Opinions June 30, 2020

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinions were posted after IL deadline Monday:
Abdullah T. Alkhalidi v. Ron Neal
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division. Judge Philip P. Simon.
Criminal. Affirms the district court’s denial of Abdullah Alkhalidi’s petition for habeas corpus, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel after he was convicted of murder, robbery and theft and sentenced to 65 years in prison. Finds that his argument that he was deprived ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney declined to share details of a plea deal in unpersuasive because Alkhalidi insisted he was innocent.

Victoria Jeffords, as Administrator of the Estate of Donald Jeffords v. BP Corporation North America Inc., et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Judge Theresa L. Springmann.
Civil. Affirms summary judgment in favor of BP Corp. on Victoria Jeffords’ claim as the widow of Donald Jeffords, who filed a negligence and personal injury complaint after he fell from a crane catwalk at a construction project at an oil refinery, finding the defendants owed no duty of care to Donald.

James Crawford v. Frank Littlejohn, Deputy Warden, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Terre Haute Division. Senior Judge William T. Lawrence.
Civil. Reverses the grant of a writ of habeas corpus for James Crawford in a prison discipline case in which he was penalized with the loss of 30 days of good-time credit for soliciting a check from another inmate to Crawford’s mother in violation of prison code B-220 that bans unauthorized financial transactions. Finds the district court misread a rule that is “sweeping, not vague.”

Tuesday opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Marcus Lee McCain v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Marcus Lee McCain’s 45-year sentence for his conviction of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of Marcel Harris. Finds the Lake Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the sentence. Also finds that under Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B), the sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and McCain’s character.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Randy L. Hotmer v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration
Civil plenary. Reverses the denial of Randy L. Hotmer’s application for Medicaid benefits. Finds the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration erred in attributing annuity income paid to Hotmer’s wife to Hotmer, and in denying his application. Remands for further proceedings. Judge Robert Altice concurs in result without separate opinion.

Scott A. Bringle v. Traci A. Bringle
Domestic relations, no children. Affirms the decree dissolving the marriage of Scott A. and Traci A. Bringle. Finds the Decatur Circuit Court did not err when it did not include as a marital liability a debt owed by Scott to an S corporation in which he is the sole shareholder; when it ordered an unequal distribution of the marital estate in Scott’s favor; or when it ordered the parties to pay their own attorney fees.

Robert Coleman v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Robert Coleman’s conviction in Sullivan Superior Court of Level 6 felony battery by bodily fluid for spitting on a correctional officer while he was an inmate at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. Holds that notwithstanding Coleman’s waiver of constitutional vagueness and due process arguments on appeal, Coleman failed to show that the statute was unconstitutionally vague, and that he was not denied due process.

Keith Michael Yox v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Keith Yox’s convictions of two counts of Level 1 felony child molesting after a jury trial, finding that the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion for a continuance on the morning of the trial, and that the state presented sufficient evidence.

Christopher A. Smith v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Christopher Smith’s sentence for his conviction of Level 6 felony theft of a firearm. Finds no reversible error in the Adam Superior Court’s sentence of 820 days with half executed in the county jail and half served on home detention.

Grady Styles v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Grady Styles’ sentence of 16 years with 12 executed in the Indiana Department of Correction after his conviction of Level 3 felony child molesting. Finds the Washington Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in its sentencing statement or in considering aggravators and mitigators, nor was the sentence inappropriate.

Justin P. Norton and Randall E. Myers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the convictions of Justin Norton and Randall Myers on counts of Level 6 felony failure to return to lawful detention, rejecting their arguments in a consolidated appeal that the Vermillion Circuit Court erred because neither was in “lawful detention” as defined by statute.

Adam Garrison Campbell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Adam Campbell’s convictions of Level 5 felony battery causing serious bodily injury and Level 6 felony battery causing moderate bodily injury. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court did not err in ruling at trial that only a portion of Campbell’s statement was inadmissible on Miranda grounds.

Everett Powell v. Indiana Real Estate Commission (mem. dec.)
Miscellaneous/rehearing. Affirms on rehearing in large part In re Powell, 76 N.E.3d 130, 132 (Ind. 2017), with some minor changes in fact that do not otherwise affect the decision. Otherwise denies Powell’s petition for rehearing.

Tyrone Burns v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Tyrone Burns’ conviction of Level 6 felony receiving stolen auto parts, finding the evidence presented in Cass Superior Court was sufficient.

Kenneth Allen Welches v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction. Affirms the St. Joseph Superior Court’s denial of Kenneth Welches’ petition for post-conviction relief from his child molesting conviction. Finds Welches’ arguments on appeal waived because they were known and available.

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