Opinions April 18, 2019

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Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana Hotel Equities, LLC v. Indianapolis Airport Authority

Civil plenary. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s ruling in favor of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, finding that Indiana Hotel Equities, LLC breached the parties’ lease agreement and that the Authority did not waive its ability to terminate the lease. Finds the trial court did not err by finding that the Authority did not waive its right to declare a forfeiture and terminate the lease.

Grady B. Jones and Susan R. Lockwood v. Oakland City University Founded by General Baptists, Inc. and Ray G. Barber
Civil plenary. Affirms the Gibson Superior Court’s entry of judgment on the pleadings for Oakland City University and Ray G. Barber against Grady Jones and Susan Lockwood. Finds the trial court did not err in entering judgment on the plaintiffs’ several claims because the alleged misrepresentations relied on by Jones and Lockwood were statements of current intentions made by OCU officers during their contract negotiations, which do not establish a basis for fraud.

Lora Brenner and Shawn Brenner v. All Steel Carports, Inc., All Steel Carports and Buildings, LLC, Chavez Real Estate and Ignacio Chavez
Civil collection. Reverses the Delaware Circuit Court’s dismissal of Lora and Shawn Brenner’s claims against Ignacio Chavez and Chavez Real Estate. Finds Ignacio and Chavez Real Estate failed to established lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and, therefore, the trial court improperly dismissed the Brenners’ claims.

Ronald Richardson v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Ronald Richardson’s conviction in Fayette Circuit Court of Level 4 felony dealing in a narcotic drug. The majority holds that trial court properly found that the state proffered a race-neutral reason for striking a potential African-American juror from the jury; the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting challenged evidence; Richardson was only convicted of one crime and, thus, was not subjected to double jeopardy; and that the evidence is sufficient to sustain his conviction. Judge Terry Crone concurs in part and in result but writes separately to express concerns over the Batson challenge regarding the potential racial motivation for striking a potential juror.

Essroc Cement Corp. v. Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals and Sierra Club
Civil plenary. Affirms the Clark Circuit Court’s order granting in part and denying in part Essrco Cement Corp.’s motion to correct error following the court’s affirmation of the Clark County Board of Zoning Appeals’ denial of a use variance. Finds the CCBZA correctly determined the Clark County Zoning Ordinance permits the storage, processing, and recycling of hazardous waste as alternative fuel for production only in the M3 zoning district. Accordingly, such activity is not available as an accessory use in the M2 zoning district. Because a first letter sent to Essroc was legally erroneous, Plan Commission staff had the authority to revoke that letter with a new letter that corrected its original error of law, and Essroc was not entitled to notice and a public hearing before that second letter was issued. As neither equitable estoppel nor federal pre-emption were raised before the CCBZA, those issues are unavailable during judicial review of the CCBZA’s decision.

Darion Lamar Bailey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Darion Bailey’s conviction for Level 2 Felony Possession of Methamphetamine with the Intent to Deliver, and the finding that he is a habitual offender. Finds the Vanderburgh Superior Court did not erroneously admit certain testimony and that there is sufficient evidence to prove he is a habitual offender.  

Joshua Ratliff v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joshua Ratliff’s conviction for murder. Finds there is sufficient evidence to overcome Ratliff’s claims of self-defense and sudden heat.

Patrick M. Dobson v. Bethany L. Dobson (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the St. Joseph Circuit Court’s division of property and attorney fees in the martial dissolution of Patrick and Bethany Dobson. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion with respect to marital dissipation and the order for Patrick to pay $20,000 of Bethany’s attorney fees. Reverses the trial court’s judgment for unpaid temporary maintenance. Remands the issue to the trial court to determine the proper amount in light of any monthly mortgage payments made by Patrick during the relevant time. Concludes Bethany is not entitled to attorney’s fees.

Darrell Davis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the LaPorte Superior Court’s denial of Darrell Davis’ requested that the trial court withhold judgment on his conviction for Level 3 felony child molesting and transfer the matter to the juvenile court pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-30- 1-4(c). Finds the trial court acted within its discretion with its denial.

Evan C. Reinhardt v. Melissa K. Betzner (mem. dec.)
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s order granting in denying in part Evan Reinhardt’s petition to modify parenting time and for a change of school for his son B.B. Finds the order was not clearly erroneous and that there is sufficient evidence to support the order.

Edward Lay v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the Marion Superior Court did not err in denying Edward Lay’s petition for post conviction relief. Finds it also did not err in concluding Lay’s trial counsel was not ineffective or in concluding Lay’s appellate counsel was not ineffective.

Justice K. Kiama v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Justice Kiama’s conviction for Level 6 felony residential entry. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give a jury instruction on criminal trespass as a factually-included, lesser offense of residential entry.

In the Matter of the Termination of Parental Rights of A.R. and M.R. (Minor Children), S.R. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of S.R.’s parental rights of her two minor children, A.R. and M.R. Finds there is no constitutional violation in Indiana’s burden of proof in TPR cases, despite S.R.’s argument to the contrary.

K.J. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms the Howard Circuit Court’s modification order placing K.J. in the care of the Department of Corrections. Finds that while the juvenile court did not enter adequate findings and conclusions in its modification order K.J. has failed to demonstrate that he was prejudiced as a result.

In the Matter of A.W. (Minor Child), Child Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services; J.W. (Mother) and J.B. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s adjudication of A.W. as a child in need of services. Finds the trial court’s decision to adjudicate A.W. was not clearly erroneous.

Joshua Miller v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joshua Miller’s conviction for Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court’s admission of certain evidence was harmless.

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