Opinions April 1, 2020

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Forrest Perkins v. Memorial Hospital of South Bend

20S-CT-233
Civil tort. Reverses and remands the St. Joseph Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment to Memorial Hospital of South Bend against former employee Forrest Perkins. Holds that the record, as currently developed, does not support summary judgment when the hearing officer departs from the regulations by failing to provide a subpoena. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter dissents with a separate opinion.

7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Matthew King v. Hendricks County Commissioner
19-2119
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge James R. Sweeney, II.
Civil. Affirms the Southern District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants against Matthew King, individually and as representative of the estate of Bradley King, deceased. Finds the district court did not err in granting summary judgment to the defendants who brought claims related to a fatal police shooting in Hendricks County.

Indiana Supreme Court
In the Matter of J.C. and R.C. (Minor Children); B.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, and Child Advocates, Inc.
20S-JT-235
Juvenile termination. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s finding also affirmed by the Court of Appeals that a parent is not entitled to dismissal of a termination of parental rights petition due to the juvenile court’s failure to complete a hearing within the statutorily required 180 days, where the parent affirmatively waived that requirement, thus inviting the alleged error for which she seeks dismissal. Finds relief is not available to B.C. (mother).

Indiana Court of Appeals
A.C. v. State of Indiana

19A-JV-2510
Juvenile. Affirms Hendricks Superior Court’s order awarding wardship of A.C. to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the court was within its statutory authority when it modified its original dispositional order and ordered wardship of A.C. to the DOC. Holds the juvenile statutory scheme does not require a suspended commitment to the DOC in order for a juvenile to be placed on probation.

ColFin Bulls Funding A, LLC v. GRTN, LLC (mem. dec.)
19A-TP-2007
Tax deed. Affirms the denial of ColFin Bulls Funding A, LLC’s motion to vacate a tax deed issued to GRTN, LLC for property located in Portage, Indiana. Finds ColFin has failed to establish that it was denied due process.

Herman Jeffrey Baker, et al. v. NextGear Capital, Inc. (mem. dec.)
19A-CC-2960
Civil collection. Reverses the Hamilton Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment to NextGear capital, Inc. upon a breach of contract claim
against CT 102 LLC d/b/a JD Byrider of New Haven, also d/b/a Metro
Motors, and guarantor Herman Jeffery Baker. Remands for an evidentiary hearing on damages.

Ronell L. Roberts v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1452
Criminal. Reverses the denial of Ronell Roberts’ pro se petition for post conviction relief. Remands the case to the post-conviction court with instructions to reinstate Roberts’s petition and proceed according to the post-conviction rules.

Garrett Bridges Chaffin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1286
Criminal. Affirms Garret Chaffin’s conviction of Level 1 felony attempted murder and two counts of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy. Finds any errors in failing to require the state to ask Caryn Burton hypothetical questions were harmless, that Chaffin failed to demonstrate that his defense or proposed evidence would have been harmed by amended charging information, and that Chaffin’s failure to object resulted in waiver of any right to a speedy trial, and he has failed to demonstrate error on that issue.

Switzerland County v. Review Board (mem. dec.)
19A-EX-2577
Agency. Affirms an order from the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that affirmed an administrative law judge’s decision to grant unemployment compensation benefits to a former Switzerland County employee. Finds the county voluntarily waived its right to appear at the hearing before the ALJ when it received actual notice of the telephonic hearing but did not follow the notice’s instructions, and therefore it received adequate due process before the ALJ. Finds the Review Board did not err in not conducting a hearing or accepting additional evidence.

Alan Karenke v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1194
Criminal. Affirms Alan Karenke’s nine-year sentence for conviction of Level 3 felony attempted rape, Level 6 felony criminal confinement, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Finds Karenke was not denied any of his constitutional rights. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in any of its rulings on the admission of evidence. Finds sufficient evidence supported his convictions, and that his sentence was not inappropriate.

Rita Taylor v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2517
Criminal. Affirms in part, reverses in part. Concludes that the state established beyond a reasonable doubt that Rita Taylor committed Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person. Also finds the trial court did not impermissibly sentence Taylor in her absence. Remands for the trial court to clarify its intent regarding whether it suspended the payment of any portion of Taylor’s probation fees and regarding the application of the sliding scale to those fees. Judge Elizabeth Tavitas concurs and dissents with separate opinion.

Scott M. Vaughn v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1293
Criminal. Affirms Scott Vaughn’s conviction of Level 3 felony dealing in methamphetamine, Level 6 felony possession of a syringe, and Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia. Finds any evidence improperly admitted was harmless error and that the state provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate Vaughn was not entrapped. Finds his sentence was not inappropriate.

Rahim Brumfield v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1581
Criminal. Affirms Rahim Brumfield’s murder conviction and the jury’s determination that he was eligible for a firearm sentencing enhancement. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the statements Brumfield made at the interview, or Facebook threats he made. Holds the trial court did not err in giving the transferred intent instruction.

John W. Schocke v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2086
Criminal. Affirms John Schocke’s aggregate 40-year sentence for conviction of Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine, Level 3 felony criminal confinement and a finding that he is a habitual offender. Finds sufficient evidence to support the convictions.

Jeremy Fager v. Sate of Indiana (mem.dec.)
19A-CR-2413
Criminal. Affirms Jeremy Fager’s convictions of Level 5 battery resulting in serious bodily injury, Level 6 felony strangulation, and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Finds sufficient evidence to rebut Fager’s self defense claim.

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