Opinions Dec. 13, 2023

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Court of Appeals of Indiana
In the Matter of the Paternity of A.J.L.B., a Minor by his next friend Grisel Bonilla Lemus v. Jaime Lazo Alvarenga
Juvenile paternity. Reverses the denial of mother Grisel Bonilla Lemus’ motions to correct error and to amend the pleadings to conform to the evidence seeking to amend the paternity petition to add a request for the findings required for special immigrant juvenile status. Finds the requested SIJ findings were before the Bartholomew Superior Court, so the court abused its discretion by denying the motion to correct error and the motion to amend the pleadings. Remands with instructions to grant the motions, allow amendment of the petition and amend the judgment to include the requested findings.

Justin Wilson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Justin Wilson’s convictions of Level 4 felony attempted child molesting and Level 5 felony child solicitation. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted E.P.’s forensic interview under the recorded recollection exception outlined in Rule 803(5). Also finds that any error in the admission of E.P.’s statement to her mother was harmless.

Antonio Lowery v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Antonio Lowery’s murder conviction and his 55-year sentence. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to instruct the jury about voluntary manslaughter. Also finds Lowery’s sentence is not inappropriate.

Zachary Hankins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Zachary Hankins’ convictions of five counts of Level 6 felony intimidation and his four-year sentence. Finds Hankins’ convictions are supported by sufficient evidence. Also finds the Morgan Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Hankins, and his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the offenses and his character.

Aaron Berry v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Aaron J. Berry’s placement on work release. Finds the Madison Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Berry to serve a portion of his remaining sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction.

In Re: The Trust of Lois Ann Christlieb and Trust of John C. Christlieb Kristine Bellinger v. Michael Christlieb and Patricia Snyder (mem. dec.)
Trust. Affirms the entry of summary judgment in favor of Michael Christlieb and Patricia Snyder on Kristine Bellinger’s objection to the DeKalb Superior Court’s approval of the final accounting filed by Christlieb and Snyder as trustees. Finds Bellinger has failed to satisfy her burden on appeal to show that the trial court erred when it concluded that her objection was time-barred, so the trial court did not err when it granted summary judgment for the trustees on that independent basis. Declines the trustees’ request for an award of appellate attorney fees.

Damien Keller v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC d/b/a Mr. Cooper (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Reverses the dismissal with prejudice of Damien Keller’s damages complaint against Nationstar Mortgage LLC d/b/a Mr. Cooper. Finds Keller was prejudiced by the Marion Superior Court’s failure to provide a rationale for granting a dismissal with prejudice. Remands with instructions for the trial court to enter a revised order which includes its basis for dismissal.

In the Matter of: The Termination of The Parent-Child Relationship of C.M.I., (Minor Child) C.I. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother C.I.’s parental rights to C.M.I. Finds the trial court did not clearly err in concluding that the conditions that resulted in the removal of C.M.I. from C.I.’s care are not likely to be remedied, that termination is in C.M.I.’s best interests, and that the Indiana Department of Child Services has a satisfactory plan for the care and treatment of C.M.I.

James Bledsoe v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms James Bledsoe’s four-year aggregate sentence for Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine and being a habitual offender. Finds Bledsoe has not met his burden to demonstrate that his sentence is inappropriate.

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