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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 7 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In Michael E. Hitchens v. Collection Specialists, Inc., a 10-page opinion, Judge Pyle writes:

Michael E. Hitchens (“Hitchens”) appeals the small claims court’s judgment in favor of Collection Specialists, Inc. (“Collection Specialists”) concerning a bill for dental work. We affirm.

ISSUE. Whether the small claims court denied Hitchens the due process of law when it admitted a letter containing hearsay into evidence. * * *

[In Matusky] we wrote that the effect of re-writing the Small Claims Rules to provide that a judgment could not be based exclusively on hearsay evidence would “impose technical rules upon largely untrained litigants[,] completely thwarting the express purpose of providing an uncomplicated and simple method of resolution of issues in order to dispense speedy justice between the parties.” Id.For the same reasons, we decline to impose such technical rules here, and we conclude that the trial court did not deny Hitchens due process.

In Robert E. Hicks v. State of Indiana , a 13-page opinion, Judge Mathias writes:
Following a jury trial, Robert E. Hicks (“Hicks”) was convicted in Vanderburgh Circuit Court of murder and sentenced to fifty-five years in the Indiana Department of Correction. Hicks appeals and claims that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting into evidence recorded statements made by Hicks to the police in which he admitted to killing the victim. We affirm. * * *

The trial court did not have to credit Hicks’s testimony that he requested the assistance of counsel prior to waiving his Miranda rights. And even if Hicks was in custody during the interrogations, by the time of his second interview, which was a day after his first interviews, he was advised of, and waived, his Miranda rights. Because Hicks did not confess prior to being read his Miranda rights, Seibert is inapplicable. Therefore, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the two recorded statements Hicks made to the police after he had been advised of, and waived, his Miranda rights.

NFP civil opinions today (4):

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of B.P., C.P., and D.P., the minor children, and A.H., the Mother, and J.P., the Father: A.H. and J.P. v. IDCS (NFP)

Fidelity and Deposit Co. of Maryland v. Sheet Metal Workers' International Association Local Union No. 20, Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 20 Welfare and Benefit Fund, et al. (NFP)

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: K.S. & A.S. (minor children); K.D. (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor v. Indiana Michigan Power Company and Steel Dynamics, Inc. (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Dennis J. Turner v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Gregory K. Cox v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Laurence F. Myers, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 11, 2014 01:09 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions