Opinions March 18, 2021

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Jeffery Bridges v. United States of America
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt.
Civil. Reverses the denial of Jeffery Bridges’ petition for habeas relief. Finds that in this case, counsel’s failure to raise an important and meritorious sentencing guideline argument may constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. Also finds that Hobbs Act robbery is not a “crime of violence” as the phrase is defined in the sentencing guidelines. Remands with orders including an evidentiary hearing on defense counsel’s performance under 28 U.S.C. § 2255(b).

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Supreme Court
Michael and Mary Poore, Individually and on Behalf of J.P. v. Indianapolis Public Schools and its Board of Education
Civil tort. Grants transfer and summarily affirms the Indiana Court of Appeals’ Sept. 9, 2020, opinion, except for Section II, which is vacated. Also vacates the Court of Appeals’ stated reasoning behind its conclusion that Indianapolis Public Schools was not negligent for refusing to pay for Michael and Mary Poore’s son’s advanced math class at Butler University. Finds judgment in IPS’s favor is warranted not “because [it]did not deny J.P. the benefit of early college credits,” but because IPS fulfilled the duty the Poores claimed it breached and the Poores otherwise waived their argument under the Dual Credit Statute.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Christa M. Vonhoene v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses Christa Vonhoene’s conviction of Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Finds the Jackson Superior Court erred in finding that Vonhoene forfeited by her conduct her right to the assistance of counsel. Also finds the trial court erred in proceeding to trial, with Vonhoene proceeding pro se, without first investigating Vonhoene’s alleged indigency and her eligibility for pauper counsel. Remands with instructions to vacate Vonhoene’s conviction and sentence, determine whether she is indigent and eligible for appointment of counsel, and for a new trial.

Lionel Gibson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Lionel Gibson’s motion to correct error, which challenged the denial of his successive motion to correct an erroneous sentence pursuant to Indiana Code § 35-38-1-15. Finds the Lake Superior Court properly denied Gibson’s motion to correct an erroneous sentence and his subsequent motion to correct error.

Bryan Fields v. Loriann Fields (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations with children. Affirms the decree of dissolution of the marriage of Bryan and Loriann Fields. Finds the Morgan Superior Court did not err in setting Bryan’s weekly child support obligation at $114. Also finds the trial court reached a just and reasonable conclusion in its division of the marital property, so reversal is not warranted.

Chad D. Wood v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Chad D. Wood’s conviction of Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Finds Wood was not in custody at the time he made a statement to a police officer, so the Morgan Superior Court did not abuse its discretion by admitting into evidence the statement and items seized during the search.

Dustin Kremer v. Jacqueline Kremer (mem. dec.)
Domestic relations. Affirms and reverses in part the order establishing the amount of father Dustin Kremer’s child support obligation to be paid to mother Jacqueline L. Kremer for the benefit of two minor children. Finds the Parke Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in calculating Dustin’s income for the purpose of establishing child support. Remands with instructions to consider Jacqueline’s in-kind benefits in her weekly gross income for child support purposes.

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