Opinions June 23, 2022

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Indiana Supreme Court
Steven Church v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s denial of Steven Church’s petition pursuant to Indiana Code § 35-40-5-11.5 to obtain a deposition of his alleged child sex abuse victim. Finds the statute is not being retroactively applied to Church and is not a procedural statute that conflicts with Indiana Trial Rules. Also finds the statute is substantive because it predominantly furthers the legitimate public policy objectives within the General Assembly’s exclusive purview. Finally, finds the statute does not violate Church’s constitutional rights under the Indiana or United States constitutions. Justice Christopher Goff concurs in part and in the judgment with separate opinion.

State of Indiana v. Anthony J. Neukam
Criminal. Affirms the Dubois Circuit Court’s denial of the state’s motion to amend the charging information against Anthony Neukam to add charges against Neukam for conduct occurring before he turned 18. Finds a child’s delinquent act does not ripen into a crime when the child ages out of the juvenile system. Also finds the circuit court lacks jurisdiction over the criminal charges the state sought to add against Neukam, while the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction under D.P. v. State, 151 N.E.3d 1210 (Ind. 2020). Justices Mark Massa and Christopher Goff dissent with separate opinions.

 Court of Appeals of Indiana
Lee Evans Dunigan v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms the dismissal of Lee Evans Dunigan’s complaint against the state of Indiana arising from alleged misconduct related to a 2020 child molestation conviction. Finds the Tippecanoe Circuit Court did not err in dismissing the complaint pursuant to the screening statute. Also finds that given the mounting burden Dunigan has placed on the court system, it’s appropriate to impose sanctions.

Jacqueline Mastellone v. Young Men’s Christian Association of Greater Indianapolis d/b/a Arthur Jordan Branch, YMCA
Civil tort. Reverses the Marion Superior Court’s order reconsidering motion for mistrial in Jacqueline Mastellone’s slip-and-fall suit against the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. Finds the trial court abused its discretion in setting aside the jury verdict and ordering a new trial. Also finds the trial court did not err in denying the YMCA’s motions for mistrial, and the jury’s award is not excessive. Remands to the trial court to reinstate the jury’s verdict.

BFD Enterprises, LLC v. Jeff Koepnick and Shamarie Schauer
Civil tort. Affirms the Huntington Circuit Court’s order dismissing BFD Enterprises LLC’s lawsuit against Jeff Koepnick and Shamarie Schauer stemming from an automobile accident that occurred in Indiana while Koepnick was driving a BFD truck. Finds the principal of comity supports dismissing the Indiana lawsuit. Also finds Trial Rule 4.4(C) supports dismissal on the basis that Kentucky is a more convenient forum. Finally, finds BFD cannot sincerely assert it is uncomfortable litigating in Kentucky.

David R. Oberly v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms David R. Oberly’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor dealing in a schedule IV controlled substance. Finds sufficient evidence to support Oberly’s conviction.

J.W. v. Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (mem. dec.)
Agency action. Affirms the denial of J.W.’s pandemic unemployment assistance by the Review Board of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. Finds that although J.W. presented credible evidence that he was afraid to work during the pandemic, he has failed to show that his fear qualified him for PUA funds.

Marcus T. Richardson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Marcus T. Richardson’s conviction for Level 5 felony domestic battery. Finds the Elkhart Superior Court did not err by determining that Richardson had knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel.

Katterine Peebles v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Katterine Peebles’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor theft. Finds sufficient evidence to establish Peebles’s intent to deprive Michael Small of the value or use of his truck.

Zachary Weaver v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Zachary Weaver’s order to serve a two-year probationary term before serving 10 years in prison for conviction of Level 4 felony child molesting. Finds Weaver is not an eligible defendant for post-conviction relief under Post-Conviction Rule 2. Also finds Weaver may not complain of sentence illegality, even if the sentence were otherwise subject to collateral attack, because he reaped the benefits of a plea agreement accepted by the Kosciusko Superior Court.

Lee Evans Dunigan v. Wexford of Indiana, LLC (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the Sullivan Circuit Court’s dismissal of Lee Dunigan’s complaint against Wexford of Indiana, LLC finding that a substantially similar action was already pending in a different county. Finds the trial court properly dismissed the complaint.

Marcel Edward Malone v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Marcel Malone’s conviction for Level 5 felony attempted battery with a deadly weapon. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

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