Opinions Feb. 19, 2020

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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL Deadline Tuesday.
United States of America v. Marvin Cates
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Senior Judge Robert L. Miller Jr.
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Marvin Cates’ motion to withdraw his guilty plea to possession a firearm with a prior felony conviction on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. Finds the record contains insufficient evidence to support Cates’ ineffective-assistance claim on direct appeal.

Indiana Court of Appeals

Mountain Trace Development, LLC v. Charles Spillman
Civil collection. Reverses an order of the Hamilton Superior Court denying Mountain Trace fees incurred in moving Charles Spillman’s property from a warehouse after he was found to have breached his lease agreement. Remands with instructions to include those damages in the judgment awarded to Mountain Trace.

Shield Global Partners-G1, LLC v. Lindsay Forster
Civil collection. Reverses the Monroe Circuit Court decision in favor of Lindsay Forster that denied Shield’s negligence action seeking damages for the inherent diminished value of a truck that was damaged and repaired after an accident in which Forster was at fault. Concludes the trial court’s findings are not supported by the evidence and that the court ignored uncontroverted evidence of the truck’s diminished value. Remands for proceedings.

Jacob M. Breda v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the Vigo Superior Court’s order revoking Jacob Breda’s placement in a community corrections work release program and requiring him to serve the balance of his suspended sentence in the custody of the Department of Correction. Finds Breda waived his argument by failing to present it to the trial court and that Indiana Code section 35-38-2.6-5 does not violate the constitutional separation of powers.

Brian Allen v. State of Indiana
Expungement. Reverses the Dearborn Superior Court’s denial of Brian Allen’s request for expungement of his criminal record pursuant to Indiana Code Section 35-38-9-4. Finds that because Allen was not ‘convicted of a felony that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person,’ he cannot be excluded from eligibility for expungement on that basis. Finds the trial court, therefore, was in error.

Damoine Wilcoxson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Damoine Wilcoxson’s 65-year sentence for conviction of murder. Finds Wilcoxson has waived the issue of whether the Boone Superior Court abused its discretion when it admitted the challenged evidence at trial. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it sentenced Wilcoxson.

Daryl Barthalow v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Daryl Barthalow’s conviction of Level 3 felony burglary. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction in Wayne Circuit Court.

N.T.D., A Child Alleged to Be a Delinquent v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms the Jennings Circuit Court’s modification of its dispositional order to order N.D. to be committed to the Department of Correction for housing in the Indiana Boys School. Finds the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered N.D. to be committed to the DOC.

James Edward Williams v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms in part James Williams’ convictions of Level 4 felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license, and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Finds a double jeopardy violation not remedied through the merger of convictions at sentencing. Remands to Hamilton Circuit Court with instructions to vacate the conviction for Level 5 felony conviction.

LeVohn Harrison Brown v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of LeVohn Brown’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Brown has failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of appellate counsel in Huntington Circuit Court.

Nancy Jo Coles v. Robert Nelson Coles, Jr. (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation. Affirms the Delaware Circuit Court’s grant of Robert Nelson Coles, Jr.’s petition to terminate an award of spousal maintenance. Finds trial court did not abuse its discretion.

Anthony Wampler v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Reverses the denial of Anthony Wampler’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds that because Wampler did not admit his guilt to each element of criminal trespass, the Knox Superior Court erred when it accepted his guilty plea. Remands with instructions to order that the plea agreement be vacated in its entirety.

Stephen A. Byrd, Sr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Stephen A. Byrd Sr.’s motion for return of property. Finds Byrd did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or his mother is the rightful owner of a phone he sought returned. Finds the denial by St. Joseph Superior Court was not clearly erroneous.

Nathan A. Thompson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Nathan Thompson’s aggregate 13-year sentence with two years suspended to probation for conviction of Class C felony misconduct with a minor, Class D felony sexual misconduct with a minor, and Level 5 felony child solicitation. Finds Thompson waived his right to appeal his sentence imposed in Clinton Circuit Court.

Jason B. Conn v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jason Conn’s conviction in Marion Superior Court of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Finds Jones’ testimony was corroborated by other evidence and was not incredibly dubious. Thus, sufficient evidence supports the trial court’s judgment.

Hiscox Insurance Company, Inc. v. Sandra Sanford and Midway Auction Company a/k/a Gilbert and Associates, LLC (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Morgan Superior Court’s denial of Hiscox Insurance Company, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment. Finds a genuine issue of material fact exists such that summary judgment in favor of Hiscox is inappropriate.

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