« Courts - More on "For-Profit College Operator EDMC Will Forgive Student Loans" | Main | Ind. Courts - "Floyd Co. Veterans Court expanding through partnerships with neighboring counties" »

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 opinion(s) today (and 5 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (2):

In Ada Brown v. Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, a 13-page opinion, Chief Judge Vaidik writes:

Ada and Roy Brown transferred their home to a trust in 2000 and shortly thereafter made the trust irrevocable. Ten years later, and two years after Ada moved to a nursing home, the trust sold the home for $75,000. In 2012 Ada applied for Medicaid benefits and submitted documentation that the house had sold for $75,000. The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (“FSSA”) found Ada eligible for Medicaid benefits; however, it imposed a transfer penalty based on the sale of the home in 2010. In calculating the penalty, the FSSA valued the home at $91,900 based on a tax assessment. Ada appealed the imposition of the penalty, the ALJ affirmed, and Ada appealed to this Court. Because the evidence shows that the proceeds from the sale of the house were placed back in the trust, and that the fair market value of the house was $75,000, we reverse the imposition of the transfer penalty. Further, although the FSSA asks us to remand to the agency to redetermine eligibility, we decline to do so as eligibility was never an issue with the FSSA, the ALJ, or the trial court. * * *

Here, the evidence reveals a willing buyer and seller, albeit with a family relationship, and no evidence that either was under any compulsion to consummate the sale. The evidence further shows that the price of the house was reduced because the sewer system needed to be replaced. In light of this testimony regarding the buyer and the seller, as well as the need for a new sewer system, we find substantial evidence that the house’s fair market value was $75,000 at the time of the sale. Accordingly, the transfer penalty was improperly assessed.

Reversed and remanded with instructions to vacate the transfer penalty.

In Robert Scott Hilligoss v. State of Indiana, a 9-page opinion, Judge Najam writes:
Robert Hilligoss appeals from the trial court’s revocation of his probation. Hilligoss presents two issues for our review which we restate as the following three issues:
1. Whether his probationary period had expired at the time of the violation alleged in the State’s January 7, 2015, petition to revoke his suspended sentence.
2. Whether the trial court denied him his right to due process when it accepted his admission that he had violated the terms of his probation without first advising him of his constitutional rights.
3. Whether the trial court erred when it extended the term of his probation by more than one year beyond the original term of probation.

We reverse and remand with instructions. * * *

[Due process] Thus, we hold that a trial court’s failure to ensure that a probationer who admits to a probation violation has received the advisements as required under Indiana Code Section 35-38-2-3(e) constitutes a fundamental violation of the probationer’s due process rights. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s revocation of Hilligoss’ probation. On remand, the trial court shall hold an evidentiary hearing on Hilligoss’ alleged probation violation or, if Hilligoss admits to the violation, the trial court shall make a record to reflect that Hilligoss has been properly advised of his rights in accordance with Indiana Code Section 35-38-2-3(e). * * *

[Term extensions] Finally, we address Hilligoss’ contention that the trial court erred when it extended the term of his probation by more than one year beyond the original term of probation in violation of Indiana Code Section 35-38-2-3(h)(2) * * *

Because those two extensions, taken together, extend Hilligoss’ probationary period by more than one year beyond the original probationary period, they violate Indiana Code Section 35-38-2-3(h)(2). On remand, we instruct the trial court to reduce Hilligoss’ period of probation by six months to bring it in compliance with the statute.

NFP civil decisions today (2):

John D. May v. Greene County Sheriff's Department, Greene County Jail, Sheriff Michael Hasler and Jail Commander Darrin MacDonald (mem. dec.)

Maria Bonner v. Elena Magana (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (3):

Kezalis Harris v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Joseph T. Ford, III v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

John Paul Garcia v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 18, 2015 11:14 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions