Opinions Feb. 21, 2020

Keywords Opinions

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinions were posted after IL Deadline Thursday:
In the Matter of M.S. (Minor Child in Need of Services); A.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services
19S-JC-505
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Hendricks Superior Court’s denial of mother A.C.’s motion to dismiss the child in need of services petition. Finds that although the factfinding in the case was concluded after the 120-day deadline set by Indiana Code § 31-34-11-1, the trial court had good cause to grant the mother’s request for a continuance, which ultimately put the matter beyond the statutory deadline. Pointing to precedent that holds a court rule will govern when a statute and rule conflict, notes that Rule 53.5 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure allows for the extension of the 120-day deadline if the party can show “good cause.” Finds A.C. presented “good cause” when she asked for the additional time in order to resolve a discovery dispute with the Danville Police Department and sift through more than 4,000 minutes of video evidence.

Derek Heuring v. State of Indiana
19S-CR-528
Criminal. Reverses the denial of Derek Heuring’s motion to suppress evidence found pursuant to a search warrant executed at his home and his father’s barn. Finds the warrants were invalid because the affidavits did not establish probable cause that a GPS tracking device placed on Heuring’s vehicle was stolen. Also finds the affidavits were so lacking in probable cause that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule does not apply. Finally, finds that under the exclusionary rule, the evidence seized from Heuring’s home and his father’s barn must be suppressed. Remands for further proceedings. 

Friday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jarmone Darrell Davis v. State of Indiana
19A-CR01925
Criminal. Affirms and reverses in part Jarmone Davis’ convictions of Level 5 felony corrupt business influence, Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit dealing in a narcotic drug of 10 grams or more and Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit dealing in methamphetamine of at least 10 grams or more, and his 36-year executed sentence. Finds sufficient evidence to sustain Davis’ conspiracy convictions, and finds those convictions do not violate double jeopardy principles under the actual evidence test. However, finds inappropriate and thus reverses Davis’ consecutive sentences for his Level 2 felony conspiracy to commit dealing convictions. Remands to the Tippecanoe Superior Court to issue a new sentencing order consistent with the opinion.

Clinton Loehrlein v. State of Indiana
19A-CR-737
Criminal. Reverses Clinton Loehrlein’s convictions of murder, two counts of Level 1 felony attempted murder, two counts of Level 3 felony aggravated battery and one count of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Finds a juror’s untruthful and misleading responses on the jury questionnaire constituted gross misconduct that harmed Loehrlein. Remands for a retrial. Judge L. Mark Bailey dissents with separate opinion.

Derrick Hicks v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1745
Criminal. Affirms Derrick Hicks’ aggregate 84-year sentence for Class A felony attempted child molesting, two counts of Class A felony child molesting, Class C felony child molesting, Class B felony rape, two counts of Class B felony incest and Class D felony battery. Finds Hick’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offenses and his character.

Mark A. Thacker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2057
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Mark Thacker’s petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal. Notes that Post-Conviction Rule 2(1) cannot be used to salvage a defendant’s late appeal of a denial of a motion to correct erroneous sentence. Finds that even if Thacker were allowed to bring a belated appeal, he would not be entitled to the substantive relief he seeks.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of R.S., T.C., and E.C. (Minor Children), and J.S. (Father) and M.S. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
19A-JT-2081
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father J.S. and mother M.S.’s parental rights to their minor children, R.S., T.C. and E.C. Finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not clearly err in determining that Department of Child Services presented clear and convincing evidence sufficient to support the termination of the parents’ parental rights.

Robert Doll III, Rebekah Doll, and Amanda Doll v. Samara Kester, D.O., and Porter Memorial Hospital (mem. dec.)
19A-CT-663
Civil tort. Affirms a jury verdict in favor of Dr. Samara Kester and Porter Memorial Hospital in a medical malpractice action arising from the death of Robert Doll III, Rebekah Doll and Amanda Doll’s father. Finds the Dolls have failed to establish that they were entitled to a proposed jury instruction.

In the Matter of the Adoption of M.J.F., A.S.F., J.M.F. II, and A.M.W.F. R.S.F. (Natural Mother) v. B.F. (Adoptive Mother) (mem. dec.)
19A-AD-1905
Adoption. Affirms the Vanderburgh Superior Court’s order granting the petition for adoption of mother R.S.F.’s children M.J.F., A.S.F., J.M.F. II and A.W.M.F in favor of their stepmother, B.F. Finds the trial court’s determination that R.S.F.’s consent for adoption was not required was supported by the evidence and was, therefore, not clearly erroneous.

Erik D. Flynn v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1757
Criminal. Affirms Erik Flynn’s conviction of Level 5 felony aiding trafficking in a controlled substance with an inmate. Finds that although the charging information and the probable cause affidavit were flawed because they failed to reference the Indiana Board of Pharmacy’s emergency rule listing Fluoro ADB as a prohibited substance, such flaw does not amount to fundamental error. Also finds sufficient evidence to support Flynn’s conviction.

Patrick McCartney v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1992
Criminal. Affirms Patrick McCartney’s conviction for Level 6 felony invasion of privacy. Finds it was not unreasonable for the jury to conclude that it was McCartney’s “conscious objective” for emails he sent to his son to be read by mother J.N. or at least that he was “aware of a high probability” that J.N. would read them.

L.C. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-JV-2294
Juvenile. Affirms the St. Joseph Probate Court’s order committing L.C. to the Department of Correction. Finds the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by placing L.C. in the custody of the DOC.

Martez McGraw v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-1029
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Martez McGraw’s probation. Finds that while the police failed to follow the clear and unambiguous terms of the warrant authorizing the search of McGraw’s mobile phone, and even if the Marion Superior Court had erred in admitting the photos, any error would be harmless and would not require a reversal of the trial court’s decision to revoke McGraw’s probation. Finds evidence existed of other probation violations, including McGraw being convicted of a new criminal offense. Also finds the transcript of the trial court’s reasons for revoking McGraw’s probation is sufficient to satisfy the due-process requirement of a written statement. Lastly, finds the order was not an abuse of discretion in the order for McGraw to serve seven years in the Department of Correction, four years in community corrections and threeyears on probation.

Charles Huffer v. Chelsy Huffer (mem. dec.)
19A-DR-1150
Domestic relation. Affirms and reverses in part the Carroll Circuit Court’s decree of dissolution of Charles Huffer’s marriage to Chelsy Huffer and its subsequent order on Charles’ motion to correct error. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it found Father in indirect contempt of court, in its division of the marital property or in ordering Charles to pay $3,000 in attorney fees. Vacates all of the findings purporting to apply to or support the determination of legal and physical custody of the children and remands for the trial court to enter appropriate and adequate findings that reflect what it determined to be true. Also vacates the portion of the order dealing with child support in the provisional order and Charles’ resulting arrearage, remanding for the trial court to enter findings and conclusions regarding his motion that are consistent with the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, and if a deviation is necessary, to enter findings supporting the deviation.

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