« Ind. Gov't. - "I also question whether a law enforcement agency can justify a $150 fee for a copy" | Main | Environment - "New vessel a friend to Great Lakes environment" »

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 4 opinion(s) today (and 15 NFP memorandum decision(s))

For publication opinions today (4):

In Brian Fuchs v. Riverbend Assisted Living , an 11-page opinion, Judge Barnes writes:

Brian Fuchs appeals the trial court’s issuance of three workplace violence restraining orders on behalf of employees of Riverbend Assisted Living (“Riverbend”). We affirm.

As in Torres, we conclude that Fuchs’s conduct qualifies as a credible threat of violence with respect to Wheeler, Rice, and Smith. Fuchs repeatedly harassed, screamed at, and intimidated Riverbend employees. Although Fuchs may have been protesting the care his mother was receiving, his behavior went far beyond advocating for his mother. Repeatedly screaming, threatening, cursing, getting in employees’ faces, and backing employees into corners does not serve a legitimate purpose. Further, Rice and Smith testified that they were scared of Fuchs, and Wheeler testified that she was afraid Fuchs was going to initiate a physical altercation with her. Given Fuchs’s repeated conduct, a reasonable person would fear for his or her safety. Fuchs’s arguments to the contrary are merely requests that we reweigh the evidence, which we cannot do. Riverbend presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the employees suffered credible threats of violence from Fuchs at their place of employment. The trial court properly entered the workplace violence restraining orders.

In Christopher Compton v. State of Indiana , a 13-page opinion, Judge Robb writes [ILB emphasis]:
Following a trifurcated jury trial, Christopher Compton was convicted of three counts of felony murder and found to be an habitual offender. Compton appeals, raising two restated issues: (1) whether Compton was deprived of due process when the trial court allowed the media to Tweet live updates of his trial from the courtroom, and (2) whether the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence of Compton’s incriminatory statements. Concluding the trial court did not deprive Compton of due process nor did it err in admitting evidence of Compton’s statements, we affirm. * * *

Compton contends the trial court violated Rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct in allowing the media to Tweet live updates of his trial from the courtroom, arguing Tweeting live updates of his criminal trial amounts to inherently prejudicial “broadcasting” that violates his right to due process. The State counters Tweeting does not amount to broadcasting, and even if so, Compton has not demonstrated he suffered any prejudice.5 Because broadcasting a defendant’s trial is not inherently prejudicial and Compton has not demonstrated he suffered prejudice as a result of the alleged broadcasting, we need not address whether Tweeting live updates of a criminal trial is deemed “broadcasting.” * * *

As noted above, it is unnecessary to decide whether Twitter is “broadcasting,” because even assuming it is, broadcasting is not inherently prejudicial and Compton has shown no specific prejudice to him in this case. * * * [P]rior to trial, the trial court instructed the jury not to receive information about the case from any source, including internet sources; the jury was sequestered during the Twitter discussion; the trial court instructed the media not to Tweet in a manner that would disrupt proceedings; the trial court instructed the attorneys to notify their respective witnesses not to use Twitter until after they testified; and there is no evidence any witnesses or jurors viewed any Tweets pertaining to the trial. We conclude Compton was not deprived of due process when the media was allowed to Tweet live updates of his criminal trial from the courtroom.

[ILB: But see lengthy footnote on p. 9] - begins "we take this opportunity to express our concern as to the impact social media applications have on due process and trials."]

In J.J. v. State of Indiana , an 8-page opinion, Judge Najam writes:
J.J., a minor, appeals the juvenile court’s true finding for dangerous possession of a firearm as a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult. The only issue he raises on appeal is whether the police had reasonable suspicion to stop and search him. We affirm and remand with instructions.
In Thomas Pinner v. State of Indiana , a 14-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge May writes:
Thomas Pinner appeals the denial of his motion to suppress. As no reasonable suspicion justified the investigatory stop, we reverse. * * *

As the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to stop Pinner and this was not a consensual encounter, the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion to suppress. As such, we reverse.

Baker, J., concurs.
Brown, J., dissents with separate opinion. [that begins at p. 8, and concludes] I would find that “the degree of concern, suspicion, or knowledge that a violation has occurred” was high given that the officers had received a description of a man and his companion, in which a cab driver expressed fear of being robbed by the man, that the officers observed Pinner and his companion who fit the description, that, when asked if he was carrying a gun Pinner shuffled nervously and was hesitant to answer before ultimately lying and saying that he did not have a gun, and that the officers promptly observed that, indeed, he did have a gun on his person. I would find that the degree of intrusion was especially low, given that one of the officers merely asked Pinner if he could stand up for him before observing the gun on his person. I would find that the extent of law enforcement needs was strong in securing the gun upon observing that Pinner was armed after acting nervous and stating that he was not armed. Thus, I would find that given the totality of the circumstances, the interaction between the officers and the confiscation of Pinner’s gun did not violate Pinner’s rights under Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.

I believe that Pinner’s motion to suppress was correctly denied and would affirm the trial court.

NFP civil decisions today (5):

Mark A. Laesch v. Kathryn B. Laesch (mem. dec.)

Timothy B. Hopper v. Angela C. Hopper (mem. dec.)

Jack Gable and Janet Gable v. Schuler Company, Inc. (mem. dec.)

Katrina Morgan v. Lake County Juvenile Center, Lake Superior Court, Juvenile Division and Juvenile Division Judge (mem. dec.)

In the Matter of J.J., Child in Need of Services E.B. (Mother) v. Marion County Department of Child Services, Child Advocates, Inc. (mem. dec.)

NFP criminal decisions today (10):

Matthew Keene Goodwin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

David Pace v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Gerald Rachell v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Christian Duckworth v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Terry Austin v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Joe E. Mourey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Charles Alan Keel v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Octavius Morris v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

James Alexander v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Dominique D. Randolph v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 24, 2016 11:40 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions