Opinions Dec. 22, 2021

Keywords Opinions

Court of Appeals of Indiana
Albert Guthery v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Albert Guthery’s convictions for dealing in cocaine as a Level 2 felony and dealing in methamphetamine as a Level 2 felony, and his sentence to an aggregate of 25 years, with 10 years executed in the Department of Correction, 10 years executed in community corrections and five years suspended, including three years of probation, enhanced by six years for being a habitual offender. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted evidence garnered from a traffic stop. Also finds Guthery’s sentences for dealing in meth and being a habitual offender did not constitute an impermissible double enhancement, nor is his sentence inappropriate in light of his offenses and his character.

Courtney L. Reece v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Courtney L. Reece’s motion to dismiss the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Finds Indiana Code § 35-47-4-5 is not void for vagueness as applied to Reece.

Richard Palmer v. Gregory Ake, Fas Pak, Inc., and Matthew Bernacchi
Civil tort. Reverses the order determining Richard Palmer was an employee of Fas-Pak Inc., rather than an independent contractor, resulting in the dismissal of Palmer’s complaint. Finds defendants Fas-Pak, Gregory Ake and Matthew Bernacchi have not sustained their burden to show that Palmer was an employee for purposes of the exclusive remedy rule. Remands for further proceedings.

Wendy Owen Payne v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Wendy Payne’s sentence to five years executed for her conviction of reckless homicide as a Level 5 felony. Finds Payne’s sentence was not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and her character.

Derek A. Whitt v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Derek Whitt’s conviction of voluntary manslaughter. Finds there is no error in Whitt’s final Instruction 27 or his verdict form, and even if there were, Whitt invited the error, and invited error is not fundamental error. Also finds there was sufficient evidence of Whitt acting under sudden heat to sustain his conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

Joshua Lewis Hartwell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joshua Lewis Hartwell’s conviction for possession of methamphetamine as a Level 5 felony. Finds the factors demonstrate that Hartwell was aware of the meth in the vehicle, and he had the capability and intent to maintain control and dominion over the contraband. Also finds the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction.

Alicia Cruz v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Alicia Cruz’s convictions for residential entry as a Level 6 felony and battery as a Class B misdemeanor. Finds the Cass Superior Court did not improperly limit defense counsel’s closing argument.

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