Opinions Aug. 16, 2019

Keywords Opinions

The following Indiana tax Court appeal was posted after IL deadline Thursday.
Switzerland County Assessor v. Belterra Resort Indiana, LLC
Tax. Grants Belterra Resort Indiana LLC’s “Motion for Enforcement of Decision and For Order to Show Cause.” Finds the Indiana Tax Court has subject matter jurisdiction. Orders the Indiana Board of Tax Review to verify and provide written notice to the parties that the corrected assessments comply with the Tax Court’s instructions for correcting the assessments in its May 24, 2018, decision.

Friday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Willie J. Bailey v. State of Indiana

Criminal. Affirms Willie Bailey’s convictions of Level 2 felony counts of dealing in cocaine and dealing in narcotic drug; Level 6 felony counts of possession of a narcotic drug and felony escape for knowingly violating a home detention order; Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana; and the Marion Superior Court’s habitual offender sentencing enhancement. Finds Bailey’s rights were not violated in searches of his vehicle at a gas station or two addresses associated with him; that the warrant authorizing those searches was supported by probable cause; that the evidence connecting Bailey with drugs found at those homes was sufficient to support his conviction; and that prosecutors’ closing arguments were not fundamental error. 

Donna J. Hamilton v. Robert D. Hamilton
Domestic relations. Affirms the Monroe Circuit Court’s grant of Robert Hamilton’s estate’s motion for summary judgment and the denial of Donna Hamilton’s motion for summary judgment on her claims to Robert’s individual retirement account. Finds the trial court did not err in not striking portions of two affidavits included in the estate’s designated materials, or in its summary judgment decisions.

Metropolitan Development Commission v. Worth Outdoor LLC
Ordinance violation. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Worth Outdoor LLC, which was sued by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission over its conversion of a billboard from a static to digital display. Finds Worth Outdoor did not comply with city codes requiring a permit from the MDC to alter the sign. Remands for trial. 

Paul Trice v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Paul Trice’s petition for jail time credit. Finds that because Trice provided information to the Marion Superior Court showing he had received the good time credit he was seeking, the trial court properly denied his petition.

Kevin Heckel v. Tammy Heckel (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms and reverses in part the Spencer Circuit Court’s order dissolving Kevin and Tammy Heckel’s marriage. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dividing the marital estate equally and in summarily finding Tammy’s witnesses more credible than Kevin’s, but erred in excluding certain assets from the estate and in failing to rule on Tammy’s contempt petition. Remands with instructions to include the challenged assets in the marital estate, equalize the estate accordingly and issue a ruling on Tammy’s contempt petition.

Steven Robbins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Grant’s Steven Robbin’s petition for rehearing for the limited purpose of correcting two statements made in June 13, 2019, Indiana Court of Appeals decision. The court’s original ruling stands, and the petition for rehearing in all other respects is denied.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: J.N. (Minor Child), and A.N. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother A.N.’s parent-child relationship with J.N., finding there is sufficient evidence to support the order.

Gary Allen Brownfield v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the Vermillion Circuit Court’s order denying Gary Brownfield’s motion to suppress certain evidence, arguing a pat-down search violated both the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution. Finds the trial court did not err when it denied Brownfield’s motion to suppress and that a search of Brownfield was reasonable under Article 1, Section 11. Also finds the court need not consider arguments as to whether Brownfield consented to the pat-down search.

Keevin G. Rassi v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses Keevin Rassi’s conviction for Class B misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident for insufficient evidence. Affirms Rassi’s Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated conviction and one-year suspended sentence. Finds his OWI conviction if supported by sufficient evidence, and he failed to establish that his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Elson Ford, Jr. v. The Oaks Academy (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s award of summary judgment in favor of The Oaks Academy and Elizabeth Hamilton against Elson Ford., Jr. Finds the Oaks Academy made a prima facie showing that it had not entered into an agreement which required it to release Ford’s child to him or to permit him to participate in field trips after it received a copy of the order for protection issued by the Marion Superior Court and before it received the paternity court documents. Also finds Ford did not respond with evidence showing The Oaks Academy had such an agreement with him.

Manford F. Girten Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms and reverses in part Manford F. Girten Jr.’s convictions of Level 3 felony rape, Level 6 felony criminal confinement, Level 6 felony strangulation and three counts of Class A misdemeanor invasion of privacy, and his aggregate 21-year sentence. Finds the three minor violations of the order in limine were harmless in light of substantial evidence of the record. Also finds Girten’s claim of a double jeopardy violation regarding his criminal confinement conviction fails because the jury was told to rely on evidence of confinement that was separate from the confinement that occurred during the rape. Finally, finds Girten’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense and his character. Vacates the strangulation conviction because the strangulation occurred during the act of rape.

David A. Dowty v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms David Dowty’s one-half year sentence for three counts of Level 6 felony forgery, served consecutively to his sentence imposed under another cause. Finds Dowty’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Heather Gutzwiller v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the Ripley Superior Court’s order that Heather Gutzwiller serve the remainder of her sentence incarcerated after she violated probation. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Gutzwiller to serve the remainder of her suspended sentence.

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