Opinions June 28, 2018

June 28, 2018

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were posted after IL deadline on Wednesday.
State of Indiana v. John B. Larkin

Criminal. Reverses the LaPorte Circuit Court’s dismissal of John Larkin’s charge of voluntary manslaughter. Finds that an outright dismissal of Larkin’s charges is an extreme remedy and inappropriate to the case. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in not applying State v. Taylor, 49 N.E.3d 1019. Remands to the trial court to weigh each piece of evidence to determine whether it was tainted by the State’s misconduct. Orders that the trial court, at its discretion, to either hold a hearing for the State to rebut the presumption of prejudice for any tainted evidence, or proceed to trial to attempt to meet its burden through offers of proof outside the presence of the jury.

Hamilton Southeastern Utilities, Inc. v. Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, et al.
Agency action. Reverses the Indiana Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the commission, holding the commission was a proper party to Hamilton Southeastern’s appeal in a rate case. Also reverses the COA’s exclusion of some of Hamilton Southeastern’s expenses without giving the commission an opportunity to defend its order, finding that ruling arbitrary. Remands with instructions for the COA to permit the commission to brief the issue. Summarily affirms the rest of the COA opinion.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Dorfman Property Management v. Tameka Edwards

Small claims. Affirms ruling that Dorfman Property Management return $1,213.48 of former tenant Tameka Edwards’ security deposit. Finds the Boone Superior Court did not clearly err in ordering the refund.

Kevin Shawn Carter v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Kevin Shawn Carter’s 36-year sentence for conviction of Level 2 felonies dealing in a narcotic drug and dealing in methamphetamine, as well as being a habitual offender. Finds the Vanderburgh Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting text messages procured from a search of Carter’s cell phone. Finds the court did not err in admitting a detective’s testimony.

Joel Frye v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joel Frye’s revocation of direct placement in home detention. Finds the Vigo Superior Court presented sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of M.N. (Minor Child): J.N. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of parental rights of J.N. to his minor child. Finds the Huntington Circuit Court’s judgement is not clearly erroneous. Finds there was sufficient evidence to support the termination is in the best interest of the child.

Glenn P. Staller and Glenda W. Staller v. Chunae Gallagher (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Reverses and remands in favor of Glenn and Glenda Staller, concluding they are entitled to recovery attorney’s fees. Finds the trial court erred in concluding that the Staller’s were not entitled to recover their attorney’s fees pursuant to the Purchase Agreement.