Opinions Dec. 19, 2017

December 19, 2017

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
In the Matter of: Philip H. Chamberlain

Disciplinary. Suspends Philip Chamberlain for at least three years without automatic reinstatement. Finds Chamberlain engaged in attorney misconduct by committing the crime of counterfeiting.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Destin Jones v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms Destin Jones’ convictions of attempted robbery and conspiracy to rob a Speedway gas station. Finds an abandonment defense was legally available on Jones’ attempt and conspiracy charges. Also finds the evidence is sufficient to support Jones’ convictions.

Indiana Court of Appeals
E.B. v. State of Indiana

Juvenile. Reverses the juvenile court’s determination that E.B. was a delinquent child for committing an act that would have constituted intimidation of Todd Tanksley if committed by an adult. Affirms the juvenile court’s delinquency adjudication as to E.B.’s second act of intimidation, interfering with the occupancy of a school. Finds E.B.’s conduct with regard to Tanksley does not meet the statutory definition of intimidation due to lack of evidence regarding whether he communicated a threat. Also finds there was sufficient evidence from which the finder of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that E.B. intended to commit intimidation through interfering with the occupancy of his high school.

Lori Barcroft v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses Lori Barcroft’s convictions for murder and a sentencing enhancement for the unlawful use of a firearm in the commission of an offense. Finds the evidence that is of probative value is without conflict and leads only to the conclusion that Barcroft was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of her conduct and was, thus, insane at the time of the offense. Remands for the Marion Superior Court to enter a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity. Judge Elaine Brown dissents with separate opinion.

Edward John Meiggs v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Edward Meiggs’ conviction for Level 3 felony rape. Finds the Vanderburgh Superior Court did not err in the exclusion of certain evidence, providing a supplemental jury instruction or providing a sentencing statement. Also finds there was no prosecutorial misconduct.

Robert J. Szabo, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Robert J. Szabo Jr.’s conviction for Level 5 felony burglary. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted photos of video surveillance footage at trial and did not err when it refused to give Szabos’ tendered jury instruction on criminal trespass. Also finds the evidence presented to the jury was sufficient to sustain Szabo’s conviction. Finally, finds Officer Joel Cyrier’s testimony during trial did not amount to a Doyle violation.

Cleetus Nickson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Cleetus Nickson’s conviction for carrying a handgun without a license as a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the state presented evidence of a probative nature from which a reasonable trier of fact could have determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Nickson carried a handgun without a license. Also finds Nickson failed to meet his burden to demonstrate he possessed a valid license.

Timothy Ottis Hale v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Timothy Hale’s conviction for Level 4 felony causing death when operating a vehicle with an ACE of .15 or more.  Vacates Hales’ conviction of Level 5 felony causing death when operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Finds Hale did not receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel. Also finds sua sponte that double jeopardy principles prohibit both of Hale’s convictions from standing. Remands to the Warrick Superior Court with instructions to enter an amended abstract of judgment and an amended sentencing order.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of Ad.C. and Al.C., Minor Children, C.C., Sr., Father, and T.C., Mother v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of C.C., Sr. and T.C.’s parental rights to their daughters, Ad.C. and Al.C. Finds the Lake Superior Court’s judgment terminating the parents’ rights was supported by clear and convincing evidence.

In re the Paternity of N.R., Selena G. Robey v. Susan Beetham (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Morgan Circuit Court’s grant of a petition to change the last name of Selena Robey’s minor son, N.R., to that of his late father. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the petition.

John Dickson, II v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms John Dickson, II’s convictions for Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor and Class A misdemeanor public indecency. Finds the Vigo Superior Court did not err by failing to interrogate a holdout juror after a verdict had been reached, or to take any other remedial action. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Dickson’s motion to correct error.

Derek Carter v. Keith Butts, Warden of the New Castle Correctional Facility (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms the grant of summary disposition in favor of the state on Derek Carter’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Carter’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to prove he violated his parole is without merit because he admitted to violating the terms of his parole. Also finds any error related to Carter’s claimed lack of an opportunity to present a defense is, at most, harmless.

Mouhamadou M. Sow v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Mouhamadow Sow’s sentence to an aggregate of four years for his convictions of  Level 3 felony operating a motion vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury and leaving the scene and two counts of Level 6 felony OVWI causing serious bodily injury. Finds the Hendricks Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in its consideration of mitigating factors. Also finds Sow’s sentence is not inappropriate.

Elijah D. Cook v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses the sentence imposed on Elijah Cook after his fourth probation violation. Finds the Howard Superior Court erred in calculating the balance of Cook’s previously-suspended sentence t be 689 days. Remands with instructions to credit Cook with at least five days on the balance of the suspended sentence and to consider whether other credit is due based on unrelated cases.

Damian M. Coleman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Damian M. Coleman’s felony murder conviction. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support Coleman’s conviction.

Roger A. Burris, II v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Roger Burris’ probation. Finds the Greene Superior Court’s order revoking Burris’ probation and accompanying abstract of judgment unambiguously terminated his probation.

Tyra Shante Sanders v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Tyra Shante Sanders’ probation and order for her to serve the remainder of her suspended sentence in the Department of Correction. Finds the evidence was sufficient to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Sanders was notified that her GPS unit died shortly after community corrections placed a call to her residence. Also finds Sanders violated her probation by failing to keep the GPS unit charged.

Craig Vickery v. Ardagh Glass Inc. (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Denies Craig Vickery’s petition for rehearing and for oral argument on rehearing. Finds the original decision stands in all other respects. Advises appellant counsel to use more respectful and measured language toward the Indiana Court of Appeals in the future.

J.B. Whitelow, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of J.B. Whitelow, Jr.’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds the post-conviction court did not clearly err in rejecting Whitelow’s claims of ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel.

Leonard A. Taylor, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of Leonard A. Taylor, Jr.’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Taylor was not subjected to ineffective assistance of counsel. Also finds Taylor’s guilty plea was not illusory.