conviction.

Heather Ryon v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Heather Ryon’s conviction for possession of paraphernalia as a Class C misdemeanor. Finds the search of Ryon’s purse was reasonable and did not violate Ryon’s rights under the Fourth Amendment and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. Also finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of the search of the purse.

James Strong v. Shandra Snowden (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the denial of James Strong’s motion to modify parenting time and the order restricting the parenting time he was already exercising. Finds the evidence was sufficient to support the Putnam Circuit Court’s ruling.

Donnie Wayne Winningham, Kelly Annette Winningham, and Kristy Milburn v. The Supervised Estate of Keri L. Winningham and Interested Party Estate of Leigh Ann Schattner (mem. dec.)
Estate, supervised. Affirms the Madison Circuit Court’s order that the proceeds from two wrongful death claims be distributed to the beneficiaries designated under the Adult Wrongful Death Act, rather than the beneficiaries designated under the intestate succession statute. Finds the trial court did not err by ordering the proceedings from the claims be distributed pursuant to the adult wrongful death statute. Remands for the trial court to determine who is entitled to the proceeds.

C.Z. v. J.Z. (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the child custody order entered following the dissolution of C.Z.’s marriage to J.Z. Finds the findings are sufficient to support the Johnson Circuit Court’s conclusion that awarding primary physical custody to J.Z. was in the child’s best interests. Also finds the trial court’s ruling on J.Z.’s petition to relocate was not an abuse of discretion. Finally, finds the trial court’s decision to award joint legal custody was not an abuse of discretion.