Opinions April 8, 2019

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Indiana Court of Appeals
Michael Hickingbottom v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Reverses Michael Hickingbottom’s six-year sentence for conviction of Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a public safety officer. Finds the Miami Superior Court abused its discretion when it denied Hickingbottom’s motion for mistrial. Finds the state failed to produce the Indiana Department of Correction manual that contains policies and procedures on the use of force by DOC officers. Remands for a new trial with instructions for the DOC to produce the manual to the state before any subsequent proceedings take place, so Hickingbottom can review and utilize it.

William Washburn v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms William Washburn’s convictions of Level 5 felony possession of methamphetamine and Level 6 felony possession of a syringe. Finds the Clark Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence items seized during the warrantless search of a locked safe found in Washburn’s car. Finds the search did not violate his rights under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

Versal W. Strunk v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Vacates Versal Strunk’s 50-year sentence as a credit-restricted felon for his conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds that while an enhanced sentence is appropriate, the maximum 50-year sentence is not. Revises Strunk’s sentence to 35 years executed as a credit-restricted felon and remands the case to the trial court with instructions to enter that sentence.

David Scudder v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the denial of David Scudder’s petition to reduce his conviction of Class D felony official misconduct to a Class A misdemeanor. Finds the Decatur Circuit Court correctly found that it did not have the statutory authority to reduce Scudder’s official misconduct conviction.

David D. Battles v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms David Battle’s aggregate 11-year sentence for conviction of Level 6 felony criminal recklessness. Finds there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction and that the sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Jason Bishop v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jason Bishop’s conviction of Level 6 felony maintaining a common nuisance. Finds the Jay Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it entered judgment of conviction for maintaining a common nuisance as a Level 6 felony rather than as a Class A misdemeanor.

Thomas Dusek and Berkshire Implement Co Inc. v. Berkshire Liquidating Company f/k/a Berkshire Implement Co., Inc. (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Affirms the Cass Superior Court’s determination that Thomas Dusek and Berkshire Implement Co. Inc. committed civil deception against Berkshire Liquidating Company. Also affirms the trial court’s order that Dusek pay damages and attorney fees. Finds there is sufficient evidence to establish Dusek committed civil deception under Indiana Code section 35-43-5-3. Also finds Dusek failed to show that the denial of his motion for continuance prejudiced his attorney’s ability to challenge BLC’s proposed attorney fee award. Finds no abuse of discretion. Denies BLC’s motion to dismiss Dusek’s appeal.

In re the Adoption of W.L.: D.L. v. C.C. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Affirms the Vanderburgh Superior Court did not err in concluding that father D.L.’s consent of the adoption of his son to stepfather C.C. was not required pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-19-9-8(a)(2).

Troy Mace v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Troy Mace’s convictions of Level 3 felony child molesting and Level 4 felony child molesting. Finds the Brown Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury that the state was not required to prove that Mace knew the age of the victim.

Sean Piatt v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Sean Piatt’s conviction of Level 6 felony criminal confinement, Level 6 felony impersonation of a public servant, and Class B misdemeanor battery. Finds there is sufficient evidence to sustain his conviction for impersonation of a public servant, specifically a police officer.

Leonard E. Standifer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Leonard Standifer’s convictions of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Finds Standifer procedurally defaulted his constitutional claims. Finds his claims of whether the trial court erred in admitting a firearm and paraphernalia into evidence at trial cannot be raised for the first time in a reply brief.

In the Matter of the Paternity of Kierstyn Maria LaMar: Eric D. Smith v. Shanna M. Lamar (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Dismisses Eric Smith’s appeal of the Shelby Superior Court’s order establishing child support, custody and visitation in his paternity action regarding his child with Shanna M. LaMar. Finds there is an insufficient record to determine whether the trial court abused its discretion.

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