Opinions Dec. 14, 2017

December 14, 2017

Indiana Court of Appeals
Bryan Fearman v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Reverses Bryan Fearman’s 910-day sentence for direct criminal contempt. Finds Fearman’s multiple acts of contemptuous behavior constitute a single contemptuous episode and can only warrant a single punishment of not more than six months without a jury trial. Remands for the Marion Superior Court to enter a sentencing order for criminal contempt with a six-month sentence.

Paula S. Black v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses Paula Black’s sentence to 14 years for Level 3 felony dealing in a schedule II controlled substance and Level 4 felony dealing in a schedule II controlled substance. Finds the Huntington Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Black. Also finds Black’s sentence is inappropriate. Remands for the revision of Black’s sentence to an aggregate of nine years, with four years sentenced to probation.

Colton Duria Lee v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Colton Duria Lee’s conviction for battery resulting in moderate bodily injury as a Level 6 felony. Finds Lee waived his Doyle v. Ohio claim by failing to raise it in the Hamilton Superior Court, and waiver notwithstanding, Lee failed to show a detective’s testimony about Lee’s silence amounted to a Doyle violation. Also finds Lee has failed to show he was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s alleged ineffective performance.

Juliette Boyd v. ERJ Dining IV, LLC d/b/a Chili's Grill and Bar #513 (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Dismisses Juliette Boyd’s appeal of the entry of summary judgment in favor of ERJ Dining IV, LLC, d/b/a Chili’s Grill and bar #513. Declines to award Chili’s request for damages. Finds Boyd did not timely file her appeal and has forfeited her right to appeal.

James McDuffy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of James McDuffy’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds the post-conviction court did not abuse its discretion in denying McDuffy’s requests to subpoena an attorney, obtain certain documents and transfer to the elected judge. Also finds McDuffy failed to establish he was denied the effective assistance of counsel. Finally, finds McDuffy did not rebut the presumption the post-conviction court was unbiased.  

Terrance L. Williams v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Terrance Williams’ conviction of Level 5 felony battery and Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy and his four-year sentence. Finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court effectively vacated any conviction for Class A misdemeanor domestic battery and did not impose a sentence for that count. Also finds Williams’ sentence is not inappropriate.

In re The Termination of The Parent-Child Relationship of: J.C.M. (Minor Child) and H.M. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of H.M.’s parental rights to her child, J.M. Finds the juvenile court’s decision to termination H.M.’s parental rights was not clearly erroneous.

IN THE MATTER OF V.C. and J.C., Minor Children, N.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)

Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of N.C.’s children, V.C. and Jo.C., as children in need of services. Finds the department of child services presented evidence the children’s father used heroin in the family home, overdosed and had not obtained treatment. Also finds there was evidence N.C. refused to acknowledge the father’s drug problem and had not benefitted from services.

Millard P. Johnson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Millard P. Johnson’s sentence to an aggregate of eight years for his convictions of two counts of child molesting as Level 4 felonies. Finds Johnson failed to sustain his burden of establishing his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character. Judge John Baker dissents with separate opinion.

Steven D. Martin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Steven D. Martin’s sentence to 23 months for his conviction of Level 6 felony theft. Finds Martin failed to demonstrate the LaPorte Circuit Court abused its discretion in failing to find the two mitigators he asserted on appeal.

Franklin Wilcox v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Franklin Wilcox’s sentence to 2½ years for his convictions of Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent, Level 6 felony possession of a synthetic drug or lookalike substance and Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Finds the Howard Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Wilcox. Also finds Wilcox’s sentence is not inappropriate.

In re the Paternity of G.Y., Minor Child, C.R. v. A.Y. (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Remands the award of custody of G.Y. to his father, A.Y., for the trial court to consider the correct burden of proof based on the existing record and to issue an amended order. Finds the Grant Circuit Court improperly placed the burden on C.R., the mother, to show the proposed relocation was in the best interest of G.Y.