Opinions May 18, 2023

The following Indiana Supreme Court opinion was posted after IL deadline on Wednesday:
Joseph Albert Oberhansley v. State of Indiana
Life without parole. Affirms Joseph Albert Oberhansley’s sentence to life without parole for his convictions of burglary and murder. Finds the jury’s LWOP recommendation implicitly reflected the necessary determination of the balance between aggravators and mitigators and, thus, the Clark Circuit Court did not err in imposing the sentence. Also finds Oberhansley’s sentence was not inappropriate. Justice Geoffrey Slaughter concurs except as to footnote 4 without separate opinion.

Thursday opinions
Court of Appeals of Indiana
Adam B. Kenny v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Adam Kenny’s convictions of Level 2 felony dealing in methamphetamine, Level 6 felony unlawful possession of a syringe, Class C misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, Class A misdemeanor carrying a handgun without a license and three counts of Class A misdemeanor unlawful possession of a firearm by a dangerous person. Finds the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence resulting from a valid traffic stop consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

Elijah Mills v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Elijah Mills’ convictions of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury or death and Level 3 felony battery resulting in serious bodily injury. Finds no double jeopardy violation.

Crystal Renae Winter v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Crystal Renae Winter’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery. Finds the state presented sufficient evidence to support Winter’s conviction and to negate her claim of self-defense.

State of Indiana v. Caden Smith (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Reverses the grant of Caden Smith’s motion to suppress evidence obtained during a search of his home. Finds the search warrant was supported by probable cause. Remands for further proceedings.

Michael J. Moore v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Michael J. Moore’s sentence to four years for his convictions of Level 5 felony battery with a deadly weapon and Level 6 felony residential entry. Finds Moore’s sentence, which was one year above the advisory and two years below the maximum sentence for a Level 5 felony, was supported by the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s entry of multiple unchallenged aggravators.

Jeremy Lee Johnson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Jeremy Lee Johnson’s aggregate 11-year sentence for Level 5 felony burglary and a habitual offender enhancement. Finds Johnson’s sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and his character. Remands for the Henry Circuit Court to correct the sentencing order and abstract of judgment to reflect that the habitual offender enhancement is not a separate conviction.

New Hope Services, Inc., M. Fine on Spring, L.P., MFOS Apartments, LLC v. City of Jeffersonville (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the grant of summary judgment in favor of the city of Jeffersonville in a negligent suit filed by three businesses. Finds the city’s designated evidence negated the element of proximate causation. Also finds New Hope Services Inc., M. Fine on Spring L.P. and MFOS Apartments LLC’s response was insufficient to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact on the element of proximate causation.

In the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Au.D. and J.D., Jr. (Minor Children) and J.D. (Father) and A.D. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)

Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the termination of father J.D. and mother A.D.’s parental rights to Au.D. and J.D., Jr. Finds the Marion Superior Court’s findings regarding J.D.’s failed drug screens is supported by the record. Also finds the trial court’s conclusion that the conditions that resulted in the children’s removal from parents’ care will not be remedied is not clearly erroneous. Finally, finds termination of parents’ parental rights is in the children’s best interests.

Andre Dewayne Hamilton v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Andre Dewayne Hamilton’s convictions of two dealing-related offenses. Finds a reasonable jury could find that Hamilton had the capability and intent to maintain dominion and control over the contraband, and therefore that he constructively possessed it.

Brant Matthew Davis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Brant Matthew Davis’ sentence to an aggregate of 20 years, with 14 years executed in the Department of Correction and six years suspended to supervised probation, for his convictions of Level 4 felony child exploitation and two counts of Level 5 felony possession of child pornography. Finds Davis’ sentence is not inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and his character.

John Vincent Griffith v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms John Vincent Griffith’s conviction of Level 2 felony criminal confinement and his sentence to 27 years executed. Finds the Jasper Circuit Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Griffith’s motion for continuance and motion to withdraw his guilty plea. Also finds Griffith’s sentence is not inappropriate given the nature of the offense and his character.

In the Matter of the Commitment of S.A. v. Memorial Epworth (mem. dec.)
Mental health. Affirms the order of temporary commitment following emergency detention of S.A. Finds the St. Joseph Superior Court’s determination that S.A. was dangerous to herself was supported by clear and convincing evidence.

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