Opinions June 29, 2022

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline on Tuesday:
United States of America v. Jeremiah S. Farmer  
20-3119
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms Jeremiah Farmer’s conviction of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and conspiracy to possess illegal narcotics with intent to distribute, and his life sentence. Finds Farmer’s RICO conspiracy conviction is supported by overwhelming evidence. Also finds the jury’s special finding that Farmer murdered Marion Lowry and Harvey Siegers in connection with his membership in the Latin Kings gang was supported by sufficient evidence. Finally, finds no merit to any of Farmer’s pro se or appointed counsel’s arguments.  

Wednesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Terrance Trabain Miller v. State of Indiana
22S-CR-59
Criminal. Affirms Terrance Trabian Miller’s convictions. Finds any error that arose during jury instruction was invited by Miller, which precludes relief on direct appeal. Also finds sufficient evidence that Miller was lawfully stopped in his vehicle by police. Finally, finds Miller did not comply with the exhaustion rule, which precludes review of the Cass Circuit Court’s refusal to strike juror T.M. for cause. Chief Justice Loretta Rush concurs in part and dissents in part with separate opinion.

Court of Appeals of Indiana
In re: The Civil Commitment of C.M., C.M. v. Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center
22A-MH-218
Mental health. Affirms C.M.’s commitment to Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis for mental health issues. Finds C.M. was a danger to himself and was gravely disabled when he visited the emergency department. Also finds the evidence was sufficient for the commitment.

William J. Baker v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2658
Criminal. Affirms William J. Baker’s 55-year sentence imposed for murder. Finds Baker’s sentence is not inappropriate.

Kerwins Louis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2546
Affirms Kerwins Louis’ convictions of two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, one count of Level 2 felony attempted robbery and a firearm enhancement, and his aggregate sentence of 146 years in prison. Finds sufficient evidence to sustain Louis’ convictions. Also finds his sentence isn’t inappropriate in the light of his character.

Jarell Brewer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2822
Criminal. Affirms Jarell Brewer’s conviction in absentia. Finds Brewer’s decision to proceed pro se was knowing, intelligent and voluntary.

Charles David Bussard v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2325
Criminal. Affirms Charles David Bussard’s conviction and sentence to 63 years for the 2015 murder of his uncle, Byron Bussard. Finds the circumstantial evidence, which alone may establish the corpus delicti, was sufficient to that task here. Also finds the Elkhart Circuit Court would have imposed the same sentence even if a challenged aggravator had been excluded.

Andres L. Jimenez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2363
Criminal. Affirms Andrew L. Jimenez’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor theft. Finds sufficient evidence.

Troy David York v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-477
Criminal. Dismisses Troy David York’s sentence to 10 years, with eight years executed and two years suspended to probation, for his conviction of Level 4 felony dealing in methamphetamine. Finds York agreed to waive appellate review of his sentence in his plea agreement, and that waiver is valid.

Jeff Puskar v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2393
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Jeff Puskar’s oral motion to withdraw a guilty plea. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court didn’t abuse its discretion.

Jeremiah D. Grimes v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
22A-CR-61
Criminal. Affirms Jeremiah D Grimes’ 3½-year sentence for Level 6 felony attempted theft, Level 6 felony attempted theft of a motor vehicle component and Class A misdemeanor criminal for attempting to steal two catalytic converters. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate in light of his character.

Matthew J. Cole v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2842
Criminal. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s order that Matthew J. Cole pay $5,037.73 in restitution to Gregory Sauer. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion.

Jesse Brockman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-1374
Criminal. Affirms and reverses in part Jesse Brockman’s convictions of dealing in methamphetamine as a Level 2 felony, two counts of failure to report a dead body, both as a Class A misdemeanor, two counts of reckless homicide and four counts of dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death, all as a Level 1 felony, and dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance as a Level 5 felony. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence or in denying Brockman’s motion for mistrial. Also finds there was sufficient evidence to support Brockman’s convictions for dealing in a Schedule I controlled substance and dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death related to etizolam, but there was insufficient evidence to support Brockman’s convictions of dealing in methamphetamine and dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death related to methamphetamine. Finally, finds the trial court’s merger of certain convictions is not a sufficient double jeopardy remedy. Remands with instructions.

Paul Michael Cape v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2439
Criminal. Affirms Paul Michael Cape’s conviction of rape. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Cape’s conviction.

Corey Marshawn Green v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-2797
Criminal. Affirms Corey Marshawn Green’s sentence to four years, with one year suspended to work release, for Level 6 felony escape and being a habitual offender. Finds Green’s sentence is not inappropriate.

M.H. and R.H. v. S.B. (mem dec.)
21A-PO-2906
Protective order. Dismisses M.H. and R.H.’s appeal of the Howard Superior Court’s orders extending prior protective orders. Finds the appeal is moot.

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Mi.L., Ma.L. and J.L. (Minor Children), and A.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JT-293
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of the parental rights of mother A.C. to her three minor children, Ma.L, Mi.L and J.L. Finds the Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to establish the requisite statutory elements to terminate the mother’s parental rights. Also finds the termination order is not clearly erroneous.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: M.O., T.O., and Z.O. (Minor Children), D.O. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-2910
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s denial of the Department of Child Services’ motion to dismiss the termination of parental rights of D.O. to his minor children M.O, T.O and Z.O. Finds the trial court did not err.

In the Matter of: A.B. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services and B.B. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JC-2605
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of A.B. as a child in need of services. Finds the notice of appeal was untimely, so mother B.B. forfeited the appeal. Reaching the merits, finds sufficient evidence to support the adjudication.

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of J.B. and Ty.B. (Minor Children); C.B. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
21A-JT-2919
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of the parental rights of mother C.B. over her children J.B. and Ty.B. Finds the Department of Child Services has shown by clear and convincing evidence that there is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in the children’s removal or the reasons for placement outside of the mother’s home will not be remedied. Also finds the termination is in the children’s best interests. Finally, finds the Vigo Circuit Court did not err.

John J. Bortka v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
21A-CR-1594
Criminal. Affirms John J. Bortka’s conviction of Level 6 felony sexual battery. Finds the admission of the challenged evidence, even if erroneous, was at most harmless. Also finds Bortka has failed to prove that the Washington Circuit Court committed fundamental error in instructing the jury.

In re Supervised Estate of Laura E. Barker Elizabeth J. Hollrah and Janice Stacy, individually, and as Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Laura E. Barker, deceased, and Dewey R. Barker v. Corinne R. Finnerty, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Dewey P. Barker (mem. dec.)
21A-ES-2433
Estate, supervised. Affirms the order in favor of Corinne Finnerty, as successor personal representative of the estate of Dewey P. Barker, is a dispute with Elizabeth J. Hollrah and Janice Stacy, individually and as co-personal representatives of the estate of Laura E. Barker, deceased, and Dewey R. Barker. Finds no reversible error in the determination of a breach of fiduciary duty and no abuse of discretion in the damages award.

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