Opinions Oct. 28, 2022

Court of Appeals of Indiana
Ryan L. Fisel v. State of Indiana  
22A-CR-1279
Criminal. Affirms the Wells Superior Court’s correction of Ryan Fisel’s sentence from a direct placement on home detention to a commitment in the Department of Correction. Finds Fisel’s original sentence of a direct placement on home detention was not authorized by statute. Also finds the trial court had jurisdiction to correct the error and properly did so.

V.R. v.  State of Indiana
22A-JV-759
Juvenile. Reverses V.R.’s juvenile adjudication for committing an act that would constitute Level 6 felony auto theft if committed by an adult. Finds there is insufficient evidence to support the juvenile adjudication. Remands for resentencing on V.R.’s remaining unchallenged adjudication. Chief Judge Cale Bradford dissents in separate opinion.

R.K.W. Homes, Inc. v. Aaron Hutchison and Melissa Burns
21A-CC-2767
Civil collections. Reverses the denial of R.K.W. Homes Inc.’s post-trial motions seeking attorney fees and prejudgment interest from Aaron Hutchison and Melissa Burns. Finds the Johnson Superior Court erred when it found RKW’s post-trial motions were barred by the doctrine of merger because RKW’s request for attorney fees did not become ripe until after the jury rendered a verdict in its favor, and RKW was not prohibited from seeking prejudgment interest through a post-trial motion. Also finds the trial court erred when it found the motions were barred by the doctrine of satisfaction because the notice of satisfaction of judgment did not extend to the pending post-trial motions. Finally, finds RKW is entitled to prejudgment interest because the amount of damages was readily ascertainable at the time of trial, and the trial court should exercise its discretion in fashioning a reasonable award of attorney fees. Remands for the trial court to calculate prejudgment interest and attorney fees.

D.J. v. C.R. (mem. dec.)
22A-AD-731
Adoption. Affirms the denial of stepfather D.J.’s petition to adopt his stepson based on father C.R.’s failure to consent. Finds the record supports the Marion Superior Court’s determination that C.R.’s lack of contact was justified.

The City of Carmel, Indiana v. Duke Energy Indiana, LLC, and Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (mem. dec.)
22A-EX-88
Agency action. Reverses the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission’s determination that two of the city of Carmel’s ordinances are unreasonable and void. Find the ordinances are not void or unreasonable.

In the Matter of L.P., Minor Child Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services; S.P. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JC-1062
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the adjudication of mother S.P.’s child as a child in need of services. Finds the Department of Child Services presented sufficient evidence to support the CHINS adjudication.

In the Matter of T.M., Minor Child Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services; S.S. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JC-1188
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the order adjudicating mother S.S.’s child as a child in need of services. Finds any error in permitting the Department of Child Services witness to testify telephonically was harmless. Also finds sufficient evidence supported a CHINS adjudication. Finally, finds the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in ordering S.S. to participate in at-home therapy.

In the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: T.A. (Minor Child), and Ty.A. (Mother) and D.C. (Alleged Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
22A-JT-882
Juvenile termination of parental rights. Affirms the involuntary termination of father D.C. and mother Ty.A.’s parental rights to T.A. Finds D.C.’s due process rights were not violated. Finds clear and convincing evidence supports the Madison Circuit Court’s determinations that there is a reasonable probability that continuation of the parent-child relationships pose a threat to T.A.’s well-being and that there is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in T.A.’s removal will not be remedied. Finally, finds the trial court’s determination that termination is in the best interests of T.A. is supported by clear and convincing evidence.

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