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Opinions May 31, 2018

May 31, 2018

Indiana Court of Appeals
Tyler Dale Knutson v. State of Indiana

12A04-1709-CR-2246
Criminal. Reverses the denial of Tyler Dale Knutson’s motion to dismiss his charge of Level 5 felony unlawful possession of a syringe. Finds the offense of unlawful possession of a syringe cannot be enhanced to a Level 5 felony based on a prior conviction pursuant to Indiana Code section 16-42-19-27, but can only be charged as a Level 6 felony. Remands with instructions to dismiss the Level 5 felony enhancement.

NIPSCO Industrial Group v. Northern Indiana Public Service Company and Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor
93A02-1711-EX-2735
Agency. Reverses the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s authorization of Northern Indiana Public Service Company to impose a rate increase based on total load on its utility customers. Finds the commission failed to comply with Indiana Code section 8-1-39-9(a)(1).
 
In the Matter of: Ad.M., An.M., and S.M. (Minor Children); A.M. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services
45A04-1711-JC-2634
Juvenile CHINS. Reverses the adjudication of A.M.’s three minor children, Ad.M., An.M. and S.M. as children in need of services. Finds the Department of Child Services did not present any evidence that the children’s physical or mental conditions were seriously impaired or endangered as a result of A.M.’s actions or inactions.

Marva Deskins Hamilton v. Michael Hamilton
29A02-1710-DR-2428
Domestic relation. Affirms the award of primary physical custody of L.H. to Michael Hamilton. Finds the Hamilton Superior Court did not abuse its discretion.

Matthew Johnson v. State of Indiana
79A05-1711-PC-2505
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of Matthew Johnson’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Johnson has not demonstrated his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to present a Proportionality Clause argument because the precedent existing at the time undermined the validity of Johnson’s proposed argument.
 
John W. Anthony v. State of Indiana
49A02-1712-CR-2859
Criminal. Reverses the determination that John W. Anthony violated Indiana Code section 9-19-19-3. Finds the state did not present any evidence to prove Anthony violated that statute.

Daniel Lopez-Castillo v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A03-1711-CR-2783
Criminal. Affirms Daniel Lopez-Castillo’s convictions of two counts of Level 4 felony child molesting and his aggregate 16-year sentence. Finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in the admission of evidence. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to sustain Lopez-Castillo’s convictions. Finally, finds Lopez-Castillo’s sentence is not inappropriately harsh.
 
Sarah R. Schnieb v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
08A02-1710-CR-2403
Criminal. Affirms the no-contact order issued as a condition of Sarah R. Schnieb’s probation. Finds the no-contact order serves the legitimate needs of law enforcement to keep Schnieb from possessing illegal drugs. Also finds the no-contact order does not unduly intrude on Schnieb’s constitutional right to raise her children with their father.
 
Brandon D. Mettler v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
35A02-1711-CR-2742
Criminal. Affirms Brandon D. Mettler’s convictions of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent causing death, Level 4 felony operating while under the influence of a controlled substance causing death, Level 5 felony neglect of a dependent and Level 6 felony neglect of a dependent, as well as his aggregate 64-year conviction. Finds sufficient evidence supports Mettler’s convictions of neglect of a dependent. Also finds the Huntington Circuit Court acted within its discretion it its treatment of aggravating factors. Finally, finds Mettler has failed to meet his burden of establishing that his sentence is inappropriate.

Thomas Sneed v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A03-1712-CR-2966
Criminal. Affirms Thomas Sneed’s 2½-year sentence, with 1½ years executed. Finds the Allen Superior Court properly sentenced Sneed, and the sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

Andrew Biggs v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
71A05-1709-CR-2128
Criminal. Affirms Andrew Biggs’ conviction of Class B felony rape. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate Biggs penetrated A.B.’s sex organ and that A.B. was unaware that sexual intercourse was occurring when it occurred.

Jacob M. Pasternac and Rainbow Community, Inc. v. Robert A. Harris, TWG Merrill, LLC, BPRS Green Acres, LLC, and Weiner Green Acres, LLC (mem. dec.)
46A05-1704-MI-816
Miscellaneous. Reverses the grant of a preliminary injunction to Robert A. Harris, TWG Merrill, LLC, BPRS Green Acres, LLC and Weiner Green Acres, LLC. Finds the LaPorte Superior Court failed to make findings of facts and conclusions thereon. Remands with instructions for the trial court to enter a new order containing findings of fact and conclusions thereon within 30 days.

James R. Martz, Sr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A03-1712-CR-2979
Criminal. Affirms James R. Martz, Sr.’s two-year sentence for his conviction of Level 6 felony possession of cocaine. Finds the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Martz. Also finds Martz’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.
 
Eddie J. Bates v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A05-1712-CR-2791
Criminal. Affirms Eddie Bates’ conviction of robbery while armed with a deadly weapon as a Level 3 felony and his habitual offender adjudication. Finds the principles of incredible dubiosity are inapplicable. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict Bates.
 
In Re the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: N.M., R.M., L.M. and T.M. (Minor Children) and R.B. (Mother), R.M. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
18A-JT-91
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of R.B. and R.M.’s parental rights to N.M., R.M., Jr., L.M. and T.M. Finds the Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to prove that termination of the parents’ parental rights is in the children’s best interests. Also finds the parents invited any claimed error in notice to the parties.

Darryl Abron v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1709-CR-2318
Criminal. Affirms Darryl Abron’s conviction of Level 6 felony theft. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support Abron’s conviction.

 

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