Opinions Sept. 5, 2017

September 5, 2017

The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Friday:
Whitelick Indiana Aerie 3207 Fraternal Order of Eagles, Inc. v. Hendricks County Assessor
Tax. Affirms the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s conclusion that Whitelick Indiana Aerie 3207 Fraternal Order of Eagles Inc. was not entitled to a property tax exemption under Indiana Code sections 6-1.1-10-23 or -16. Finds Aerie 3207 is not a fraternal benefit association under I.C. 27-11-1-1, does not provide a benefit through another subordinate lodge and is not exempt from the provisions of I.C. 27-11. Also finds Aerie 3207 failed to present evidence under I.C. 6-1.1-10-36.3 to determine the extent to which an exemption might apply and to meet its burden of proof that its property was exclusively or predominantly used for charitable or fraternal purposes. Finally, finds the board’s decision was neither contrary to law nor unsupported by substantial evidence.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of: Beau J. White
Disciplinary. Suspends Beau J. White from the practice of law in Indiana for at least three years without automatic reinstatement. Finds White committed attorney misconduct in connection with his representation of a client and by failing to cooperate with the disciplinary process. Chief Justice Loretta Rush and Justice Steve David dissent believing White is deserving of a significant period of suspension or disbarment.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Jessie Grimes v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Jessie Grimes’ conviction of 18 counts of Level 4 felony incest, two counts of Level 6 felony dissemination of matter harmful to minors and one count of Level 6 felony obstruction of justice and his sentence to an aggregate of 111 years in the Department of Correction. Finds the Harrison Superior Court did not err when it denied Grimes’ pretrial motion to dismiss the charging information and motion to sever. Also finds Grimes’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Jason Ellis v. Keystone Construction Corporation
Civil plenary. Affirms the Hendricks Superior Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Keystone Construction Corp. Finds the trial court did not err in concluding that Ellis, by intentionally omitting his claimed ownership interested in Keystone from his dissolution settlement agreement, is now judicially estopped from asserting a claim of an ownership interest in Keystone.

Byron Snelbaker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Byron Snelbaker’s two consecutive six-year sentences for his convictions of two counts of Level 5 felony battery and one count of Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement, enhanced by six years for his habitual offender status, for an aggregate of 18 years. Finds the Cass Superior Court did not err in imposing consecutive sentences. Also finds Snelbaker’s two battery convictions do not violate constitutional and common-law prohibitions against double jeopardy.

Lawrence Green v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Lawrence Green’s conviction for Level 5 felony leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Finds Green’s conviction is supported by sufficient evidence.

Baylor Intermodal, Inc. v. Chris Hood, Clay Daniel Walton & Adams PLC, and Fast Trak Investment Company, Inc. (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Clark Circuit Court’s dismissal of the case for lack of personal jurisdiction over all named defendants. Finds the trial court’s ruling is consistent with the requirements of personal jurisdiction as defined in Indiana Trial Rule 4.4(A) and the state and federal constitutions.

Michael M. Harvey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael M. Harvey’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor theft. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sustaining the state’s objection to Harvey’s question to a witness that called for speculation, nor did that evidentiary ruling deny Harvey the right to present his defense. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Harvey’s conviction.

Nathan D. Russell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the dismissal of Nathan D. Russell’s sentence modification petition based upon a lack of statutory compliance. Finds under the statutory scheme in Indiana Code 35-38-1-17, a person who is classified as a violent criminal is not relieved of the obligation of obtaining prosecutorial consent for petitions filed more than one year after sentencing. Also finds that Russell lacked that requisite consent, so he did not file a petition upon which relief could be granted.

Angela Kinney v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Angela Kinney’s conviction of Level 6 felony domestic battery. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by failing to order a competency hearing prior to the start of Kinney’s trial. Also finds the evidence was sufficient to sustain Kinney’s conviction.

Jason W. Green v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jason Green’s sentence to three years in the purposeful incarceration program in the Department of Correction for his conviction of Level 5 felony dealing in methamphetamine. Finds the Martin Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in ordering incarceration. Also finds Green’s placement is not inappropriately harsh.

Michael J. Smith v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael J. Smith’s convictions of one count of Level 1 felony attempted murder and three counts of Level 5 felony criminal recklessness. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Smith’s attempted murder conviction. Also finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give the jury Smith’s tendered instruction regarding self-defense.

Leon Benson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Leon Benson’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Benson failed to establish he suffered ineffective assistance of trial counsel or that the proffered allegedly newly discovered evidence necessitated a new trial.