Opinions Sept. 30, 2020

Indiana Court of Appeals
Gilley’s Antique Mall, et al. v. Doug Sarver  
20A-EX-00396
Agency. Reverses the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s ruling that Gilley’s Antique Mall and co-owner Jeff Hines were secondarily responsible for Doug Sarver’s injuries sustained during a construction accident. Concludes that the Board’s decision to add Gilley’s and Hines as defendants outside the two-year statute of limitations period was erroneous and contrary to the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act.

Cross-Road Farms, LLC v. Peggy Whitlock
20A-CT-106
Civil tort. Affirms the LaGrange Superior Court’s order denying Cross-Road Farms’ motion to correct error, filed after the trial court had denied Cross-Road Farms’ Trial Rule 60(B) motion for relief from judgment and its motion to amend its complaint against Peggy Whitlock. Finds no abuse of discretion.

Mitchell Vanryn v. State of Indiana
19A-CR-01354
Criminal. Affirms Mitchell Vanryn’s aggregate 40-year sentence for conviction of Level 1 felony aggravated battery and Level 2 felony domestic battery following the death of a two-year-old. Finds that Allen Superior Court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence; did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury; sufficient evidence supports Vanryn’s Level 1 felony aggravated battery conviction; and Vanryn’s sentence is not inappropriate.

Lavoyd Danta Shepherd v. State of Indiana
20A-CR-00179
Criminal. Affirms Lavoyd Shepherd’s sentence of 35 years with five years suspended to probation for his conviction in Lake Superior Court of Level 1 felony aggravated battery, Level 2 felony counts of voluntary manslaughter and battery resulting in death to a person less than 14 years old and Level 5 felony battery resulting in injury to a person less than 14 years old. Finds Shepherd’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt; the admission of a witness video and photos from Shepherd’s cellphone was not an abuse of discretion; Shepherd’s appellate argument concerning a jury instruction is moot; his sentence does not violate Indiana’s proportionality clause and it is not inappropriate given the nature of the offense and his character.

Brian L. Port v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-854
Criminal. Affirms Brian Port’s conviction for Level 5 felony possession of child pornography. Finds that the Tippecanoe Superior Court did not abuse its discretion regarding discovery by not granting his request for the state to produce a copy of a digital file with the child pornography redacted. Finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Aaron L. Strahl v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A-CR-2847
Criminal. Affirms Aaron Strahl’s conviction of Level 5 felony home improvement fraud. Finds Strahl is not entitled to relief on his claim that the admonishment was insufficient. Also finds sufficient evidence to support the conviction. Lastly, finds the state’s closing argument did not urge the Perry Circuit Court jury to rely on Shadwick’s stricken testimony, and, therefore, the closing argument did not violate Strahl’s right to a fair trial.

In the Matter of the Adoption of K.R.G.D., K.D. v. J.N. and B.N. (mem. dec.)
20A-AD-654
Adoption. Affirms the Vanderburgh Superior Court’s order granting the petition for adoption of K.R.G.D. filed by grandparents J.N. and B.N. Finds sufficient evidence was presented to sustain the trial court’s determination that father K.D.’s consent was not necessary for the adoption of child by grandparents to proceed due to father’s failure without justifiable cause to communicate significantly with child when able to do so.

Donald A. Earles, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-786Criminal. Affirms the trial court’s denial of Donald Earles, Jr.’s motion for discharge under Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C). Finds the Switzerland Circuit Court did not err by denying Earles’ motion for discharge, and finds that any delay in brining him to trial was attributable to Earles.

Michael L. Clark v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-208
Criminal. Affirms Michael Clark’s convictions in Madison Circuit Court of Level 5 felony counts of intimidation and battery. Finds sufficient evidence and that Clark has not met his burden to establish fundamental error.

Farrah Dwyer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-703
Criminal. Affirms the denial of Farrah Dwyer’s motion to lower the amount of her jail bond. Finds her jail bond was not excessive and that the Marion Superior Court did not abuse its discretion when it denied her request.

In the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: P.F. and J.G. (Minor Children) and J.G. (Father) and C.T. (Mother) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-437
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of C.T. and J.G.’s parental rights to their children. Finds the Lake Superior Court’s termination order is not clearly erroneous.

A.R. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-JV-932
Juvenile. Affirms the Jasper Circuit Court’s order adjudicating A.R. a juvenile delinquent and committing him to the Department of Correction until he reaches the age of 21. Finds the trial court acted within its discretion when it determined that commitment to the DOC was the most appropriate placement for A.R.

In the Matter of R.G., (Minor Child, Child in Need of Services, and T.C. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc. (mem. dec.)
20A-JC-858
Juvenile CHINS. Affirms the Marion Superior Court’s order adjudicating T.C.’s child as a child in need of services. Finds the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering mother to complete random drug screens and a domestic violence assessment. Finds mother’s challenge to the continuation of the kinship placement to be waived.

J.R. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-JV-860
Juvenile. Affirms the adjudication of J.R. as a delinquent child for committing Class A misdemeanor dangerous possession of a firearm and what would be Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement if committed by an adult. Finds that based on the plain language of the dangerous possession of a firearm statute, J.R. could be adjudicated a delinquent in Marion Superior Court.

In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: R.P. Jr. (Minor Child) and R.P. (Father), R.P. (Father) v. Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A-JT-872
Juvenile termination. Affirms the termination of R.P.’s parental rights to R.P. Jr. Finds the Hancock Circuit Court did not err when it concluded that there is a reasonable probability that the conditions resulting in child’s removal and continued placement outside father’s home will not be remedied.

Scott David Luce v. Cathy Sue Luce n/k/a Cathy Sue Valenti (mem. dec.)
20A-DR-338
Domestic relation. Affirms the trial court’s denial of Scott Luce’s motion for clarification regarding the marital settlement agreement and qualified domestic relations order, as well as its award of attorney fees to Cathy Valenti. Finds the Allen Circuit Court properly denied husband’s motion for clarification. However, does not find that husband’s arguments are utterly devoid of all plausibility, and therefore declines to order husband to pay wife’s appellate attorney’s fees.

Tristan Pinkston v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

20A-CR-982

https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09302001tc.pdf

Criminal. Affirms Tristan Pinkston’s conviction in Tippecanoe Superior Court of Level 4 felony dealing in methamphetamine and seven-year sentence, with four years executed in the Indiana Department of Correction, one year executed in community corrections, and two years suspended to probation. Finds his DOC placement is not inappropriate.

Thomas W. Farr v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-645
Criminal. Affirms Thomas Farr’s six-year sentence with three years suspened to proabtion for conviction in St. Joseph Superior Court of Class C felony non-support of a dependent child. Finds his sentence is not inappropriate.

Michael J. Bedtelyon v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
20A-CR-794
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Michael Bedtelyon’s community corrections placement and probation. Finds the evidence is sufficient to support the Elkhart Superior Court’s conclusion that Bedtelyon violated the terms of his community corrections placement. Finds the trial court acted within its discretion in ordering that Bedtelyon serve the remainder of his executed sentence in the DOC and in executing a portion of Bedtelyon’s probation.

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