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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 13 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In State of Indiana v. William Coats, a 13-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Barnes writes:

The State appeals the trial court’s denial of its motion to commit William Coats to the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction (“DMHA”). We affirm.

The State raises one issue, which we restate as whether the trial court properly denied the State’s motion to commit Coats to the DMHA for competency restoration services. * * *

Here, the trial court expressly found that restoration to competency is improbable and unlikely, and the report supports that finding. Although the better practice in most cases is to follow the statutory commitment procedures, given Coats’s progressive dementia and the trial court’s finding that he will not be restored to competency, the purposes of the competency restoration process cannot be met by following those procedures here. It is clear that Coats’s dementia will progress, and there simply is no hope nor medical reason to believe that competency will be restored. The discussion in Curtis informs and instructs us that “the State’s interests cannot be realized if there is a finding that a defendant cannot be restored to competency.” Curtis, 948 N.E.2d at 1154. We conclude that the trial court properly denied the State’s motion to commit Coats.

Conclusion. The trial court properly denied the State’s motion to commit Coats to the DMHA. We affirm.

BAKER, J., concurs.
RILEY, J., dissents with opinion. [which begins, at p. 11] I respectfully dissent from the majority’s decision to affirm the trial court’s denial of the State’s motion to commit Coats to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA). The statutory scheme does not allow the trial court discretion over the statutory commitment procedures. If the trial court finds that a defendant lacks the ability to understand the proceedings and assist with the preparation of his defense, “it shall delay or continue the trial and order the defendant committed” to the DMHA. Ind. Code § 35-36-3-1(b) (emphasis added). Consequently, the statute does not give the trial court discretion to decline to order commitment even where it concludes that the defendant could never be returned to competency.

In Terry Smith v. State of Indiana , a 24-page opinion, Judge Mathias concludes:
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the State’s motion to continue so that the State could procure the testimony of a necessary witness. The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in the admission of the evidence regarding the shots fired and casings found, the evidence obtained during the execution of the search warrant, or the DNA evidence obtained from the buccal swab. Lastly, the State presented evidence sufficient to support the trial court’s determination that Smith was an habitual offender. Affirmed.
In Christina M. Kovats v. State of Indiana , a 13-page opinion, Judge Mathias concludes:
Kovats’s convictions for Class B felony neglect of a dependent, Class D felony criminal recklessness, and Class D felony OWI constituted double jeopardy because all three convictions were based on, or elevated by, the same serious bodily injury. Merging these convictions for purposes of sentencing was insufficient to cure the double jeopardy problems because the trial court had already entered judgments of conviction on all counts. On remand, the trial court is instructed to vacate Kovats’s convictions for Class D felony criminal recklessness and Class D felony OWI, and to enter a judgment of conviction and concurrent sentence on the lesser-included offense of Class A misdemeanor OWI. Lastly, Kovats’s maximum executed sentence of twenty years for her conviction for Class B felony is inappropriate, and we remand with instructions that the trial court enter a sentencing order reflecting our revision of Kovats’s sentence to fifteen years executed on that conviction.
NFP civil opinions today (3):

In Re: The Adoption of T.W.: T.J. v. J.B. (NFP)

In Re: The Paternity of B.H.: S.H. v. B.B. (NFP)

Neff Family Fertilizer, Inc. v. John Jones Chevrolet Buick Cadillac of Salem, Inc. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (10):

Christopher Estridge v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kenneth L. Robinson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Charles Day v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kenny L. Futch v. State of Indiana (NFP)

James Kerner v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jamie Masterson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Prince Harris v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Larry R. Dean, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Anthony Paul Banks v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Gregory D. Sutton v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 7, 2013 12:12 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions