Opinions July 31, 2020

Indiana Court of Appeals
Shawn G. Willet v. State of Indiana
19A-CR-2699
Criminal. Affirms the Elkhart Superior Court’s denial of Shawn Willet’s pro se “motion to dismiss sentence time served,” finding that Willet’s sentence for conviction of three counts of Class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor has not expired. Majority judges Margret Robb and Melissa May hold that Willet’s motion is treated as a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Judge Nancy Vaidik concurs in result with a separate opinion, but holds that the petition should be treated as a petition for post-conviction relief.

Jerry Jones v. State of Indiana
19A-PC-3051
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of Jerry Jones’ petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Jones has failed to carry his burden to show that joint representation resulted in an actual conflict of interest that adversely affected counsel’s performance. Also finds Jones failed to carry his burden to show or waived his claims that his attorney provided ineffective assistance by advising him to plead guilty. Finally, finds Jones has waived his argument that his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to file a motion to suppress the search warrant.

In the Matter of: E.T. (Minor Child), a Child in Need of Services; A.T. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services
20A-JC-312
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Vermillion Circuit Court’s adjudication of minor child E.T. as a child in need of services as relates to father A.T. Finds father’s due process rights were not violated. Also finds that under the facts and circumstances of this case, the trial court’s failure to complete the factfinding and dispositional hearings within the statutory timeframes did not constitute fundamental error.

Robert J. White v. Estate of Robert L. White (mem. dec.)
19A-CT-2764
Civil tort. Affirms the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Estate of Robert L. White on Robert J. White’s second amended complaint, which alleged fraud and waste. Finds the Wayne Superior Court did not err when it entered summary judgment in favor of the estate.

Arthur Tucker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-581
Criminal. Affirms Arthur Tucker’s sentence to two years, served consecutively to a sentence in another cause, for his conviction of Level 6 felony auto theft. Finds Tucker has not sustained his burden of establishing that his sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.C. (Minor Child) and J.S. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-433
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father J.S.’s parental rights to his child, K.C. Finds Father’s contention that his due process rights were violated by the Department of Child Services’ failure to make reasonable efforts to reunify him and K.C. fails because it is waived for appellate review and because he did not request additional services. Also finds that existing caselaw prohibits Father from attacking the termination.

Christopher Keller v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-148
Criminal. Affirms Christopher Keller’s 64-year sentence for his convictions of four counts of Level 3 felony aggravated battery. Finds the Jefferson Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Keller’s sentences to be served consecutively. Also finds Keller’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of the offense.

Jay R. Smithhart v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2840
Criminal. Affirms Jay R. Smithhart’s convictions of several drug-related offenses following the admission of drug and paraphernalia evidence obtained from a car in which he was a passenger. Finds Smithhart has no standing to challenge the search of the car under the Indiana Constitution, or to challenge the search of the bags under either the United States or Indiana constitutions. Also finds Smithhart has failed to establish that the Madison Circuit Court abused its discretion in admitting cellphone screenshots.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.L. (Minor Child), and A.L. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-519
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of mother A.L.’s parental rights to her child, K.L. Finds the Hendricks Superior Court’s order terminating A.L.’s parental rights to K.L. is not clearly erroneous.

Scott Kerssemakers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-590
Criminal. Affirms Scott Kerssemakers’ aggregate 22-year sentence, with 10 years executed in the Department of Correction, four years in community corrections and eight years suspended to probation, following his guilty plea under three separate cause numbers for resisting law enforcement, a Level 6 felony; possession of cocaine, a Level 3 felony; possession of cocaine, a Level 5 felony; operating a vehicle with a schedule I or II controlled substance, a Class C misdemeanor; and possession of methamphetamine, a Level 5 felony. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Ronald Lawrence-Parker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-3031
Criminal. Affirms Ronald Lawrence-Parker’s 14-year sentence for Level 4 felony possession of methamphetamine. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character and the nature of his offense.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Ta.B., J.B., & Ty.B. (Minor Children) and C.B. (Mother) and J.B., Sr. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
19A-JT-678
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Reverses the termination of parents mother C.B. and father J.B.’s parental rights to their three children, finding both parents did not receive due process. Finds Mother was denied her right to counsel when the trial court failed to obtain a knowing and voluntary waiver from her before allowing attorney Steven Cuvelier to withdraw. Also finds the Vigo Circuit Court violated due process when it cut Parents’ evidence short by being precluded from presenting evidence on their own behalf. Remands.

Brent C. Scheiber v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-388
Criminal. Affirms Brent Scheiber’s 35-year sentence for his conviction for Level 1 felony aggregate battery following the death a young child in his care. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate.

James Carr v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
18A-PC-2831
Post-conviction. Affirms the denial of James Carr’s petition for post-conviction relief from his 55-year sentence for a conviction of murder. Finds the post-conviction court did not err in denying Carr’s PCR petition.

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