Opinions March 5, 2020

Keywords Opinions

The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was posted after IL deadline Wednesday:
Leonard Thomas v. Nicholas Wardell, et al.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division. Senior Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen.
Civil. Reverses and remands the Northern Indiana District Court’s denial of Leonard Thomas’ three requests for appointed counsel. Finds Thomas made reasonable attempts to obtain counsel, and the district court did not assess whether he appeared competent to litigate his case given its difficulty. Also finds the denial prejudiced Thomas. Finally, finds the district court provided insufficient grounds on which to dismiss Thomas’ case for failure to prosecute. Vacates the dismissal of Thomas’ case, reinstates it, and remands the case to proceed and for an attorney to be appointed for him.

Thursday opinions
Indiana Court of Appeals
Madison County Board of Commissioners, Madison County Clerk, Madison County Auditor, and Madison County Election Board v. Kevin M. Sipe and Wesley T. Likens
Civil plenary. Reverses the Madison Circuit Court’s entry of a preliminary injunction requested by Kevin Sipe and Wesley Likens, who sought to enjoin the enforcement of a redistricting ordinance enacted by the Madison County Board of Commissioners before the 2020 elections. Finds the ordinance does not run afoul of the redistricting statute. Also finds Sipe and Likens cannot prevail on the merits of their case. Finally, finds the trial court erred in granting the preliminary injunction. Remands for proceedings consistent with the opinion.

Tanner David Hecht v. Taylor Nicole Hecht
Domestic relation with children. Affirms the grant of sole legal custody of T.H. to mother Taylor Hecht. Finds the Putnam Superior Court applied the proper legal standard in determining whether legal custody should be modified. Also finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in modifying legal custody.

Dustin Westafer v. Amy M. Westafer (mem. dec.)
Domestic relation with children. Affirms the denial of father Dustin Westafer’s petition for modification of custody over his minor children following the dissolution of his marriage to mother Amy Westafer. Finds the Noble Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Dustin’s request to modify custody. Also finds the trial court did not err when it calculated Dustin’s child support obligation. Finally, finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it ordered Dustin to pay a portion of Amy’s attorney’s fees.

In the Matter of K.K., Minor Child in Need of Services; A.K. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the determination that K.K. is a child in need of services. Finds father A.K. has not shown reversible error on his allegations of due process violations. Also finds A.K. has waived any challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the CHINS determination.

Timothy L. Jackson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Timothy Jackson’s conviction for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Finds sufficient evidence that Jackson was intoxicated while operating a vehicle.

Blake A. Johnson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Blake Johnson’s sentence following the Jefferson Superior Court’s revocation of his placement in community corrections. Finds the trial court’s order that Johnson serve the remainder of his previously suspended sentence is supported by the record and was well within the trial court’s discretion.

Adam R. McCarthy v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Adam McCarthy’s aggregate two-year sentence, to be served consecutively with a sentence in another cause, for his conviction of Level 6 felony possession of methamphetamine, Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana, and Class B misdemeanor false informing. Finds the sentence is not inappropriate and that the Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion.

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