Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Indiana

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The Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s determination as to the good time credit Defendant earned while in the work-release program of a community corrections facility and remanded the matter to the trial court with instructions to recalculate Defendant’s credit time. Defendant's direct placement in a community corrections facility was revoked for his failure to abide by the program’s terms. Thereafter, Defendant was ordered to serve the remainder of his eleven-year sentence in the Department of Correction. The trial court, in calculating Defendant’s earned good time credit, determined that because the community corrections director had deprived Defendant of more good time credit days than he was entitled to receive, Defendant was not entitled to any good time credit for his time served in the work-release program. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the community corrections director lacked the authority to deprive Defendant of good time credit earned. View "Shepard v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress. As grounds for the motion, Defendant argued that the search warrant authorizing the search was unsupported by probable cause under the Fourth Amendment and that its execution violated the search-and-seizure protections of the Fourth Amendment and Ind. Const. art. I, 11. The trial court denied the motion. A jury subsequently found Defendant guilty of of several drug-related offenses. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) under a state constitutional analysis, the police did not act unreasonably under the totality of the circumstances; and (2) under a federal constitutional analysis, the search warrant was supported by probable cause. View "Watkins v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court overruled Salter v. State, 906 N.E.2d 2012 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), which found Ind. Code 35-49-3-3(a)(1) (the Dissemination Statute) void for vagueness was applied because the intended recipient met Indiana’s age of consent to sexual activity. Defendant in this case was charged with dissemination of matter harmful to minors under the Dissemination Statute for sending a photograph of his erect penis to a sixteen-year-old girl. Defendant moved to dismiss on constitutional grounds, arguing that the statute was void for vagueness. The trial court dismissed the charges, relying on Salter. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding that the Dissemination Statute is not unconstitutionally vague. View "State v. Thakar" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of Class A felony dealing in a narcotic drug. The Court of Appeals reversed Defendant’s conviction, concluding that the police violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they detained and transported Defendant to the police station to await a search warrant and that the trial court erred in not excluding evidence obtained during that detention. The Supreme Court granted transfer, thereby vacating the Court of Appeals’ opinion, and affirmed the trial court’s decision to admit the disputed evidence, holding (1) police officers had probable cause to believe Defendant was in possession of narcotics; and (2) therefore, transporting Defendant to, and detaining him at, the police station to await the results of a search warrant request did not violate the Fourth Amendment. View "Thomas v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the trial court requiring Defendant to pay $5,240.32 in restitution. Defendant pled guilty to level 6 felony auto theft, and the victim’s vehicle came back heavily spray-painted. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that insufficient evidence supported the restitution order because the record did not show that the spray-paint damage was attributable to the theft. The Supreme Court granted transfer, thus vacating the court of appeals opinion, and affirmed, holding (1) Defendant did not waive her right to appeal the amount of the restitution order; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering Defendant to pay restitution for the spray-paint damage because there was sufficient evidence that the spray-paint damage was a direct result of the underlying theft; and (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that Defendant had the ability to pay restitution. View "Archer v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions, rendered after a jury trial, for committing various meth-related crimes with a drug-free-zone enhancement. The court of appeals reversed the drug-free=zone enhancement and remanded for resentencing, ruling that the evidence was insufficient that a child was “reasonably expected” to be presented at the park where Defendant’s crimes occurred because schools were in session and the park lacked fixtures like trees, benches, and playgrounds. The Supreme Court granted transfer, thus vacating the opinion of the court of appeals, holding that sufficient evidence allowed the jury to conclude that a minor was reasonably expected to be at the park. View "McAlpin v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting Defendant of two counts of knowing murder, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, and dozens of counts of arson. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life without parole (LWOP) on each of the murder convictions and consecutive terms of years of conspiracy and arson. The Supreme Court rejected Defendant’s issues on appeal and affirmed his convictions and LWOP sentences, holding (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the murder convictions and a statutory aggravator; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it refused Defendant’s lesser included jury instruction; and (3) Indiana’s LWOP sentencing statute is not unconstitutional. View "Leonard v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of Class A felony child molesting. During the plea hearing and at sentencing, the prosecutor, the defense counsel, and the trial court agreed that the statutory sentencing range for Defendant’s sentence was thirty to fifty years. Defendant was sentenced to a term of forty years. However, the statutory sentencing range for Defendant’s crime was twenty to fifty years. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court’s sentence was based on a mistaken understanding of the minimum sentence. The court of appeals affirmed Defendant’s sentence. The Supreme Court granted transfer and remanded the case to the trial court for resentencing, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, remand was appropriate. View "McGuire v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged with felony attempted murder and felony aggravated battery. The trial judge adjudged Defendant guilty but mentally ill on both counts. Defendant appealed, arguing in part that the State did not present sufficient evidence that he had the specific intent to kill, as required for attempt murder. The court of appeals reversed Defendant’s attempted murder conviction and remanded for a new trial. The State sought transfer. The Supreme Court granted transfer and reversed Defendant’s conviction for attempted murder, holding that a remand was required for the trial court to reconsider the case under the correct legal standard to the existing evidence. View "Miller v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession of a handgun with a license, holding that the State’s detention and search of Defendant was unreasonable under Ind. Const. art. I, 11. The court of appeals affirmed Defendant’s conviction, concluding that Defendant’s behavior in evading police in a high crime area was sufficient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that crime was afoot, especially where the officers believed Defendant was a truant. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ decision, holding that the police’s investigatory stop, detention, and search of Defendant violated Defendant’s constitutional rights because, although Defendant’s actions were “suspicious,” at the time police moved to detain Defendant, police did not have a reasonable suspicion that he had engaged in or was about to engage in any criminal conduct. View "Jacobs v. State" on Justia Law