Opinions Oct. 24, 2022

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Court of Appeals of Indiana

People for Community, Inc./PFC, Isaac Fincher v. City of Fort Wayne Neighborhood Code Compliance
Miscellaneous. Affirms the dismissal of the complaint filed by Rev. Isaac Fincher in Allen Circuit Court on behalf of People for Community Inc. Finds PFC’s argument fails on the merits because the trial court gave PFC ample opportunities to secure counsel. Concludes the COA cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion by failing to give PFC even more time to secure counsel as it gave PFC ample time to do so.

State of Indiana v. Edward Hamilton
Post Conviction Relief Petition. Reverses Post-Conviction Court’s granting post conviction petition filed by Edward Hamilton. Finds the PC Court clearly erred in determining Hamilton was prejudiced either by any deficient performance on the part of this trial attorneys or by his attorneys’ alleged failure to investigate his learning disabilities. Rules Hamilton failed to show he would have rejected his plea agreement if his attorneys had correctly informed him that 10 years of sentence was non-suspendable. Also holds Hamilton do not present any evidence showing how his learning disability was connected to “culpability in dealing a large quantity of illicit drugs.”

In Re the Matter of N.E. and F.C., C.E. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services
Juvenile CHINS. Reverses the Vigo Superior Court’s adjudication of N.E. and F.C. as children in need of services. Finds the trial court clearly erred in finding the children to be CHINS. Judge Nancy Vaidik dissents with separate opinion.

Michael D. Alexander v. State of Indiana
Criminal. Affirms Michael Alexander’s conviction in St. Joseph Superior Court for domestic battery, a Level 5 felony and the revocation of his probation as a result of the domestic batter conviction. Finds Alexander failed to show that his due process rights were violated by the South Bend Police Department’s failure to preserve the surveillance video from where the domestic violence incident happened.

Joshua Adam Ferrell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms Joshua Adam Ferrell’s conviction for Level 5 felony possession of methamphetamine. Finds that based on the totality of circumstances shown by the record, substantial evidence of probative value supports the LaPorte Superior Court’s determination that Ferrell’s confession was given voluntarily beyond a reasonable doubt. Concludes the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting Ferrell’s statements to police.

In the Matter of the Commitment of: S.D. v. Samaritan Center/LaSalle Behavioral Health (mem. dec.)
Mental health. Reverses the involuntarily commitment into an inpatient mental health program for S.D. Finds that, on its face, the record shows that the Knox Circuit Court’s scheduling of a hearing with one day’s notice violated Indiana Code § 12-26-7-4(b), which requires that both the impacted individual and “all other interested persons” receive notice of the hearing at least five days in advance. Finds that although the denial of the continuance itself is not necessarily a violation of S.D.’s due process rights, Knox Circuit Court’s denial here impeded S.D. from utilizing her statutorily guaranteed five days of notice before the hearing.

Earl D. Wilder v. Jeffrey K. Sinkovics (mem. dec.)
Civil tort. Affirms the dismissal of Earl Wilder’s amended complaint for failure to state a claim where relief is can be granted. Finds Wilder failed to state any valid contract or tort claims and holds that the Miami Circuit Court properly dismissed his amended complaint.

James L. Monet v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms James L. Monet’s two convictions of Level 5 and Level 6 felony stalking. Finds the facts and circumstances of the case properly led the Vanderburgh Superior Court to a considered determination that Monet made a knowing and intelligent decision to proceed pro se.

Chad A. Bowen v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Chad Bowne’s probation for Class D misdemeanor non-support of a dependent child. Finds because Bowen failed to prove that he was unable to pay his child support and that he had made bona fide efforts to do so, the Decatur Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in revoking Bowen’s probation and imposing part of his previously suspended sentence

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