Opinions Jan. 29, 2021

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Thursday:
Dylan Thomas Tate v. State of Indiana
Criminal/life without parole. Affirms the sentence of life without parole imposed on Dylan Thomas Tate after a Madison Circuit jury convicted him of murder, Level 1 felony counts of child molesting and neglect of a dependent resulting in death, and Level 6 felony operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under 18 years old. Finds substantial evidence supports the jury’s recommendation of life without parole and the resulting sentence, rejecting Tate’s arguments that the court admitted improper character evidence and medical-personnel testimony and that the jury had insufficient evidence of two of the aggravators.

Friday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
The Residences at Ivy Quad Unit Owners Association, Inc. v. Ivy Quad Development, LLC, et al.
Civil. Reverses the dismissal of Ivy Quad Unit Owners Association’s implied warranty and negligence claims over crumbling concrete and water infiltration at the Ivy Quad condominium complex in South Bend. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court’s application of the economic loss doctrine as a complete bar to the association’s negligence claims against the defendants was premature and unwarranted. Remands for proceedings.

 Israel Bautista v. State of Indiana
Post conviction. Reverses Israel Bautista’s denial of post-conviction relief and remands to the Madison Circuit Court with instructions to vacate his guilty plea. Concludes that due to a faulty Spanish translation that Bautista received, he was not adequately advised of one of his rights under Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969), namely, the right to confront the witnesses against him.

Shad Truelove v. Matthew Cully Kinnick, et al.
Civil plenary. Dismisses Shad Truelove’s appeal of the trial court’s order dismissing some, but not all, of the defendants in a breach of contract case, finding the appeal was filed prematurely.

James Braden v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms James Braden’s 38-year sentence and his Level 1 felony rape conviction, finding any error in the admission of evidence in the Porter Superior Court was harmless, the court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing Braden, and his sentence is not inappropriate.

Jeffrey Allen Rowe v. State of Indiana (men. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the denial of Jeffrey Rowe’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding no ineffective assistance of trial counsel in his proceeding in LaPorte Circuit Court.

James L. Davidson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post conviction. Affirms the Orange Circuit Court’s denial of James Davidson’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he did not receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

Bruce Jackson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Bruce Jackson’s conviction in Marion Superior Court of Level 4 felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Level 5 felony battery by means of a deadline weapon. Finds the trial court did not commit reversible error when it ordered Jackson shackled at trial, though it should have entered particularized findings as to why, and his SVF conviction does not violate Article I, section 16 or Article I, section 18 of the Indiana Constitution.

Eli Ramey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Eli Ramey’s conviction of Leve 6 felony conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, finding the Dearborn Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Ramey’s motion for a mistrial.

Indiana Department of Transportation v. HGP LLP (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Reverses the Posey Superior Court’s denial of Indiana Department of Transportation’s partial motion to dismiss a suit brought by HGP LLP in a dispute over the conversion of a regulated billboard to a changeable message sign, holding that HGP did not exhaust its administrative remedies before filing suit. Remands with instructions to dismiss.

Andrew C. Damron v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Andrew Damron’s conviction of murder and Level 5 felony intimidation, finding sufficient evidence was presented to support the conviction in Greene Superior Court, and the state sufficiently rebutted his claim of self-defense.

Donald Eugene Mudica, III v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the St. Joseph Superior Court’s denial of Donald Mudica III’s motion to modify sentence, finding no abuse of discretion.

Gary Joseph Hanney v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Gary Hanney’s 30-year sentence for his conviction of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, finding he failed to show his sentence entered in Porter Superior Court was inappropriate.

Duane R. Fultz v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms on interlocutory appeal the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Duane Fultz’s motion to suppress evidence of methamphetamine revealed during a warrantless parole search of his residence. Finds the search was not unconstitutional under either the United States or Indiana constitutions.

Thomas Barr Willis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Thomas Willis’ aggregate 40-year sentence for his conviction of Level 2 felony dealing methamphetamine and his status as a habitual offender in Marshall Superior Court. Finds Willis has not shown he knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waived his right to a jury trial on the habitual offender charge, nor is his sentence inappropriate.

Joshua W. Noble v. Marni Headrick (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Reverses the Allen Circuit Court’s order modifying father Joshua Noble’s child support obligation from $208 per week to $349 per week, finding the court significantly overvalued father’s income. Remands for further calculations.

Brett Miller v. Jessica Miller (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Remands the Crawford Circuit Court order providing that mother Jessica Miller have primary physical custody of H.M. and G.M. with orders that the court consider statutory factors, substantial change of circumstances and the best interests of the children, and make the necessary findings.

Termination: F.R. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Montgomery Superior Court order terminating father F.R.’s parental rights to his minor child, F.L. The judgment is supported by clear and convincing evidence.

Thomas De Cola v. Katherine Chaffins (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the dismissal of Thomas De Cola’s complaint against Katherine Chaffins arising from a tax sale dispute. Finds De Cola’s claims in Starke Circuit Court either failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or are barred by the doctrine of res judicata.

Board of Commissioners of Delaware County, Indiana v. AR Engineering, LLC, et al. (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous. Remands a Delaware Circuit Court order of summary judgment for AR Engineering parties in a right-of-way dispute, with instructions to issue an amended order addressing the dimensions and locations of the right of way.

Termination: J.F. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Fayette Circuit court order terminating the parental rights of father J.F. to his minor children, J.F. and T.F., finding father has waived his sole contention that the trial court violated his procedural due process rights when it denied his motion to continue his factfinding hearing.

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