Opinions Oct. 18, 2017

Keywords Opinions

The following Indiana Tax Court opinion was issued after IL deadline Tuesday:

Lake County Trust Co., Trust No. 6, (Flowers for Heaven, Inc.) v. St. Joseph County Assessor
Tax. Reverses the Indiana Board of Tax Review's sua sponte dismissal of Lake County Trust Co., Trust No. 6 (Flowers for Heaven)'s appeal without a motion. Remands to the board to correct the objective error by identifying Flowers as the entity requesting exemption and to determine whether Flowers' ownership interest in the property entitles it to a property tax exemption it sought in 2013.

Wednesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Mario Watkins v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Mario Watkins’ conviction of possession of  a Schedule II controlled substance as a
lesser-included Class A misdemeanor, possession of cocaine as a Level 6 felony, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance as a lesser-included Class A misdemeanor, possession of marijuana as a lesser-included Class B misdemeanor, and maintaining a common nuisance as a Level 6 felony. The search warrant executed at Watkins’ house did not violate Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution or the Fourth Amendment.  

Indiana Court of Appeals
Broad Ripple Property Group, LLC v. City of Indianapolis
Ordinance violation. Reverses trial court summary judgment in favor of the City of Indianapolis and remands with instructions for the court to enter judgment in favor of Broad Ripple Property Group, which unwittingly leased property to an unlicensed massage business where illegal acts were performed. Holds that under the Revised Code of the Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion County, the court cannot agree with the city that a provision clearly subjects landlords such as BRPG to liability for licensing violations committed by their tenants when read in context with the entire regulatory scheme. 

Katherine Shuwan Holmes v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms 40-year sentence for conviction of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death and five counts of Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent. Even considering mitigating factors, they do not overcome the horrific nature of the offense. The sentence is not inappropriate.

In Re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.C.C. and K.M.C. (Minor Children) and V.P. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father V.P.’s parental rights to his minor children K.C.C. and K.M.C. Clear and convincing evidence supported the termination.  

State of Indiana v. Matthew Stidham (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Grants rehearing to clarify that the Court of Appeals retains jurisdiction and remands for the post-conviction court to issue a new sentencing order consistent with the COA's prior opinion, from which the state may appeal. 

Stephanie James v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Level 6 felony possession of cocaine, finding the evidence sufficient to support the conviction. 

Christopher N. Kennedy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms aggregate 8½-year sentence after a guilty plea to two counts of Level 5 felony dealing in a narcotic drug and adjudication as a habitual offender. The sentence is not inappropriate based on the nature of the offenses and the defendant’s character.

Joe M. Meyers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms conviction of murder and Level 3 felony kidnapping as well as summary dismissal of Joe Meyers’ petition for post-conviction relief. The search warrants for his hotel room, vehicle and storage units were valid and properly admitted; the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions; Meyers failed to establish the trial judge was biased or prejudiced or that he suffered ineffective assistance of counsel; and the trial court correctly granted the state’s motion for summary disposition. 

Jimmy Dean Austin v. Jon Templin (mem. dec.)
Agency action. Affirms the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s denial of Jimmy Austin's claim, affirming the board’s conclusion that he was not entitled to benefits because he qualified as a farm or agricultural worker rather than a commercial employee. The denial was proper based on the whole character of Austin’s work rather than the task he was doing when injured.

In the Matter of the Adoption of C.O., Minor Child, J.O. v. J.W. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Reverses and remands the trial court’s decree of a petition to adopt C.O. that was filed by stepfather J.W. Father J.O. did not consent to the adoption, and stepfather did not meet his burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence, that Father, without justifiable cause, failed to communicate significantly with Child when able to do so, or that he failed to provide support within the year that preceded the filing of the Petition, so that his consent would not be required. Instructs the trial court to vacate the decree of adoption, reinstate the father’s parental rights, and restore child’s surname to that of father. 

Eugene White v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms revocation of Eugene White’s probation. The trial court was within its discretion when it ordered White to serve all of his suspended sentence.

Robert White v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Reverses trial court's order granting the state’s motion for summary disposition on Robert White’s successive post-conviction relief. The trial court erred in doing so. Remands for a hearing on the merits of whether White’s trial counsel denied him the right to effective assistance of counsel.


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