Opinions Feb. 28, 2023

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline on Monday:
In the Matter of Clinton A. Hardesty
22S-DI-290
Attorney discipline. Suspends Clinton A. Hardesty from the practice of law in Indiana for at least two years without automatic reinstatement. Finds Hardesty committed attorney misconduct by repeatedly failing to appear for scheduled court hearings.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Charlie D. Leshore, Jr. v. State of Indiana
23S-CR-51
Criminal. Grants transfer and reverses the denial of Charlie Leshore’s post-conviction petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal. Finds Leshore was not at fault in failing to file a timely notice of appeal. Also finds Leshore was diligent in pursuing his belated notice of appeal. Remands with instructions to let Leshore’s appeal proceed. Justice Christopher Goff dissents with separate opinion, joined by Justice Geoffrey Slaughter.

Court of Appeals of Indiana
In Re: The Adoption of E.E.; R.P. (Father) v. E.C.
22A-AD-732
Adoption. Affirms the order granting E.C.’s petition to adopt E.E., the child of father R.P. Finds R.P.’s consent to the adoption was valid.

Grace O. Akinlemibola v. National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, 2007-1
21A-CC-2928
Civil collections. Affirms the entry of summary judgment in favor of National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-1 on its breach of contract claim resulting from Grace Akinlemibola’s failure to repay the principal and interest she owes on an educational loan. Finds there exists no genuine issue of material fact to preclude summary judgment.

Vosetat, LLC v. Swati Singh and Samuel H. Bullard (mem. dec.)
21A-PL-888
Civil plenary. Affirms the Boone Superior Court’s orders ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Vosetat, Swati Singh and Samuel Bullard, the parties’ motions to strike portions of the other party’s designated evidence used in support of the respective parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment and their motions to strike. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when ruling on the parties’ motions to strike or err in its summary judgment rulings.

Christian O. Rentas Benitez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2427
Criminal. Affirms Christian O. Rentas Benitez’s convictions of two counts of child molesting. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not err in excluding evidence of prior allegations that Benitez wished to introduce. Also finds fundamental error did not occur when the trial court discussed possible sanctions it could impose for willful violation of its previous order prior to Benitez testifying.

Ismael Rosa Reyes v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-2400
Criminal. Affirms Ismael Rose Reyes’ conviction of Class A misdemeanor intimidation. Finds the Marion Superior Court properly weighed the evidence and determined beyond a reasonable doubt that Reyes, intending to place Araceli Jimenez in fear for denying his lease application, had threatened her.

Tanya M. Johnson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-2418
Criminal. Affirms Tanya M. Johnson’s 300-day executed sentence that was imposed following her conviction for Class A misdemeanor trespass. Finds the Parke Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Johnson. Also finds Johnson has not shown that her 300-day sentence is inappropriate in light of either the nature of her offense or her character.

Brian Eskridge v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-1027
Criminal. Affirms Brian Eskridge’s convictions of three counts of child molestation, Class A felonies, and his three consecutive, maximum sentences that total 150 years. Finds the Porter Superior Court did not err in declining to sanction the state for failing to disclose F.E.’s statements before trial. Also finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Eskridge’s convictions. Finally, finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion by sentencing Eskridge to three consecutive, maximum sentences, and his sentences are not inappropriate pursuant to Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B).

Devonta Lashawn Roberts v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-2018
Criminal. Affirms Devonta Roberts’ sentence to an aggregate of 120 years for two counts of murder. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion at sentencing.

Scott T. Ralph v. Laura M. Ralph (mem. dec.)
22A-DR-1973
Domestic relations. Affirms the order denying father Scott Ralph’s petition to modify child support. Finds the Hendricks Superior Court did not clearly err.

A.Y. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JC-2025
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of father A.Y.’s daughter, A.L.Y., as a child in need of services. Finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not err.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.H. (Minor Child) and K.H. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JT-2251
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother K.H.’s parental rights to K.H. Finds the St. Joseph Probate Court did not err.

In Re: The Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.G. (Minor Child); R.G. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JT-2262
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father R.G.’s parental rights. Finds the Huntington Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied R.G.’s motion to continue.

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