Opinions June 13, 2022

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline on Friday:
Emily Lewis v. Indiana Wesleyan University  
21-2327
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. Senior Judge William C. Lee.
Civil. Affirms and vacates in part the grant of summary judgment to Indiana Wesleyan University on Emily Lewis’ discrimination claims. Finds the district court correctly granted summary judgment in favor of the university on Lewis’ retaliation claims. Also finds Lewis waived her age discrimination claim by failing to preserve it. Finally, finds the district court did not explain why it was granting summary judgment on Lewis’ race discrimination claim, so the appellate court will not evaluate that claim in the first instance. Remands for further proceedings.

Monday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Charles T. Ramey, III and Jordan McHenry v. Ashley D. Ping  

21A-CT-2103
Civil tort. Affirms the denial of father Charles Ramey and Jordan McHenry’s joint motion for judgment on the evidence and motion to correct error, filed after a jury ruled in favor of mother Ashley Ping and awarded her damages on her complaint alleging Ramey and McHenry filed a false report of child abuse against her. Finds the Johnson Superior Court did not err when it interpreted the false reporting statute and, as such, did not err when it instructed the jury. Also finds Ping presented sufficient evidence to negate the statutory presumption of good faith and qualified immunity and to support the jury’s award of punitive damages. Finally, finds Ping was not precluded from bringing the instant lawsuit under either the principle of res judicata or under the terms of a release agreement. 

Donjulian Lamar Hobson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-1640
Criminal. Affirms Donjulian Lamar Hobson’s conviction of Level 1 felony attempted murder. Finds the Lake Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by denying Hobson’s requested instruction.

Christopher Dowling v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2081
Criminal. Affirms Christopher Dowling’s convictions for three counts of Level 1 felony child molesting and his 80-year sentence. Finds any error in the admission of testimony was not fundamental. Also finds the Madison Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it found Dowling to have been in a position of trust over K.H. and L.H. when he molested them. Finally, finds Dowling has not met his burden to show that his aggregate sentence is inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

Rodney A. Vickery v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
|21A-CR-2438
Criminal. Affirms Robert A. Vickery’s sentence to eight years for his convictions of two counts of Class C felony child molesting. Finds that even though the Fountain Circuit Court did not set forth particularized circumstances justifying the treatment of the victims’ ages as an aggravator, the court would have imposed the same sentence had it not found the victims’ ages to be an aggravator.

Cortez D. Jones v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2447
Criminal. Affirms Cortez D. Jones’ conviction of attempted battery with a deadly weapon. Finds the Madison Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Cortez’s motion for a mistrial. Also finds that reading the instruction on attempted battery with a deadly weapon did not violate Cortez’s due process right to notice about the charge he faced, nor did it undermine his ability to prepare an effective defense.

Toby W. Lowry v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2507
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Toby A. Lowry’s motion to suppress evidence. Finds there was reasonable suspicion to support Deputy Nicholas Hall’s search of Lowry’s residence, so the Vermillion Circuit Court properly denied Lowry’s motion to dismiss on that issue. Also finds that the totality of the circumstances makes clear that Lowry was under no prohibited coercive pressures when he volunteered his admissions, and he could have simply not engaged with hall during the search, so the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress on that issue.

Marcel Carter v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2554
Criminal. Affirms Marcel Carter’s convictions for resisting law enforcement as a Level 3 felony and resisting law enforcement as a Level 5 felony. Finds Carter has not demonstrated reversible error regarding his defense because he was able to present evidence to the jury that he had fled for his safety. Also finds Carter has not shown that the Marion Superior Court committed fundamental error when it granted the state’s motion in limine to preclude him from presenting evidence of a change in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s policy.

Michael H. Wesseling v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2856
Criminal. Affirms Michael H. Wesseling’s conviction for Class D felony intimidation and his sentence to three years, with two years executed and one year suspended to probation. Finds the Dearborn Superior Court did not err when it tried Wesseling in absentia. Also finds his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Rene Apolonio Pedraza v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-90
Criminal. Affirms Rene Apolonio Pedraza’s sentence to five years in the Indiana Department of Correction, with four years executed and one year suspended to probation, for his conviction of domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury as a Level 5 felony. Finds the Clinton Superior Court did not abuse its sentencing discretion. Also finds Pedraza has failed to prove that his sentence is inappropriate.

Robert Lee Perkins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-151
Criminal. Affirms and reverses in part Robert Lee Perkins’ sentence to an aggregate of four years, with one year and 183 days executed in the Indiana Department of Correction and the balance suspended to probation, and the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s $5,000 restitution order following his convictions for intimidation as a Level 5 felony and rioting as a Level 6 felony. Finds Perkins’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character. Also finds the evidence does not show a nexus or causal relationship between Perkins’ conduct and the $1,542 part of the restitution order. Remands with instructions to revise the restitution order to $3,458.

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