Opinions July 20, 2021

The following 7th Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Monday:
League of Women Voters of Indiana, Inc., et al., v. Holli Sullivan, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of Indiana, et al.
20-2815 & 20-2816
Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Affirms the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the League of Women Voters of Indiana, the Indiana NAACP and Common Cause Indiana. Finds the Indiana Data Enhancement Association program established under Senate Act 334 provides a process for canceling voter registrations that violates the National Voter Registration Act. Also, affirms in part and reverses in part the permanent injunction preventing the state from implementing Indiana Code §§ 3-7-38.2-5.5(d)–(f). Finds the district court swept too broadly in enjoining subsection (d) and (e), which require county officials to verify the voter has registered out of state and authorized the cancellation of the previous registration before removing that voter from the rolls. Also finds subsection (f)(2), which mandates county official purge voters after receiving only a “written notice” without verification from the state, conflicts with and is preempted by the NVRA.

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
In Re: The Paternity of B.G.H.; Kelsey Morrison v. Aaron Harmon
Juvenile paternity. Affirms the Delaware Circuit Court’s orders in a paternity action involving Kelsey Morrison and Aaron Harmon that determined Indiana was a more convenient forum than Michigan; awarded the parties joint legal custody of their son, two-year-old B.H.; awarded father parenting time in Indiana on alternating weekends; and ordered father to pay $85 per week in child support. Finds the Delaware Circuit Court did not err or abuse its discretion. Judge Elizabeth Tavitas concurs in result with separate opinion.

In the Matter of the Adoption of R.A.K.R.: J.L.J.; In the Matter of the Paternity of R.A.K.R.: S.R., M.J., J.L.J.
Adoption. Affirms the dismissal of stepfather J.L.J.’s petition to adopt R.A.K.R. and the denial of his motion to vacate the determination in the paternity case that S.R. is the biological father of child R.A.K.R.. Finds father’s consent to the adoption of the child is required, and stepfather cannot seek to rescind or set aside the paternity affidavit in order to obviate the requirement for father’s consent.

Christopher Bell v. State of Indiana
Post-conviction. Reverses the denial of Christopher Bell’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds the post-conviction court clearly erred in denying Bell’s petition for post-conviction relief. Also finds the conversation between the Vanderburgh Superior Court and Bell was not a “constitutionally sufficient waiver” of his jury trial rights. Remands with instructions to vacate the trial court’s habitual offender adjudication and to conduct a new trial on the habitual offender information.

State of Indiana v. Anthony J. Neukam
Criminal. Affirms the Dubois Circuit Court’s order denying the state of Indiana’s motion to amend the charging information against Anthony Neukam in his adult criminal case to include eight additional child molesting charges that were alleged to have happened before he was 18. Finds that the relevant juvenile statutes set forth by the Indiana Legislature do not provide the trial court with the necessary jurisdiction under the specific facts of the case at hand.

Phillip J. Slinn v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Phillip Slinn’s conviction pursuant to a guilty plea of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon as a Level 5 felony. Finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it accepted Slinn’s guilty plea.

In Re: The Guardianship of H.L.H. (minor child); Phyllis C. VanWinkle v. Logan Hilbert and Gary Tumey and Meridian Tumey (mem. dec.)
Guardianship. Affirms the Hendricks Superior Court’s order granting Meridian Tumey’s and Gary Tumey’s joint petition for appointment as co-guardians of minor child, H.H. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that it was in H.H.’s best interests that the Tumeys be appointed as her co-guardians and in granting the Tumeys’ petition for co-guardianship of H.H.

Catherine Devine v. Lakeshore Landscaping, Inc (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Lake Superior Court’s entry of summary judgment for Lakeshore Landscaping Inc. in a dispute with Catherine Devine. Finds the trial court did not err in ruling on Lakeshore’s summary judgment motion or in determining Lakeshore owed no duty to Devine.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: J.R. and N.R. (Minor Children), and A.S. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother A.S.’s parental rights to her two children with severe medical issues. Finds the Hendricks Superior Court’s conclusion that the Department of Child Services had a satisfactory post-termination plan for the children’s care was not clearly erroneous.

Ryan Edmundson and Edmundson Estates, LLC v. Prudence Hawkins and Jeremiah Grooms (mem. dec.)
Civil plenary. Dismisses Ryan Edmundson and Edmundson Estates’ appeal of their denial to motion to compel arbitration. Finds, sua sponte, that the order from the they appeal is not a final judgment or an appealable interlocutory order, so the Court of Appeals lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.

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