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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 opinion(s) today (and 10 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (1):

In Steven M. Kelly v. Rebecca J. Kelly , a 16-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:

Appellant-Respondent Steven M. Kelly (“Husband”) and Appellee-Petitioner Rebecca J. Kelly (“Wife”) (collectively “the parties”) were divorced in 1995. The parties entered into a property settlement agreement which was accepted by the trial court and provided that Husband would pay Wife five million dollars over the course of several years. In 1997, the parties, by written agreement, amended the original settlement agreement and established a new payment schedule under which Husband would pay Wife $300,000 each year until 2014 (“1997 PSA”). The parties entered into two subsequent agreements, in 1999 and 2003, under which Husband advanced or loaned money to Wife from the amounts she would be entitled to receive under the 1997 PSA. In 2007, Husband ceased making payments under the 1997 PSA payment schedule because he believed Wife had been advanced or loaned the maximum amount she would have been entitled to receive in the remaining eight years of the 1997 PSA.

In 2013, Wife filed a motion requesting that the trial court enforce the terms of the 1997 PSA, alleging that Husband owed her the annual payments from 2007 to 2014 and that the agreements made following the 1997 PSA were unenforceable because they were not approved by the trial court. The trial court agreed with Wife, finding that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the 1999 and 2003 agreements because it had not approved and incorporated those agreements into the dissolution decree. The trial court ordered Husband to pay Wife $2.4 million. We find that the parties were free to modify the settlement agreement without approval of the trial court and that the trial court erred in failing to consider the 1999 and 2003 agreements. We reverse and remand.

NFP civil decisions today (2):

Geoff Gustafson v. Ami Leigh Gomez (Winebrenner) (mem. dec.)

In Brian Andert v. State of Indiana and Bruce Lemmon, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Correction (mem. dec.), a 9-page opinion, Judge Najam writes at #9:

Andert attempted to show irreparable harm when he alleged in his motion for the preliminary injunction that sex-offender inmates who refuse to admit to guilt as part of the INSOMM program will have their credit class lowered, such that they will earn less credit time. However, as the trial court correctly noted, our supreme court recently held that when the State presents an inmate with a choice to participate in a DOC program that may lead to a reduced sentence, such as through credit time or a release on parole, that opportunity is a “constitutionally permissible choice” to participate that does not compel self-incrimination and, therefore, does not violate the Fifth Amendment. Bleeke, 6 N.E. 3rd 934-35. Therefore, Andert has not shown that a potential loss of credit time amounts to irreparable harm or supports his claim on the merits.[9] * * *
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[9] Although being incentivized to admit guilt by a reduction in one’s release date does not constitute compulsion according to Bleeke, 6 N.E.3d 907, neither Bleeke nor any other Indiana case has addressed whether being required to admit guilt as part of a DOC program while a post-conviction relief action is pending is prohibited under the Fifth Amendment. * * * However, this is not the case to decide this issue of first impression.
NFP criminal decisions today (8):

Quentin J. Abbott v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Joshua Comer v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Shepell Orr v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Jacob Lacy Higgins v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Robert Griffin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Kaleigh Hix v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Antionne Lamar Brewster v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Bernard Johnson, Jr. v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 7, 2015 11:46 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions