Supreme Court of Indiana Decisions 2017

Calvin v. State  
Date: December 21, 2017
Docket Number: 02S03-1709-CR-611

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court rejected the State’s invitation to graft new language onto Indiana’s habitual-fender statutes, which count all prior non-Indiana felonies as Level 6 felonies and do not allow a habitual-offender finding...

Johnson v. State  
Date: December 21, 2017
Docket Number: 32S05-1707-CR-469

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue was the habitual offender statute in one of its recently amended forms, Ind. Code 35-50-2-8(d) (Supp. 2015), and whether each lower-level felony used for habitual offender purposes must meet the statute’s ten-ye...

Bellwether Properties, LLC v. Duke Energy Indiana, Inc.  
Date: December 20, 2017
Docket Number: 53S04-1703-CT-121

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s dismissal of Plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice under Trial Rule 12(B)(6). Plaintiff brought an inverse-condemnation action against Defendant. The trial court found the st...

In the Matter of: Marcus E. Ellison
Date: December 20, 2017
Docket Number: 71S00-1704-DI-187
Jones v. State  
Date: December 19, 2017
Docket Number: 84S05-1712-CR-741

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions, rendered after a jury trial, for six thefts, burglary, and attempted robbery and conspiracy to rob a gas station. The trial court merged the attempt and conspiracy conv...

In the Matter of: Philip H. Chamberlain
Date: December 18, 2017
Docket Number: 53S00-1303-DI-191
Merchandise Warehouse Co. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue  
Date: December 13, 2017
Docket Number: 49S10-1712-TA-735

Justia Opinion Summary: Here, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding principle that direct production involves a process that includes those steps essential and integral to transforming tangible personal property into a distinct marketab...

Town of Ellettsville v. DeSpirito  
Date: December 12, 2017
Docket Number: 53S01-1709-PL-612

Justia Opinion Summary: Because this appeal was not from a final judgment, the Supreme Court, for judicial economy under this case’s particular circumstances, elected to stay this appeal’s consideration and remanded the case to the trial court....

In the Matter of: Richard S. Mossler
Date: December 6, 2017
Docket Number: 29S00-1704-DI-203
Taylor v. State  
Date: December 5, 2017
Docket Number: 82S00-1610-LW-576

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but revised his sentence from life without parole (LWOP) to an aggregate eighty-year term. Defendant was seventeen years old w...

In the Matter of: Robert Neary
Date: November 6, 2017
Docket Number: 46S00-1512-DI-705
State v. Timbs  
Date: November 2, 2017
Docket Number: 27S04-1702-MI-70

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s judgment concluding that the State’s proposed forfeiture of Defendant’s Land Rover that Defendant used to transport illegal drugs would violate the Eighth Amendment’s Excessiv...

Esserman v. Indiana Department of Environmental Management  
Date: November 2, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1704-PL-189

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s wrongful termination complaint against the Indiana Department of Environmental M...

Sedam v. 2JR Pizza Enterprises, LLC  
Date: October 31, 2017
Docket Number: 39S05-1703-CT-171

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reaffirmed the holding in Tindall v. Enderle, 320 N.E.2d 764 (Ind. 1974), which established that when an employer admits that an employee was acting within the course and scope of his or her employment,...

Shepard v. State  
Date: October 20, 2017
Docket Number: 84S01-1704-CR-190

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s determination as to the good time credit Defendant earned while in the work-release program of a community corrections facility and remanded the matter to the trial court with...

Watkins v. State  
Date: October 18, 2017
Docket Number: 82S01-1704-CR-191

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. As grounds for the motion, Defendant argued that the search warrant authorizing the search was unsupported by probable ca...

In the Matter of: Doug Bernacchi
Date: October 16, 2017
Docket Number: 46S00-1512-DI-694
Virginia Garwood and Kristen Garwood v. State of Indiana, et al.
Date: October 11, 2017
Docket Number: 31S01-1710-CT-647
Jefferson Jean-Baptiste v. State of Indiana
Date: October 3, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1707-CR-500
State v. Thakar  
Date: October 2, 2017
Docket Number: 29S02-1705-CR-284

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court overruled Salter v. State, 906 N.E.2d 2012 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), which found Ind. Code 35-49-3-3(a)(1) (the Dissemination Statute) void for vagueness was applied because the intended recipient met India...

Thomas v. State  
Date: September 7, 2017
Docket Number: 27S02-1703-CR-170

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug. The Court of Appeals reversed Defendant’s conviction, concluding that the police violated his...

Archer v. State  
Date: September 6, 2017
Docket Number: 49S04-1705-CR-288

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court requiring Defendant to pay $5,240.32 in restitution. Defendant pled guilty to level 6 felony auto theft, and the victim’s vehicle came back heavily spray-painted. T...

In the Matter of: Beau J. White
Date: September 5, 2017
Docket Number: 27S00-1703-DI-131
In the Matter of: John Downey Pierce
Date: August 31, 2017
Docket Number: 61S00-1703-DI-153
Michael R. Pilkington v. Karen A. Pilkington
Date: August 30, 2017
Docket Number: 18S02-1708-PL-554
Price v. Indiana Department of Child Services; Director of Indiana Department of Child Services  
Date: August 28, 2017
Docket Number: 49S05-1705-PL-285

Justia Opinion Summary: Under Indiana Code section 31-25-2-5, no family case manager at the Indiana Department of Child Services can oversee more than 17 children at a time who are receiving services. The statute does not require the Department...

John Doe #1 v. Indiana Department of Child Services  
Date: August 24, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1609-CT-464

Justia Opinion Summary: When an individual reported child abuse, the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) told the reporter that his report was confidential. The Department however, released the report without redacting the identity of th...

Board of Commissioners of Union County v. McGuinness  
Date: August 15, 2017
Docket Number: 81S01-1708-PL-529

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing this action brought by the Board of Commissioners of Union County (Union County) seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction against the Commissi...

McAlpin v. State  
Date: August 14, 2017
Docket Number: 39S01-1705-CR-342

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions, rendered after a jury trial, for committing various meth-related crimes with a drug-free-zone enhancement. The court of appeals reversed the drug-free=zone enhancement...

In the Matter of: Gillian DePrez Keiffner
Date: August 11, 2017
Docket Number: 49S00-1509-DI-522
Leonard v. State  
Date: August 10, 2017
Docket Number: 02S00-1604-LW-185

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting Defendant of two counts of knowing murder, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, and dozens of counts of arson. The trial court sentenced Defendant to l...

McGuire v. State  
Date: July 21, 2017
Docket Number: 09S02-1707-CR-491

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of Class A felony child molesting. During the plea hearing and at sentencing, the prosecutor, the defense counsel, and the trial court agreed that the statutory sentencing range for...

Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission v. Spirited Sales, LLC  
Date: July 21, 2017
Docket Number: 49S00-1611-PL-614

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s order directing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to grant Spirited Sales, LLC’s (Spirited) application for a liquor wholesaler’s permit and reinstated the Commission...

In the Matter of: Douglas L. Krasnoff
Date: July 20, 2017
Docket Number: 49S00-1308-DI-517
Miller v. State  
Date: July 12, 2017
Docket Number: 28S04-1707-CR-468

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged with felony attempted murder and felony aggravated battery. The trial judge adjudged Defendant guilty but mentally ill on both counts. Defendant appealed, arguing in part that the State did not pres...

Walik L. Whiteside v. State of Indiana
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: 02S05-1706-CR-441
Jacobs v. State  
Date: June 29, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1706-CR-438

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of a handgun with a license, holding that the State’s detention and search of Defendant was unreasonable under Ind. Const. art. I, 11....

Shinnock v. State  
Date: June 27, 2017
Docket Number: 18S05-1706-CR-429

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of bestiality. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted evidence of his admissions of guilt,...

Snow v. State  
Date: June 22, 2017
Docket Number: 45S03-1703-CR-169

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant carried a handgun as she battered a law enforcement officer and resisted law enforcement. Defendant was not charged with a firearm-related offense, but nonetheless, the State introduced her gun into evidence at...

Harris v. State  
Date: June 22, 2017
Docket Number: 45S03-1703-CR-172

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for battery against a public safety official and resisting law enforcement, holding (1) as the Supreme Court held in Snow v. State, __ N.E. 3d __ (Ind. 2017), the trial...

William McNeal v. State of Indiana
Date: June 20, 2017
Docket Number: 49S05-1706-CR-405
In the Matter of: Everett E. Powell, II
Date: June 14, 2017
Docket Number: 49S00-1504-DI-231
Hurley v. State  
Date: May 31, 2017
Docket Number: 49S05-1705-CR-346

Justia Opinion Summary: When Defendant was stopped for a traffic violation, Defendant agreed to take a chemical test at a nearby police station. Defendant did not blow hard enough during the test, prompting the machine to print an “insufficient...

In the Matter of: Joseph M. Johnson III
Date: May 17, 2017
Docket Number: 01S00-1604-DI-188
Sims v. Pappas  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: 45S03-1701-CT-26

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs filed a personal injury case arising out of an automobile collision. At trial, Plaintiffs introduced into evidence Defendant’s prior alcohol-related driving convictions. The jury returned a verdict for Plainti...

Love v. State  
Date: May 11, 2017
Docket Number: 71S03-1612-CR-641

Justia Opinion Summary: Indiana appellate courts reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence must apply the same deferential standard of review to video evidence as to other evidence unless the video evidence indisputably contradicts the trial co...

Pinner v. State  
Date: May 9, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1611-CR-610

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that evidence obtained after a search and seizure was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the trial court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained as...

Humphrey v. State  
Date: May 5, 2017
Docket Number: 48S02-1609-PC-480

Justia Opinion Summary: Fifteen years after the Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction for murder, Appellant filed an amended petition for post-conviction relief, alleging that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance. The post-conv...

Zanders v. State  
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: 15S01-1611-CR-571

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the “third-party doctrine,” which provides that police are not required to obtain a search warrant to gather information an individual has voluntarily relinquished to a third party, applies as...

Escamilla v. Shiel Sexton Co.  
Date: May 4, 2017
Docket Number: 54S01-1610-CT-546

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the Open Courts Clause of the Indiana Constitution allows unauthorized immigrants to pursue claims for decreased earning capacity damages in a tort action. The Court then provided an evidentia...

In the Matter of Justin R. Wall
Date: May 3, 2017
Docket Number: 35S00-1509-DI-577
Leonard v. State  
Date: May 2, 2017
Docket Number: 71S00-1509-LW-539

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant appealed his convictions for two counts of murder for which the trial court imposed consecutive life without parole sentences. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to sustain the...

In re Honorable Tommy D. Phillips II  
Date: April 28, 2017
Docket Number: 38S00-1609-JD-517

Justia Opinion Summary: The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brought a judicial disciplinary action against Tommy D. Phillips II, Judge of the Dunkirk City Court (Respondent), after Respondent pleaded guilty to battery against a pu...

Ryan v. TCI Architects/Engineers/Contractors, Inc.  
Date: April 26, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1704-CT-253

Justia Opinion Summary: TCI Architects (TCI) entered into an agreement with Gander Mountain to serve as the general contractor on a construction project. TCI subcontracted with Craft Mechanical, which subcontracted with B.A. Romines Sheet Metal...

KS&E Sports v. Runnels  
Date: April 24, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1606-CT-349

Justia Opinion Summary: Police officer Dwayne Runnels suffered serious injuries after he was shot by Demetrious Martin. Martin, a convicted felon who could not legally purchase or possess a firearm, received the firearm by Tarus Blackburn, who...

Corey Middleton v. State of Indiana
Date: April 21, 2017
Docket Number: 32S01-1704-PC-226
McKeen v. Turner  
Date: April 7, 2017
Docket Number: 53S05-1704-CT-202

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff filed a proposed malpractice complaint alleging that Defendant’s medical and surgical treatment of Plaintiff’s wife failed to meet the appropriate standard of care, resulting in her death. In addition to the co...

State v. Smith  
Date: March 28, 2017
Docket Number: 45S05-1611-CR-572

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to Class D felony theft. As part of his plea agreement with the State, Defendant agreed that he would be “precluded from asking for misdemeanor treatment.” At that time, trial courts could conver...

Consumer Attorney Services, P.A. v. State  
Date: March 21, 2017
Docket Number: 49S05-1703-PL-161

Justia Opinion Summary: The State brought this civil action against Consumer Attorney Services, P.A., The McCann Law Group, LLP, and Brenda McCann (collectively, Defendants), alleging that Defendants’ conduct violated four Indiana consumer prot...

Beville v. State  
Date: March 17, 2017
Docket Number: 84S01-1606-CR-347

Justia Opinion Summary: The State charged Defendant with dealing in marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance. At some point, the State informed Defendant that it had a video recording of a controlled buy between him and a confidential inform...

McCullough v. CitiMortgage, Inc.  
Date: March 14, 2017
Docket Number: 71S03-1605-MF-272

Justia Opinion Summary: CitiMortgage, Inc. obtained a judgment of foreclosure against the family homestead of Homeowners - husband and wife. Homeowners attempted to appeal without legal representation. The Court of Appeals dismissed the attempt...

In ther Matter of Donald Edward James
Date: March 7, 2017
Docket Number: 02S00-1607-DI-389
Underwood v. Bunger  
Date: March 6, 2017
Docket Number: 53S01-1703-MI-126

Justia Opinion Summary: The owner of real property executed a warranty deed to three grantees, two of whom (Husband and Wife) were married. A dozen years later, in a separate case, the circuit court entered a damages judgment against Husband an...

State v. Brown  
Date: March 2, 2017
Docket Number: 49S05-1606-CR-348

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant entered a field sobriety checkpoint and was asked if he had been drinking. Defendant admitted that he had. The officer administered some field sobriety tests and ultimately arrested Defendant. Defendant was cha...

In re Hon. T. Edward Page  
Date: February 20, 2017
Docket Number: 94S00-1701-JD-3

Justia Opinion Summary: The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications brought this judicial disciplinary action against T. Edward Page, Senior Judge (Respondent), asserting that because Respondent was arrested and convicted for operating a...

D.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services  
Date: February 17, 2017
Docket Number: 54S01-1612-JT-630

Justia Opinion Summary: The first required element a termination petition must allege establishes three waiting periods to give parents a time to reunify with their children and bars the Department of Child Services (DCS) from seeking terminati...

Megenity v. Dunn  
Date: February 16, 2017
Docket Number: 22S04-1609-CT-465

Justia Opinion Summary: In Pfenning v. Lineman, the Supreme Court established that Indiana courts do not referee disputes arising from ordinary sports activity. The Court further held that, as a matter of law, when a sports participant injuries...

J.D.M. v. State  
Date: February 15, 2017
Docket Number: 21S01-1702-JV-84

Justia Opinion Summary: J.D.M. was adjudicated a delinquent for committing child molestation which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a Class C felony. The juvenile court ordered placement of J.D.M. at the Wernle Youth and Family Treat...

In the Matter of: Gene D. Emmons
Date: February 14, 2017
Docket Number: 87S00-1604-DI-190
City of Lawrence Utilites Service Board v. Curry  
Date: February 8, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1609-CT-481

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2009, Carlton Curry was appointed as superintendent of Lawrence Utilities, the City of Lawrence’s municipally owned water and sewer utility. Just over two years later, Dean Jessup was elected as mayor of the City in t...

In re Matter of D.J.  
Date: February 7, 2017
Docket Number: 02S03-1610-JC-548

Justia Opinion Summary: The trial court found that the two minor children of Parents were “in need of services” under Ind. Code 31-34-1-1. Mother and Father filed separate notices of appeal challenging the child-in-need-of-services (CHINS) dete...

Ellis v. State  
Date: January 26, 2017
Docket Number: 71S05-1606-PC-360

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder as class A felonies and two counts of attempted robbery resulting in serious bodily injury also as class A felonies. Defendant was sentenced to 100 years’ impris...

Wampler v. State  
Date: January 25, 2017
Docket Number: 14S05-1701-CR-37

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was convicted of two counts of Class B felony burglary and adjudicated a habitual offender. The trial court sentenced Defendant to an aggregate sentence of thirty-three years. Defendant appealed, arguing that h...

Shoun v. State  
Date: January 25, 2017
Docket Number: 20S00-1601-LW-61

Justia Opinion Summary: After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of murder. Defendant was sentenced to life without parole. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) the trial court did not commit fundamental...

In the Matter of: Narles W. Coleman
Date: January 24, 2017
Docket Number: 98S00-1301-DI-52
Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Co. v. Emmert Industrial Corp.  
Date: January 3, 2017
Docket Number: 49S02-1608-CT-431

Justia Opinion Summary: Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Company contracted with Emmert Industrial Corporation to transport an enormous process tower vessel to Indiana to Tennessee. Despite several troubles resulting in unforeseen costs, Emmert suc...

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