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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 3 opinion(s) today (and 12 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (3):

In Marion County Election Board and Marion County Board of Voter Registration v. Gregory Bowes, Mark King, Paul Ogden, Zach Mullholland, and Brian Cooper, a 14-page opinion, Judge Pyle writes:

Appellants/Defendants, the Marion County Board of Voter Registration (“MCVR”) and Marion County Election Board (“MCEB”), appeal the trial court’s award of attorney fees to Appellee/Plaintiff, Gregory Bowes (“Bowes”), an attorney who litigated a claim pro se under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act (“APRA”). Bowes also cross-appeals. At trial, the trial court concluded that Bowes could not recover attorney fees under APRA for his successful APRA claim because he had litigated the claim pro se. Nevertheless, the trial court awarded Bowes “expenses of litigation” reflecting an hourly rate for the amount of hours he had spent litigating his claim to compensate him for his lost opportunities and employment as an attorney.

On appeal, the MCVR argues that the trial court’s litigation expenses award was essentially an improper award of attorney fees and, alternatively, that the trial court erred in allowing Bowes to recover litigation expenses for his lost opportunities and employment. On cross-appeal, Bowes argues that the trial court erred in denying his request for attorney fees and abused its discretion in determining the amount of his litigation expenses. Because we conclude that Bowes was not entitled to recover attorney fees under APRA as a pro se attorney or litigation expenses for missed work and other opportunities for employment, we reverse the trial court’s decision. We remand with instructions for the trial court to vacate Bowes’ prior award of litigation expenses and to enter an award of $975.14 for his remaining court costs and litigation expenses.

In Richard Scott Lambert v. Michael Shipman and Kent Abernathy, a 12-page opinion, Judge Altice writes:
Richard Lambert appeals the denial of his verified petition seeking rescission of a lifetime suspension of his driving privileges. Lambert presents two issues for our review, which we restate as: 1. Does a trial court have authority to deny a petition for rescission of a lifetime suspension of driving privileges brought under Ind. Code § 9-30-10-14.1? 2. Did the trial court err in denying Lambert’s petition? * * *

Moreover, as noted above, the trial court, in concluding that not enough time had passed, indicated that it was persuaded more by the fact that Lambert had accumulated three lifetime suspensions and that after each suspension, he chose to ignore court orders that he not drive. The significance the trial court put on Lambert’s history was a matter within its discretion and supported its determination that rescission of Lambert’s lifetime suspension was not in the best interests of society and that his lifetime suspension was not unreasonable. Based on the foregoing, we conclude that the trial court did not err in denying Lambert’s petition for rescission of the lifetime suspension of his driving privileges. We affirm.

In Christopher C. Norris v. State of Indiana , a 25-page opinion, Judge Riley concludes:
Based on the foregoing, we conclude that J.B. was unavailable to testify as a protected person pursuant to I.C. § 35-37-4-6(e)(2)(B)(i); the trial court properly admitted the videotaped interview of J.B. at trial, together with the testimony of three other witnesses; the trial court committed harmless error by admitting vouching testimony; and there was no drumbeat repetition of J.B.’s allegations by different witnesses. Affirmed.
NFP civil decisions today (4):

In the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: I.C. (Minor Child) and J.C. (Mother) v. The Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec)

In the Matter of the Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of: R.H., C.H., and M.H., K.G. (Mother) v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services (mem. dec.)

In re the Guardianship of K.K.L., C.T.L., Q.C.L., and A.S.L. (minor children), Dorothy Denise Carroll (mem. dec.)

James Chaplin v. J.S. (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (8):

Joshua H. Field v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Bryan N. Myers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Lavonte A. Wilderness v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Franklin e. Heathscott v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Jenneil Jackson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Philip A. Garrett v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Joseph Hale v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Deryk Hutton v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 26, 2016 11:54 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions