Opinions Feb. 20, 2023

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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline on Friday:
United States of America v. Daquwon Richardson
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.
Criminal. Affirms Daquwon Richardson’s conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm and his sentence as an armed career criminal to 15 years. Finds no error. Modifies the judgment to reflect that Richardson was convicted by the jury, not pursuant to a guilty plea.

Monday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Jennifer L. Tutt v. Evansville Police Department
Miscellaneous. Reverses the entry of summary judgment for the Evansville Police Department on Jennifer L. Tutt’s complaint alleging the department violated the Indiana Access to Public Records Act. Finds Title 9 of Indiana Code allows a fee to inspect an accident report, but it does not authorize a fee to inspect the report. Remands for the Vanderburgh Superior Court to enter summary judgment for Tutt.

J.B. v. State of Indiana
Juvenile. Reverses J.B.’s adjudication as a delinquent child for committing an act that, if committed by an adult, would be Level 4 felony child molesting. Finds fundamental error occurred when a videotaped interview was entered into evidence to prove the commission of a delinquent act because the state failed to provide a viable exception for the admission of the hearsay contained therein, because J.B. was not provided an opportunity to confront and cross-examine the only witness against him, and because the videotaped interview contained the only evidence of the elements of the delinquent act alleged. Remands for further proceedings.

Jaspreet Singh v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Reverses Jaspreet Singh’s conviction of Level 5 felony reckless homicide and his six-year sentence. Finds the excluded evidence was relevant and it was reversible error to exclude the Snapchat and distracted driving evidence. Remands for the careful drafting of instructions to alleviate any potential for prejudice or confusion that might arise depending upon what evidence the state and the defense present.

Mark A. Wilson v. Teresa C. Wilson
Domestic relations with children. Reverses the dissolution decree in the marriage of Mark A. and Teresa C. Wilson. Remands to the Hendricks Superior Court to either follow the statutory presumption or set forth its rationale for deviating from the presumption that an equal division is just and reasonable. Also remands to determine and make findings as to whether child E.’s overall financial needs are satisfied in whole or in part by the Social Security benefits she receives, and for entry of Mark’s support obligation which, if appropriate, includes an adjustment for the income E. receives in Social Security benefits.

Michael E. Hawkins, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael E. Hawkins Jr.’s convictions of Level 5 felony domestic battery and Class A misdemeanor interfering with reporting of a crime. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not abuse its discretion or commit reversible error in the admission of evidence.

Gerald Leroy Thompson, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the order for Gerald Leroy Thompson Jr. to pay a $1,000 public defender fee after he pleaded guilty to Level 3 felony rape. Finds the Greene Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in disbursing funds.

Devon Aaron Moore v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Devon Moore’s convictions of two counts of Level 3 felony child molesting. Finds the Hamilton Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Moore’s convictions.

Ian Forbes v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Ian Forbes’ convictions of Level 3 felony rape and Level 5 felony criminal confinement and his sentence to an aggregate of 15 years, with three years suspended. Finds evidence of probative value was presented from which a reasonable jury could find beyond a reasonable doubt that Forbes was guilty of rape and criminal confinement. Also finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Forbes. Remands with instructions to correct the sentencing order and abstract of judgment to note the concurrent sentence on Count II.

Michael Nixon v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael Nixon’s conviction of Class B misdemeanor public nudity. Finds the evidence was sufficient to support Nixon’s conviction.

Joseph A. Tindall v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses in part Joseph A. Tindall’s convictions of domestic battery. Finds the Marion Superior Court was required to vacate Count II. Also finds the written sentencing order contains a scrivener’s error. Remands with instructions to vacate Tindall’s conviction of domestic battery as a Level 6 felony under Count II and to amend the abstract of judgment and sentencing order accordingly; to correct the sentencing order to state, “For every 12 hours not completed, court will order defendant to serve 1 day in jail.”; and to determine whether Tindall served in excess of his sentence on the criminal confinement conviction, determine any appropriate adjustment and amend the abstract of judgment and sentencing order accordingly.

Stephanie M. Seabeck v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Stephanie M. Seabeck’s conviction of Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine. Finds that even if the Posey Circuit Court erroneously admitted a recorded jail conversation, any error was harmless because there was substantial independent evidence without the challenged evidence to conclude that Seabeck conspired with Zach Addison to commit dealing in meth. Also finds the jury was properly instructed on the state’s burden and understood that the state was required to prove each element of the offense charged.

John Garbarini v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the order for John Garbarini to serve almost the entirety of his previously suspended sentence in the Department of Correction after his probation was revoked. Finds the Ripley Superior Court did not abuse its discretion.

Matthew Goodman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the order for Matthew Goodman to serve a portion of his previously suspended four-year sentence in the Department of Correction. Finds the Scott Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion.

Jami Blankenhorn v. John Blankenhorn (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations no children. Affirms and reverses in part the division of the marital estate between Jami and John Blankenhorn. Finds the Marion Superior Court erred when it included only the appreciation value of the ROTH IRA account and life insurance benefits in the marital pot, rather than the full value of those assets at the time of the dissolution action. Also finds the trial court erred when it failed to include John’s pension in the martial pot and when it included in the marital pot the full amount of equity on the Texas property rather than John’s half of that equity. Finally, finds the trial court did not err when it found that the marital pot should be distributed equally between the parties. Remands for the trial court to reassess the value of the marital property.

Peter N. Myma v. Wendy A. Wroe (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms the Brown Circuit Court’s orders on multiple issues regarding Peter N. Myma’s ongoing custody and parenting time dispute with Wendy A. Wroe. Finds Myma has failed to demonstrate prima facie error.

Matthew McClellan v. Laura B. McClellan (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms the denial of Matthew McClellan’s petition to modify his child support obligation. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion.

M.B. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms the decision to grant wardship of M.B. to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the St. Joseph Probate Court’s decision that it was in M.B.’s best interests to be placed in the DOC was not clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court or the reasonable, probable and actual deductions to be drawn therefrom.

L.H. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Juvenile. Affirms the grant of wardship of L.H. to the Indiana Department of Correction. Finds the Dearborn Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion.

In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: C.D. C.D. v. St. Vincent Hospital and Health Center, Inc. d/b/a St. Vincent Stress Center (mem. dec.)
Mental health. Reverses the order involuntarily committing C.D. to St. Vincent Hospital and Health Center Inc. Finds the commitment is not supported by sufficient evidence. Remands for the order to be vacated. Judge Patricia Riley dissents and votes to dismiss as moot, without separate opinion.

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