Opinions Feb. 10, 2021

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Tuesday:
Cooper’s Hawk Indianapolis, LLC d/b/a Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant v. Katherine Ray
Civil tort. Grants transfer and dismissal Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant’s appeal of the Marion Superior Court’s grant of summary judgment to Katherine Ray on her negligence complaint stemming from a slip-and-fall accident. Finds there are no extraordinarily compelling reasons to restore the forfeited untimely appeal. Remands to the trial court for further proceedings.

Wednesday’s opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Emery Brown v. Brent Eaton, Hancock County Prosecutor

Miscellaneous. Reverses the Hancock Superior Court judgment ordering the forfeiture of $32,284 in cash seized by the Fortville Police Department during a traffic stop of Emery Brown’s vehicle. Finds the state failed to put forth sufficient evidence at trial to establish a nexus between the cash confiscated from Brown and a drug dealing operation. Remands for a new evidentiary hearing because the trial court erroneously excluded data retrieved from Brown’s cellphone on the basis that officers did not timely execute the search warrant. On remand, the trial court during the new hearing should exclude Brown’s pre-Miranda statements from evidence.

S.G. v. R.B. (mem. dec.)
Adoption. Affirms the order granting R.B.’s petition to adopt S.G.’s minor daughter, M.G. Finds that the evidence supports the Elkhart Superior Court’s conclusions that father failed to have significant communication with M.G. without justifiable cause for more than one year when able to do so and the adoption was in M.G.’s best interests. Concludes the trial court did not clearly err in granting stepfather’s petition to adopt M.G.

Monte Endris, et al. v. Hubler Chevrolet Inc. (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s grant of partial summary judgment to Hubler Chevrolet, Inc. on payroll deduction claims made against it by Hubler sales associates. Finds that because there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding the scope of Hubler’s wage obligations and that the trial court improvidently granted partial summary judgment, reverses and remands for further proceedings.

John D. Randall v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms John D. Randall’s conviction of Level 6 felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated, elevated due to a prior conviction, as well as Level 6 felony obstruction of justice and a finding that he is a habitual vehicular substance offender. Finds sufficient evidence in Adams Superior Court to prove that he had the required prior unrelated convictions.

Dwayne Loney v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Dwayne Loney’s conviction in Clark Circuit Court of possession of a schedule III controlled substance, a Level 6 felony, and carrying a handgun without a license, a Class A misdemeanor. Finds that neither offense is included in the other, either inherently or charged. Therefore, finds no violation of double jeopardy.

Melanie Dawn Pierce v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Remands with an order for further proceedings in Crawford Circuit Court regarding the revocation of Melanie Pierce’s probation. Finds Pierce was denied her due process rights as a probationer in revocation proceedings when the trial court failed to provide a reason for the revocation decision.

Norman G. Trent v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Norman G. Trent’s conviction for Class B misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of hashish. Finds there was probable cause to support the issuance of a search warrant and therefore the subsequent admission of the evidence by the Montgomery Superior Court was not error. Also finds the admission of testimony regarding the narcotics analysis reagent kit test results was harmless error. Lastly, finds no fundamental error.

Termination: H.B., et al. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of H.B. and J.F.’s parental rights to their minor children, A.F. and T.F. Given parents’ inability to provide appropriate care and supervision for children, finds the Knox Superior Court did not err in concluding that termination of the parent-child relationship was in the children’s best interest. Finds the Department of Child Services presented clear and convincing evidence to support the juvenile court’s determination to terminate parents’ parental rights.

Jack Ferman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Affirms the denial of Jack Ferman’s motion to dismiss the state’s civil forfeiture action against him. Agrees with the Fayette Superior Court’s decision that the state complied with the requirements of I.C. § 34- 24-1-2(b) in that the state filed a probable cause affidavit in support of forfeiture of the money within the statutorily-required time.

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