Opinions Jan. 18, 2022

Keywords Opinions

Indiana Supreme Court
State of Indiana v. Conner Katz
Criminal. Reverses on direct appeal the Steuben Circuit Court’s dismissal of an appeal brought by Conner Katz after he was charged under Indiana Code section 35-45-4-8 with Class A misdemeanor distribution of an intimate image, finding that the statute violates state and federal constitutions. Justices unanimously disagree, concluding that the state sufficiently alleged an offense and that the statute is constitutional. Remands for further proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Court of Appeals of Indiana
Robert E. Duff and Lydia Rockey v. Brian Rockey
Domestic relation. Reverses and remands the Hamilton Circuit Court’s disqualification of attorney Robert E. Duff as counsel for Lydia Rockey in her post-dissolution issues with Brian Rockey. Finds that because the basis for Duff’s first disqualification regarding representing Lydia in a prior parenting-time matter no longer existed, the trial court abused its discretion in disqualifying the ex-husband from representing Lydia on the latter child-support matter.

Pardeep Sidhu v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Affirms Marion Superior Court’s denial of a motion for a mistrial by Pardeep Sidhu after he was sentenced to three years, with 324 days credit for time served and 672 days suspended to probation, for Level 5 felony battery by means of a deadly weapon.  Finds a witness’ statement about prior alleged incidents was “extremely vague” and therefore likely did not affect the jury’s verdict. Finds the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion.

Damon T. Gee v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Affirms the Grant Superior Court’s denial of a motion to modify Damon T. Gee’s 40-year sentence after he was convicted of five felonies and determined to be a habitual offender. Finds Gee failed to timely appeal the appropriateness of his sentence. Finds Gee hasn’t shown he is an eligible defendant entitled to a belated appeal under Post-Conviction Rule 2.  Concludes the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

J.S. v. L.S., D.S. and R.S. (mem. dec.)
Order of protection. Reverses a protective order barring father J.S. from having contact with his three children, L.S., D.S. and R.S., issued in May 2021. Finds the protective-order actions are barred because mother Ja.S. filed a similar petition in February 2021 and had it denied. Remands to the Grant Superior Court to vacate the protective order. Concludes if the mother still has concerns about the father having therapeutic visits or other contact with the children, she can raise those concerns in the CHINS cases that remain pending in Grant Superior 2.

Child Relationship of: C.R. & K.R. (Minor Children) And L.R. (Father) & S.R. (Mother), Appellant-Respondents, v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Randolph Circuit Court’s termination of parental rights of L.R. and S.R. to their children C.R. and K.R. Finds the majority of the challenged findings of fact are supported by the record and any erroneous findings did not prejudice the parents. Finds sufficient evidence showed that there is a reasonable probability that the reasons for the children’s removal will not be remedied and that termination of parental rights is in the children’s best interests. Concludes the juvenile court’s decision was not clearly erroneous.

Jamie Lee Wilson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal.  Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s revocation of Jamie Lee Wilson’s probation. Finds that prior to her admission to violating the terms of probation and community corrections, Wilson was not advised of any rights other than her right to representation by counsel, thus the trial court committed fundamental error. Remands for a new hearing.

Robert Gibson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the Noble Circuit Court’s order that Robert Gibson, who was convicted of two counts of Level 4 felony sexual misconduct with a minor, as well as being a repeat sex offender,  pay restitution in an amount determined by the Noble County Probation Department. Finds the trial court did not impermissibly delegate its authority to impose restitution to the probation department. Concludes the trial court didn’t err.

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