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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decide two today

In Leonard L. Suggs v. State of Indiana, a 7-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Rucker writes:

The question presented is whether the sister of a brother who was once married to the defendant’s aunt is a “family or household member” within the meaning of the statute elevating misdemeanor battery to a level 6 felony. We think not. * * *

It appears to us that rather than extending the scope of “related by marriage” to an infinite configuration of marital relationships the legislature intended instead to employ the term in its commonly understood meaning namely, related by “affinity.” As applied to the facts here, we assume for the sake of discussion that Suggs’ aunt is his mother’s sister. Suggs is obviously related by blood to his mother and his mother’s sister. As for Warren, although she is related by blood to her own brother and related by affinity to her brother’s wife (the sister of Suggs’ mother), she is not related by blood or affinity to Suggs. And this is so because Suggs is the blood relative of one spouse—his mother’s sister—and Warren is the blood relative of the other spouse—her own brother. “There is no affinity between the blood relatives of one spouse and the blood relatives of the other.” 2 Wharton’s Criminal Law § 242 at 573.

In essence, the evidence is not sufficient to show that Suggs is related to Warren by marriage as the term is used in Indiana Code section 35-31.5-2-128. Accordingly, Warren is not a family or household member within the meaning of the statute elevating misdemeanor battery to a level 6 felony.

In Town of Fortville v. Certain Fortville Annexation Territory Landowners, a 5-0, 10-page opinion, Justice Rucker writes:
In this involuntary annexation case the trial court determined, after a bench trial, that a statutory requirement for annexation had not been met. Because the trial court’s judgment is not clearly erroneous, we affirm.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 28, 2016 11:05 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions