Opinions March 29, 2023

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Court of Appeals of Indiana
In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of: A.O. v. Community Health Network, Inc.
Mental health. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s determination that A.O. was “gravely disabled.” Finds there was clear and convincing evidence supporting the order.

In Re: the Adoption of W.K., IV, and I.K.; W.K. v. T.M.
Adoption. Affirms the Hamilton Superior Court’s order granting custody of W.K., IV and I.K. to stepfather T.M. Finds that if the trial court erred in delaying dismissal of the adoption petitions, it was harmless and not a basis for reversal. Also finds the trial court’s relevant custody findings were supported by clear and convincing evidence and support the final custody determination.

Brandon Allen Scott v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brandon Scott’s conviction of Level 5 felony domestic battery, his adjudication as a habitual offender and his sentence of six years’ imprisonment, with two years suspended and enhanced by four years. Finds the Clark Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted testimony of a corporal or her body camera footage. Also finds Scott has not demonstrated he was prejudiced by the court’s denial for a continuance. Finally, finds his sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character.

Rahim A. Pittman v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Rahim Pittman’s convictions of three child sex crimes. Finds an officer’s testimony about re-traumatization was cumulative and, thus, harmless. Also finds no juror misconduct.

Brandon Daniels v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brandon Daniels aggregate five-year sentence for Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license and Level 6 felony public indecency. Finds Daniels has failed to carry his burden to show that his sentence is inappropriate.

Matthew Poeppel v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Matthew Poeppel’s convictions of Level 5 felony criminal confinement, Level 6 felony intimidation, Class A misdemeanor interference with reporting of a crime, Level 6 felony domestic battery with a prior conviction, his adjudication as a habitual offender and his 10-year sentence, but reverses his conviction of Class A misdemeanor domestic battery. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to support Poeppel’s convictions. Also finds the Steuben Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing, nor is the sentence inappropriate. Finally, finds the trial court should have vacated the Class A misdemeanor domestic battery conviction because it merged that conviction with the Level 6 felony domestic battery conviction. Remands to the trial court to vacate Poeppel’s conviction for Class A misdemeanor domestic battery.

In the Matter of E.H., A Child in Need of Services, W.H. (Father), v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Vigo Circuit Court’s child in need of services dispositional order. Finds father W.H.’s due process rights were not violated by the trial court’s findings and conclusions entered in support of its dispositional order.

Leo Dent Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Post-conviction relief. Grants rehearing to clarify that Leo Dent did not cite caselaw that affords him a second opportunity for appellate review of his sentence’s appropriateness based solely on the change in Rule 7(B)’s standard. Reaffirms the original opinion in all respects.

Joe’s, Inc. v. Robert Adamczyk and Oscar Lopez Jr. (mem. dec.)
Small claim. Reverses the Porter Superior Court’s denial of Joe’s Inc. motion to set aside the default judgment entered against it in an action filed by Robert Adamczyk and Oscar Lopez Jr. Finds Joe’s has waived any claim on appeal that the entry of default judgment was improper. Also finds the trial court was required by the local rules to hold a hearing on Joe’s motion to set aside the default judgment, but did not do so. Remands with instructions for the court to hold a hearing, at which Joe’s can have the opportunity to establish a factual basis for relief.

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