Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part Defendant’s sentence imposed in connection with his felony incest conviction, holding that one special sex offender probation condition imposed by the trial court was unreasonable as applied to Defendant. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) his three-year sentence was inappropriate, (2) two probation conditions (Conditions 8 and 26) were unreasonable and unconstitutional as applied to him because they created sweeping prohibitions on internet usage, and (3) one condition’s (Condition 8) prohibition on “certain web sites…frequented by children” was unconstitutionally vague. The Supreme Court held (1) Condition 8 was constitutional as applied to Defendant; but (2) Condition 26, which barred Defendant from accessing the Internet without prior approval of his probation officer, was not reasonably related to Defendant’s rehabilitation and maintaining public safety. View "Weida v. State" on Justia Law

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Indiana law allows a judgment-creditor to garnish a cash bail bond the judgment-debtor posted in an unrelated criminal matter. Here, Plaintiff obtained a default judgment against Defendant in the superior court. While the judgment remained unsatisfied, Defendant was arrested in an unrelated criminal matter and posted a cash bond with the county clerk. Plaintiff attempted to garnish the cash bail bond, but the trial clerk, who was named as a garnishee-defendant in the civil case, released it to Defendant’s attorney. Plaintiff sought to hold the clerk liable. The trial court determined that the bond was not subject to garnishment and ruled against Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the clerk who holds the bond in a criminal case is an eligible garnishee-defendant in the civil case where the judgment was entered, and the bond is subject to the garnishment lien filed there; (2) the judgment-creditor may not recover on the bond until the criminal court releases it; and (3) in the instant case, the clerk was liable on the bond because she distributed its proceeds before the civil court determined Plaintiff’s right to them. View "Garner v. Kempf" on Justia Law

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Indiana law allows a judgment-creditor to garnish a cash bail bond the judgment-debtor posted in an unrelated criminal matter. Here, Plaintiff obtained a default judgment against Defendant in the superior court. While the judgment remained unsatisfied, Defendant was arrested in an unrelated criminal matter and posted a cash bond with the county clerk. Plaintiff attempted to garnish the cash bail bond, but the trial clerk, who was named as a garnishee-defendant in the civil case, released it to Defendant’s attorney. Plaintiff sought to hold the clerk liable. The trial court determined that the bond was not subject to garnishment and ruled against Plaintiff. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the clerk who holds the bond in a criminal case is an eligible garnishee-defendant in the civil case where the judgment was entered, and the bond is subject to the garnishment lien filed there; (2) the judgment-creditor may not recover on the bond until the criminal court releases it; and (3) in the instant case, the clerk was liable on the bond because she distributed its proceeds before the civil court determined Plaintiff’s right to them. View "Garner v. Kempf" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted residential entry and resisting law enforcement. Defendant failed to appear at his sentencing hearing. Counsel moved for a continuance of the sentencing hearing, but the trial court denied a continuance. After a hearing held in Defendant’s absence, the court sentenced Defendant. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to continue the sentencing hearing and that the maximum sentence on the attempted residential entry conviction was inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B). The court of appeals sua sponte reversed on other grounds. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a continuance; and (2) the sentence imposed by the trial court was not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B). View "Robinson v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to attempted residential entry and resisting law enforcement. Defendant failed to appear at his sentencing hearing. Counsel moved for a continuance of the sentencing hearing, but the trial court denied a continuance. After a hearing held in Defendant’s absence, the court sentenced Defendant. Defendant appealed, arguing that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion to continue the sentencing hearing and that the maximum sentence on the attempted residential entry conviction was inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B). The court of appeals sua sponte reversed on other grounds. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed, holding (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a continuance; and (2) the sentence imposed by the trial court was not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B). View "Robinson v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was what constitutes sufficient evidence to prove a person intentionally or knowingly violated a protective order. K.G., the pastor of a small Indiana church, sought a protective order against Defendant, a parishioner. The court issued a protective order prohibiting Defendant from “harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting, or directly or indirectly communicating with” K.G. After Defendant emailed three elders at the church, she was convicted of two counts of invasion of privacy for knowingly or intentionally violating the order. The jury found Defendant guilty. Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. A majority of the Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Defendant’s intent in sending the email was not to contact K.G. but to ask the church elders to discipline or punish K.G. for alleged wrongful conduct. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed Defendant’s conviction, holding that the jury acted within its discretion in discrediting Defendant’s testimony and finding that Defendant intentionally or knowingly communicated with K.G. through her email. The court also affirmed Defendant’s sentence, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by considering Defendant’s criminal history as an aggravating circumstance and that Defendant’s sentence was appropriate considering her offense and character. View "Phipps v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was what constitutes sufficient evidence to prove a person intentionally or knowingly violated a protective order. K.G., the pastor of a small Indiana church, sought a protective order against Defendant, a parishioner. The court issued a protective order prohibiting Defendant from “harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting, or directly or indirectly communicating with” K.G. After Defendant emailed three elders at the church, she was convicted of two counts of invasion of privacy for knowingly or intentionally violating the order. The jury found Defendant guilty. Defendant appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. A majority of the Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that Defendant’s intent in sending the email was not to contact K.G. but to ask the church elders to discipline or punish K.G. for alleged wrongful conduct. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed Defendant’s conviction, holding that the jury acted within its discretion in discrediting Defendant’s testimony and finding that Defendant intentionally or knowingly communicated with K.G. through her email. The court also affirmed Defendant’s sentence, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by considering Defendant’s criminal history as an aggravating circumstance and that Defendant’s sentence was appropriate considering her offense and character. View "Phipps v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter without also being charged with murder, was properly found guilty even where the State conceded the existence of sudden heat to support the standalone charge. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State was required to prove sudden heat and that the State’s concession rendered his self-defense defense illusory. The Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the State failed to present sufficient evidence that Defendant acted with sudden heat. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the conviction, holding (1) although the jury was instructed that the State conceded the existence of sudden heat, there was evidence that Defendant acted in either sudden heat or self-defense, and therefore, the jury was presented with a classic question of fact; and (2) the State’s concession of sudden heat did not nullify Defendant’s claim of self-defense. View "Brantley v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant, who was charged with voluntary manslaughter without also being charged with murder, was properly found guilty even where the State conceded the existence of sudden heat to support the standalone charge. On appeal, Defendant argued that the State was required to prove sudden heat and that the State’s concession rendered his self-defense defense illusory. The Court of Appeals reversed, ruling that the State failed to present sufficient evidence that Defendant acted with sudden heat. The Supreme Court granted transfer and affirmed the conviction, holding (1) although the jury was instructed that the State conceded the existence of sudden heat, there was evidence that Defendant acted in either sudden heat or self-defense, and therefore, the jury was presented with a classic question of fact; and (2) the State’s concession of sudden heat did not nullify Defendant’s claim of self-defense. View "Brantley v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment without parole for the murder conviction. The Supreme Court held (1) the State presented sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions, and the court declined to reweigh the evidence; (2) the trial court did not commit reversible error in admitting certain evidence to which Defendant objected; and (3) Defendant’s life without parole sentence for murder was both constitutionally proportional and appropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B). View "McCallister v. State" on Justia Law