Supreme Court of Indiana Decisions 2013

Halliburton v. State  
Date: December 19, 2013
Docket Number: 20S00-1206-LW-560

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of murder and of being a habitual offender. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life in prison. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in admitting certain e...

Speers v. State  
Date: December 19, 2013
Docket Number: 55S01-1312-CR-841

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of burglary as a class C felony and theft as a class D felony. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted transfer to address Defendant's argument that the trial...

Ind. Gas Co., Inc. v. Ind. Fin. Auth.  
Date: December 17, 2013
Docket Number: 93S02-1306-EX-407

Justia Opinion Summary: The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) approved a contract for the purchase of substitute natural gas and directed the procedure for resolving future related disputes. The court of appeals reversed the IURC's a...

Walker v. State  
Date: December 12, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1312-CR-804

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of resisting law enforcement and sentenced to ninety days in jail. Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. In this case, Defe...

Johnson v. Johnson  
Date: December 12, 2013
Docket Number: 49S05-1303-DR-199

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother and Father were divorced in 1999 pursuant to a decree that approved the parties' comprehensive settlement agreement under which Mother was granted physical custody of the parties' two children. In 2011, Father sou...

F.D. v. Ind. Dep't of Child Servs.  
Date: November 26, 2013
Docket Number: 82S01-1301-CT-19

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother informed the Department of Child Services (DCS) that her son (Son) had been molested by her twelve-year-old nephew (Nephew). During a subsequent investigation, Nephew admitted to inappropriately touching Son and o...

Fulp v. Gilliland  
Date: November 22, 2013
Docket Number: 41S01-1306-TR-426

Justia Opinion Summary: Ruth Fulp placed her family farm in a revocable trust with trust assets going to her three children upon her death. Fulp decided to sell the farm to her son, Harold, a few years later. The proposed sale was for a low pri...

Kelly v. State  
Date: November 21, 2013
Docket Number: 30S01-1303-CR-220

Justia Opinion Summary: After police officers received information about a drug dealer, the officers approached a vehicle in which Appellant was a passenger, ordered her outside the car, and handcuffed her. While Appellant was being interviewed...

Gersh Zavodnik v. Michela Rinaldi, et al
Date: November 18, 2013
Docket Number: 49S05-1311-CT-759
Austin v. State  
Date: November 15, 2013
Docket Number: 20S03-1303-CR-158

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, a truck driver, was arrested after a deliberate action conducted by the state police uncovered nearly ninety pounds of cocaine in Defendant's cargo. Defendant requested a speedy trial, but the trial court was...

Kitchell v. Franklin  
Date: November 13, 2013
Docket Number: 09S00-1307-PL-476

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff was a resident of the City of Logansport and a ratepayer to the municipal utility that supplied her electricity. Plaintiff filed a petition against the City of Logansport, including the City's mayor and common...

Washington v. State  
Date: November 12, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1212-CR-669

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of resisting law enforcement, battery of a law enforcement officer resulting in injury, and disorderly conduct. The court of appeals affirmed. Defendant appealed, arguing that...

Russell v. State  
Date: November 12, 2013
Docket Number: 49S04-1311-CR-741

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of murder and class B felony possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon (SVF). Defendant appealed, claiming (1) the trial court should have given his tendered jury inst...

Wilson v. Myers  
Date: November 5, 2013
Docket Number: 71S03-1305-DR-399

Justia Opinion Summary: Upon the divorce of Mother and Father, Father was awarded physical custody of the parties' two children. Five years later, Mother filed a motion to modify actual physical custody of both children. Without an evidentiary...

Robert Bowen v. State of Indiana
Date: October 31, 2013
Docket Number: 08S02-1306-CR-423
Kesling v. Hubler Nissan, Inc.  
Date: October 29, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1302-CT-89

Justia Opinion Summary: After purchasing a car from Defendant, a car dealership, Plaintiff discovered that the car had extensive problems. Plaintiff sued Defendant, alleging that advertising the car as a "Sporty Car at a Great Value Price" viol...

In the Matter of: Thomas M. Dixon
Date: October 8, 2013
Docket Number: 71S00-1104-DI-196
Schwartz v. Heeter  
Date: September 26, 2013
Docket Number: 02S03-1301-DR-18

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother and Father were married in 1992 and had two children. The parties later divorced. In 2009, Mother and Father agreed to recalculate their support obligation annually using the Child Support Rules and Guidelines. Ho...

M & M Inv. Group, LLC v. Ahlemeyer Farms, Inc.  
Date: September 26, 2013
Docket Number: 03S04-1211-CC-645

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was Ind. Code 6-1.1-24-3(b), which provides that a mortgagee annually request by certified mail a copy of notice that a parcel of real property is eligible for sale under the tax sale statutes. Here...

Clark v. State  
Date: September 17, 2013
Docket Number: 20S05-1301-CR-10

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was one of three men that police officers encountered in a self-storage facility and ordered to the ground. After questioning Defendant about the contents of the black bag he was carrying, Defendant admitted it...

McWhorter v. Indiana  
Date: September 12, 2013
Docket Number: 33S01-1301-PC-7

Justia Opinion Summary: Andrew McWhorter appealed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief, arguing trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance for failing to object to a flawed voluntary manslaughter jury instruction. The Court...

Garrett v. State  
Date: August 28, 2013
Docket Number: 49S04-1207-PC-431

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner was charged with felony rape and related charges. Petitioner's case was first tried to a jury in 2008. The jury deadlocked on Petitioner's charges for felony rape and felony confinement, and a retrial was sche...

Santelli v. Rahmatullah  
Date: August 28, 2013
Docket Number: 49S04-1212-CT-667

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2005, Plaintiff was robbed and murdered inside his room in a motel owned by Defendant. Joseph Pryor confessed to robbing and killing Plaintiff and was sentenced to eighty-five years in prison for these crimes. In 2007...

State v. Oney  
Date: August 28, 2013
Docket Number: 49S05-1212-CR-668

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to driving while suspended as a habitual traffic violator (HTV). Defendant later filed a petition for post-conviction relief challenging an underlying offense for operating a vehicle while intoxi...

Schoettmer v. Wright  
Date: August 27, 2013
Docket Number: 49S04-1210-CT-607

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff suffered injuries in a collision with Jolene Wright, who was employed by South Central Community Action Program, Inc. Plaintiff and South Central's liability insurer attempted to settle, but settlement efforts...

Becker v. State  
Date: August 22, 2013
Docket Number: 45S03-1301-CR-9

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of felony criminal deviate conduct in 1998, was released from prison in 2000, and began registering annually as a sex offender. Indiana later expanded its registration requirements. Defendant peti...

In re Adoption of C.B.M.  
Date: August 16, 2013
Docket Number: 37S03-1303-AD-159

Justia Opinion Summary: Mother was the biological mother of fraternal twins. After Mother's parental rights to the twins were terminated (TPR judgment), the twins' foster parents (Adoptive Parents) petitioned to adopt them. None of the parties...

Manley v. Sherer  
Date: August 8, 2013
Docket Number: 59S01-1205-PL-249

Justia Opinion Summary: Mary Manley was involved in a head-on automobile collision with Kimberly Zehr. Manley later learned that Zehr had several medical conditions that, combined with medications she had been prescribed by her physician. Dr. R...

Miller v. Dobbs  
Date: July 30, 2013
Docket Number: 15S05-1302-CT-91

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs sent a proposed medical malpractice complaint to the Indiana Department of insurance without including $7 in required statutory filing and processing fees. Plaintiffs subsequently filed their medical malpracti...

In re Guardianship of A.J.A.  
Date: July 18, 2013
Docket Number: 48S02-1305-GU-398

Justia Opinion Summary: Father murdered Mother in the presence of their two small children. Father's brother and his significant other (Guardians) were granted guardianship over the children. The paternal grandmother (Grandmother) petitioned to...

In the Matter of: Joseph Stork Smith
Date: July 17, 2013
Docket Number: 29S00-1201-DI-8
Comm'r of Labor v. Int'l Union of Painters & Allied Trades AFL-CIO, CLC Dist. Council 91  
Date: July 16, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1205-PL-269

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2008, Stephen and Edward were beaten in Union elections and lost their positions. Deborah, Edward's wife, was a clerical employee and voluntary member of the Union, but the business manager/secretary-treasurer termina...

Chambers v. State  
Date: July 2, 2013
Docket Number: 53S01-1307-CR-459

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor as class B felonies. The trial court sentenced Defendant to maximum consecutive terms after finding "substantial aggravating ci...

N.L. v. State  
Date: July 1, 2013
Docket Number: 47S01-1302-JV-126

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant, a juvenile, admitted to conduct that would constitute felony sexual battery if committed by an adult. The trial court subsequently ordered Appellant to register as a sex offender. Appellant appealed, arguing i...

Passwater v. State  
Date: June 28, 2013
Docket Number: 48S05-1210-PC-583

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with the murder of his mother. He was subsequently found guilty but mentally ill and ultimately sentenced to fifty-five years' incarceration. Defendant filed an amended petition for post-conviction...

In re Mandate of Funds for Ctr. Twp. of Marion County Small Claims Court  
Date: June 28, 2013
Docket Number: 49S00-1207-MF-420

Justia Opinion Summary: This action involved a dispute between a township small claims court and the township trustee and advisory board over changes in the small claims court. The small claims court issued an order for mandate and mandate of f...

Valentin Escobedo v. State of Indiana
Date: June 28, 2013
Docket Number: 71S03-1306-CR-455
Fry v. State  
Date: June 25, 2013
Docket Number: 09S00-1205-CR-361

Justia Opinion Summary: After Defendant was charged with murder, he filed a motion seeking bail. At the same time, Defendant filed a motion seeking a declaration that Ind. Code 35-33-8-2(b), which assigns to a defendant charged with murder the...

Perkinson v. Perkinson  
Date: June 25, 2013
Docket Number: 36S05-1206-DR-371

Justia Opinion Summary: Upon Father and Mother's divorce, Father and Mother agreed that Mother would assume sole financial responsibility of Child and waive enforcement of Father's child support arrearage in exchange for Father's agreement to w...

Johnson v. Wysocki  
Date: June 25, 2013
Docket Number: 45S04-1211-CT-634

Justia Opinion Summary: Buyers bought a home from Sellers after Sellers completed Indiana's statutory disclosure forms attesting to the home's condition. Buyers subsequently discovered costly defects in the home. Buyers sued Sellers, alleging f...

Sanders v. State  
Date: June 25, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1304-CR-242

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was stopped by a police officer due to his darkly-shaded tinted windows. The police officer smelled marijuana and subsequently searched Defendant's person, where he found cocaine. The State charged Defendant wi...

Wright v. Miller  
Date: June 21, 2013
Docket Number: 54S01-1207-CT-430

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs filed a malpractice claim against Dr. Anthony Miller and Achilles Podiatry Group seeking damages for the alleged injuries they received after surgery. The trial was delayed due to Plaintiffs' inability to secu...

Berry v. Crawford  
Date: June 18, 2013
Docket Number: 49S00-0808-DI-468

Justia Opinion Summary: After certain members of the Indiana House of Representatives Democratic Caucus left the state to prevent the formation of a quorum in order to block a vote on impending legislation, House Republicans passed motions to f...

Robert Bowen v. State of Indiana
Date: June 14, 2013
Docket Number: 08S02-1306-CR-423
In re K.T.K.  
Date: June 5, 2013
Docket Number: 15S01-1306-JT-402

Justia Opinion Summary: The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) petitioned to terminate Mother and Father's parental rights regarding their three children. The trial court granted the petition, concluding that DCS provided clear and conv...

City of Indianapolis v. Buschman  
Date: June 4, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1210-CT-598

Justia Opinion Summary: After a police officer rear-ended Plaintiff's vehicle, Plaintiff submitted a tort claim notice to the City of Indianapolis. Plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a complaint against the City and the Indianapolis M...

Hartman v. State  
Date: May 31, 2013
Docket Number: 68S01-1305-CR-395

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with murder and assisting suicide. Defendant requested to speak to an attorney while in police custody, but the following afternoon, detectives re-read Defendant his Miranda rights, and Defendant co...

Lynch v. State  
Date: May 17, 2013
Docket Number: 40S05-1301-CR-23

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of attempted child molesting, a class A felony. The sentencing range for a class A felony is twenty to fifty years incarceration, and the advisory sentence is thirty years. The trial court imposed...

State ex rel. Commons v. Lake Superior Court  
Date: May 17, 2013
Docket Number: 45S00-1303-OR-209

Justia Opinion Summary: Relators were magistrates in the Lake Superior Court, Juvenile Division. Respondents were the Lake Superior Court, Lake Circuit Court, and the courts' judges. Relators complained about a decision made by Respondents to a...

In the Matter of: Arthur J. Usher, IV
Date: May 17, 2013
Docket Number: 49S00-1105-DI-298
Merida v. State  
Date: May 17, 2013
Docket Number: 69S01-1301-CR-24

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pled guilty to two counts of child molesting as class A felonies. The sentencing range for a class A felony is from twenty to fifty years, and the advisory sentence is thirty years. The trial court imposed cons...

Girl Scouts of S. Ill. v. Vincennes Ind. Girls, Inc.  
Date: May 14, 2013
Docket Number: 42S00-1210-PL-597

Justia Opinion Summary: Vincennes Indiana Girls, Inc. (VIG) deeded Camp Wildwood to the predecessor of Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, Inc. (GSSI) on the condition that the property be used for scouting purposes for forty-nine years. The deed...

State v. Doe  
Date: May 14, 2013
Docket Number: 49S00-1201-CT-14

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2008, a jury awarded John Doe $150,000 in punitive damages as part of a judgment in Doe's lawsuit against a priest for childhood sexual abuse. The priest moved to reduce the punitive damages pursuant to the statutory...

VanPatten v. State  
Date: May 2, 2013
Docket Number: 02S03-1205-CR-251

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of three counts of child molestation. The only substantive evidence implicating him in those crimes was a forensic nurse examiner that testified about statements made by the al...

Util. Ctr., Inc. v. City of Fort Wayne  
Date: April 11, 2013
Docket Number: 90S04-1208-PL-450

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff owned and operated certain water and sewer facilities in the City of Fort Wayne. The facilities were divided into two separate geographic areas - the North System and the Aboite System. In 2002 the City passed...

Wilkes v. State  
Date: April 4, 2013
Docket Number: 10S00-1004-PD-185

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted was the murders of Donna Claspell and her two daughters. The trial court sentenced Defendant to death. The Supreme Court affirmed. Defendant subsequently filed a petition for p...

In re Prosecutor's Subpoena re S.H.  
Date: March 27, 2013
Docket Number: 73S01-1209-CR-563

Justia Opinion Summary: After Mother gave birth to an infant alone at home, Boyfriend took Mother and the infant to the hospital. Medical staff noticed puncture wounds on the infant's back and notified the authorities. An ensuing investigation...

Meredith v. Pence  
Date: March 26, 2013
Docket Number: 49S00-1203-PL-172

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs, several Indiana taxpayers, brought an action challenging Indiana's statutory program for providing vouchers to eligible parents for their use in sending their children to private schools. Plaintiffs contended...

Dye v. State  
Date: March 21, 2013
Docket Number: 20S04-1201-CR-5

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Defendant with unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon (SVF) and sought to have Defendant's sentence enhanced under the general habitual offender statute. Defendant pled guilty to th...

Crider v. State  
Date: March 21, 2013
Docket Number: 91S05-1206-CR-306

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with theft and was alleged to be a habitual offender. Defendant and the State entered into a plea agreement, which provided that Defendant would plead guilty as charged and admit his status as a hab...

Walczak v. Labor Works - Fort Wayne LLC  
Date: March 13, 2013
Docket Number: 02S04-1208-PL-497

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff successfully applied for employment at Labor Works, received job assignments an paychecks, and was never fired or laid off. Plaintiff later filed a class action lawsuit against Labor Works under the Indiana Wag...

Bethea v. State  
Date: March 12, 2013
Docket Number: 18S05-1206-PC-304

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pled guilty to felony armed robbery and felony criminal confinement. The trial court determined that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances and imposed the maximum sentence of twe...

K.J.R. v. M.A.B.  
Date: March 7, 2013
Docket Number: 41S01-1209-MI-556

Justia Opinion Summary: Child had contact with his paternal grandparents even after Mother married Stepfather. Later, Stepfather initiated a step-parent adoption of Child, and Mother curtailed the grandparent visits. Child's biological father (...

Holiday Hospitality Franchising, Inc. v. Amco Ins. Co.  
Date: March 6, 2013
Docket Number: 33S01-1206-CT-312

Justia Opinion Summary: Motel was insured under a policy issued by Insurer. The policy provided coverage for, as well as a duty to defend against, claims for bodily injury and personal and advertising injury liability. The policy expressly disc...

Dodd v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co.  
Date: March 5, 2013
Docket Number: 12S02-1203-CT-170

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs, Katherine and Michael, were living together in a home that was destroyed by a fire in 1998. Seeking to rebuild their home, Michael and Katherine completed an application for property insurance with American F...

Heaton v. State  
Date: March 5, 2013
Docket Number: 48S02-1206-CR-350

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pled guilty to receiving stolen property, a felony. While serving her probation term, Defendant was arrested and charged with theft. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court determined that Defendant had c...

Sickels v. State  
Date: February 22, 2013
Docket Number: 20S03-1206-CR-308

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Defendant with three counts of felony nonsupport of a defendant child. By the time the case went to trial, all three children were adults and emancipated. The trial court found Defendant guilty as charg...

K.W. v. State  
Date: February 22, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1301-JV-20

Justia Opinion Summary: A school liaison officer intervened in a hallway scuffle between K.W. and another student. K.W. turned away from the officer's effort to handcuff him. K.W. was subsequently adjudicated delinquent for resisting law enforc...

Jennings v. State  
Date: February 20, 2013
Docket Number: 53S01-1209-CR-526

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of criminal mischief as a Class B misdemeanor for vandalizing another man's truck. The trial court sentenced Defendant to thirty days executed, 150 days suspended, and 360 days...

Kathleen Peterink v. State of Indiana
Date: February 20, 2013
Docket Number: 57S03-1302-CR-136
Ronald B. Hawkins v. State of Indiana
Date: February 19, 2013
Docket Number: 20S03-1208-CR-499
Hawkins v. State  
Date: February 19, 2013
Docket Number: 20S03-1208-DR-499

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant, a North Carolina resident, was charged in Indiana with two counts of non-support of a dependent. After the trial date was set, Defendant's public defender filed a motion to withdraw. The trial court granted th...

Horner v. Carter  
Date: February 12, 2013
Docket Number: 34S02-1210-DR-582

Justia Opinion Summary: When Husband and Wife's marriage was dissolved in 2005, the trial court approved the settlement agreement reached by the parties following mediation. In 2011, Husband sought to modify the agreement. At the evidentiary he...

Iltzsch v. State  
Date: January 24, 2013
Docket Number: 49S02-1301-CR-57

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, Defendant was found guilty of burglary, adjudicated an habitual offender, and sentenced to twenty-two years imprisonment. The trial court also ordered Defendant to pay restitution to the victim in th...

Plank v. Cmty. Hosps. of Ind., Inc.  
Date: January 15, 2013
Docket Number: 49S04-1203-CT-135

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff's wife died after various physicians failed to diagnose and treat her obstructed bowel. Plaintiff, acting individually and as a personal representative of his wife's estate, filed a medical malpractice complain...

Gonzalez v. State  
Date: January 10, 2013
Docket Number: 45S03-1206-CR-307

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1997, Defendant pled guilty to child solicitation, a class D felony. Upon discharge from probation in 1999, Defendant was required to register as a sex offender for ten years pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration...

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