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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 opinion(s) today (and 5 NFP memorandum decisions) [Updated]

For publication opinions today (3):

In In Re the Marriage of: Amy Steele-Giri v. Brian K. Steele, a 30-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Riley writes:

Appellant-Respondent, Amy Steele-Giri (Mother), appeals the trial court’s order denying her petition for modification of custody of the minor child, J.S., and rule to show cause in favor of Appellee-Petitioner, Brian K. Steele (Father). * * *

We reverse the trial court’s Order, grant physical custody of J.S. to Mother, and remand to the trial court for determination whether joint legal custody would be in J.S.’s best interest and to establish Father’s parenting schedule in line with the parenting time guidelines where distance is a factor. Additionally, we reverse the trial court’s denial of Mother’s petition for rule to show cause, find Father in contempt, and remand to the trial court for determination of Mother’s monetary damages, if any.

Bailey, J. concurs
Barnes, J. dissents with separate opinion [which begins on p. 29 and concludes] In my opinion, this is not a case in which the evidence compels the modification of custody to Mother. Despite evidence of both parents’ shortcomings, the guardian ad litem testified that Mother and Father “are good involved parents” and agreed that J.S. has “a wonderful relationship with each of her parents[.]” Tr. pp. 70, 67. The guardian ad litem declined to make a firm recommendation in this case because it was “such a close call.” Id. at 66. Based on this evidence, I believe this is the very circumstance in which long-standing precedent requires us to defer to the trial court’s assessment of witnesses and to affirm the trial court’s decision. For these reasons, I dissent.

In Town of Whitestown, Indiana v. Rural Perry Township Landowners , a 26-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:
In 2013, the Town of Whitestown (“Whitestown”) adopted an ordinance annexing unincorporated portions of Perry Township adjacent to the town. Rural Perry Township landowners (“the Remonstrators”) filed a petition to defeat the annexation. The trial court found that the Remonstrators had satisfied statutory conditions required to defeat the annexation and ordered that the annexation not occur. Whitestown now appeals.

We reverse and remand for entry of judgment in favor of Whitestown.* * *

The trial court erred in its interpretation of Indiana Code subsections 36-4-3-13(c) and (e), and in its application of the statutory provisions to its findings of fact. We accordingly reverse the trial court’s judgment, and remand the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Whitestown with respect to the Remonstrators’ challenge to the Annexation Ordinance.

[Updated at 2:56 PM] See new Indianapolis Star story here, "Whitestown wins appeal over Perry Township land owners."

In In re the Custody of: M.B. b/n/f Stephanie Choate and Dustin Choate v. Shalena Barnes and Stephen West, a 9-page opinion, Judge Robb writes:

Stephanie Choate and Dustin Choate appeal the dismissal of their independent action seeking emergency custody of Stephanie’s niece, M.B., who had been adjudicated a child in need of services (“CHINS”) in a separate proceeding.1 They raise two issues, one of which we find dispositive: whether the trial court erred in dismissing their action. Concluding the trial court did not err because it had no jurisdiction over a separate custody petition when a CHINS proceeding was pending in the juvenile court, we affirm.
NFP civil decisions today (1):

Billy L. Haymaker v. Victoria L. Haymaker (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (4):

William Goodwin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Yorel M. Wallace v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Connie Kidd v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Cornelius T. Banks v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 29, 2015 01:06 PM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions