Opinions March 25, 2021

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Byron D. Harris, Jr. v. State of Indiana
20S-CR-546
Criminal. Affirms Byron Harris Jr.’s conviction in adult court of attempted murder. Finds that a child in adult criminal court may use Evidence Rule 615(c) to establish that a parent is “essential” to the presentation of the defense and is thus excluded from a witness-separation order. However, also finds Harris did not make the requisite showing under the rule, nor did he show he had a due process right. Finally, finds the Elkhart Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it did not sentence Harris under the alternative juvenile sentencing scheme, and his sentence of 37 years is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offense and his character.

Thursday’s opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Jason E. Morales v. State of Indiana
20A-CR-913
Criminal. Reverses one of Jason E. Morales’ two convictions of Level 4 felony arson but affirms his convictions of Level 2 felony burglary and one count of Level 4 felony arson. Finds no error in the Vigo Superior Court’s rejection of Morales’ “reasonable theory of evidence” jury instruction. Also finds no double jeopardy violation in Morales’ convictions of burglary and arson. Finally, finds sua sponte that Morales was impermissibly convicted of two counts of arson for setting fires with multiple consequences already encompassed in each individual count, and the trial court’s entry of concurrent sentences for the arson convictions did not cure this double jeopardy violation. Remands with instructions to vacate one of the arson convictions. Judge Robert Altice concurs with separate opinion.

Robert A. Cutshall, II v. State of Indiana
20A-CR-1866
Criminal. Affirms Robert Cutshall II’s conviction of Level 1 felony child molesting. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Cutshall’s conviction. Also finds that the Huntington Circuit Court’s admission of evidence that Cutshall viewed adult pornography was harmless error.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: S.B.L. and J.L. (Minor Children) and S.L. (Father), S.L. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-1672
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father S.L.’s parental rights to his children. Finds that even assuming the Jefferson Circuit Court shouldn’t have relied on S.L.’s drug-screen results in terminating his parental rights, the court’s other findings and conclusions are sufficient to support the termination of his parental rights.

Carl Jay Cooper, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-1715
Criminal. Affirms Carl Jay Cooper Jr’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury and the revocation of his probation in a separate cause. Finds the Vanderburgh Circuit Court did not violate Cooper’s constitutional right to self-representation. Also finds sufficient evidence supports the trial court’s finding that Cooper violated his probation.

Gorgia Pavlov v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-1783
Criminal. Affirms Gorgia Pavlov’s convictions of Class B misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident and Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration equivalent of 0.15 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Finds both convictions in Tippecanoe Superior Court are supported by sufficient evidence.

Anthony Joseph Perez v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-1784
Criminal. Affirms Anthony Joseph Perez’s sentence to an aggregate seven years, with five years executed at the Department of Correction and two years suspended to probation, for his conviction in Tippecanoe Superior Court of possession of methamphetamine and being a habitual offender. Finds Perez’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of his offenses and his character.

Christopher R. Marks v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-2012
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Christopher Marks’ probation and the order that he serve his previously suspended two-year sentence. Finds the DeKalb Superior Court did not violate Marks’ right to self-representation. Also finds the revocation of Marks’ probation was not an abuse of discretion.

Dr. Duane Wilcox v. Indiana Horse Racing Commission (mem. dec.)
20A-MI-2257
Miscellaneous. Affirms the dismissal of Dr. Duane Wilcox’s petition for judicial review of a decision by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission suspending his license for 10 years. Finds the Marion Superior Court did not err when it granted the commission’s motion to dismiss the petition.

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