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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 today (and 4 NFP)

For publication opinions today (3):

In Marjorie O. Lesley v. Robert T. Lesley , an 11-page opinion with a separate concurring opinion, Judge Crone writes:

Marjorie O. Lesley (“Wife”) and Robert T. Lesley (“Husband”) obtained a divorce. In the final dissolution decree, the trial court found that Wife did not present sufficient evidence to establish that she was entitled to incapacity maintenance, but indicated that it would reevaluate the issue if the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) determined that she was disabled. Subsequently, the SSA found that Wife was disabled, and she filed a petition with the trial court to revisit the issue of incapacity maintenance. The trial court then issued an order finding that Wife was entitled to rehabilitative maintenance from the time of the dissolution until the emancipation of the parties’ youngest child. Wife filed a motion to correct error, arguing that the trial court erred in granting her rehabilitative maintenance rather than incapacity maintenance. The trial court denied her motion.

Wife appeals the denial of her motion to correct error, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that she was entitled to rehabilitative maintenance rather than incapacity maintenance. Husband cross-appeals, arguing that the trial court did not have the authority to reevaluate its original decision not to grant Wife maintenance. We conclude that the Indiana Code requires the trial court to make a maintenance determination at the time that the final dissolution decree is entered. We further conclude that because the trial court found in the final dissolution decree that Wife failed to carry her burden to show that she was incapacitated, it did not have the authority to revisit the issue based upon a postdissolution decision from the SSA. Accordingly, we reverse the portion of the trial court’s order granting Wife maintenance and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, including all necessary recalculations. * * *

NAJAM, J., concurs.
BAKER, J., concurs with separate opinion. [that begins, at p. 10] I agree with the majority that the issue of spousal maintenance could not be revisited once the trial court entered the final dissolution decree. However, I write separately to explain how the trial court’s intent could have been properly effected.

In Victor Hugo Mesa v. State of Indiana , a 20-page opinion with a separate concurring opinion, Judge Pyle writes:
Victor Hugo Mesa (“Mesa”), pro se, appeals the trial court’s order granting summary judgment to the State of Indiana, the Office of the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney, and the Seymour Police Department (collectively, “the State”) on the State’s complaint for forfeiture, which alleged that Mesa’s vehicle was purchased with proceeds from cocaine dealing. * * *

Because Mesa did not (1) properly request a summary judgment hearing, or (2) designate any evidence to show that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the vehicle was seizable under IC 34–24–1–1(a)(3), the trial court did not err by granting summary judgment to the State.

BRADFORD, J., concurs.
MATHIAS, J., concurs with opinion. [which begins, on p. 18 of 20] I concur with the majority’s conclusion that Mesa was not entitled to a hearing in the State’s forfeiture action, but I write separately to emphasize that Mesa’s complete failure to designate any evidence to contradict that designated by the State in its motion for summary judgment negated any reason for a hearing.

In Jerid T. Bennett v. State of Indiana , a 26-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:
In the months leading up to December of 2011, Officer Randall Sanders of the Paoli Police Department and Detective Shane Staggs of the Indiana State Police received information from multiple confidential informants (“CIs”), each of whom had previously proven to be reliable, that Appellant-Defendant Jerid R. Bennett was engaged in illegal drug activity at his residence in Paoli. While conducting surveillance of Bennett’s residence on the evening of December 6, 2011, Officer Sanders observed Kurt Sugarman arrive at Bennett’s residence, walk around to a side entrance to the garage, return to his vehicle less than five minutes later, and drive away. Detective Staggs stopped Sugarman for a traffic infraction soon after he left Bennett’s residence. Sugarman was arrested after Detective Staggs saw drug paraphernalia in plain view in Sugarman’s vehicle. Sugarman subsequently admitted to police that he had visited Bennett’s residence for the purpose of purchasing cocaine and that he had, in fact, purchased cocaine from Bennett for $50.00. Soon thereafter, Detective Staggs requested and received a search warrant for Bennett’s residence. Law enforcement officers recovered substantial evidence of drug activity during their subsequent search of Bennett’s residence.

On December 8, 2011, Appellee-Plaintiff the State of Indiana charged Bennett with one count of Class B felony dealing in cocaine, one count of Class D felony possession of cocaine, one count of Class D felony maintaining a common nuisance, and one count of Class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Following a jury trial, Bennett was found guilty as charged. On appeal, Bennett challenges his convictions, contending that (1) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain evidence, (2) the trial court erred in allowing the State to show certain text messages to the jury during its rebuttal closing argument, (3) the trial court erred in allowing the State to amend the charging information, and (4) his conviction for Class D felony possession of cocaine is barred by double jeopardy. Concluding that Bennett’s conviction for Class D felony possession of cocaine is barred by double jeopardy but finding no other error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court in part and vacate Bennett’s conviction for Class D felony possession of cocaine.

NFP civil opinions today (2):

Robert Morris Endris v. Jennifer Lynn Endris (NFP)

Vernon Robinson v. Estates At Eagle's Pointe (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (2):

Dennis Knight v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Richard Antonio Clark v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 25, 2014 10:53 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions