7th Circuit Court of Appeals

7th Circuit denies habeas relief in 2005 Gary murder

May 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of murder for the 2005 shooting death of a 15-year-old on a Gary street wasn’t prejudiced by his attorney’s refusal to object to a prosecutor’s comments about the defendant’s failure to testify, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Conour defender asks to withdraw from 7th Circuit appeal

May 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
The public defender appointed to represent convicted fraudster and former leading personal-injury attorney William Conour has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw from the case, citing an unspecified conflict of interest.
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7th Circuit affirms rulings for EPA in Bloomington PCB cleanup

May 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday turned away a citizen-led appeal of rulings favorable to the Environmental Protection Agency in an ongoing cleanup of a former Westinghouse Electric Corp. plant that polluted the Bloomington site with toxic PCBs.
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7th Circuit finds 5-year-old information not ‘stale’

April 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined a defendant’s request to find the information used to execute a search warrant of his computer for child pornography stale because more time had passed in his case as compared to previous cases ruled on by the Circuit Court.
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Government drops Conour sentence appeal

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
The U.S. attorney’s office will no longer seek a longer prison sentence for convicted legal fraudster William Conour, according to documents filed recently in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Conour’s appeal will move forward.
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7th Circuit affirms Wisconsin’s limits on unions, Indiana RTW challenge remains

April 18, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
While still considering a challenge to Indiana’s right-to-work law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed Wisconsin’s statute limiting the collective bargaining power of some public sector unions. 
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7th Circuit: Protective sweep by SWAT team reasonable

April 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence found in his home during a protective sweep by the SWAT team after responding to a hostage situation. Marcus Henderson claimed the sweep – which led to the discovery of firearms – was unreasonable.
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Bipolar defense fails in wire fraud, tax evasion appeal

April 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A woman sentenced to five years in prison after she pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion for swindling an elderly couple failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to revise her sentence.
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7th Circuit affirms 5-year sentence in arson-for-hire

April 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
A woman sentenced to serve five years in prison for recruiting another man to set fire to her home didn’t receive an unjust sentence even though it was three to four times longer than federal guidelines, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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District Court properly handles expert testimony by non-expert witnesses

March 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although neither witness called to testify in a criminal trial was an expert, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the District Court did not err by barring the testimony of the defense witness while allowing the statements of the government witness.
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7th Circuit reinstates case involving ‘anti-slating’ statute

March 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of an unslated Marion County Democratic candidate’s lawsuit challenging the county election board’s reliance on the state’s “anti-slating” law to confiscate political flyers during the May 2012 primary election.
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Judges order new trial for woman who withdrew, deposited cash from ATMs

March 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a split decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the majority reversed a Russian woman’s conviction for violating a federal statute that prohibits structuring currency transactions in order to evade federal reporting requirements for transactions involving more than $10,000 in currency. The majority cited the prosecution’s questioning of the woman about past financial records as the reason for reversal.
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7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider dismissal of prisoner’s suit

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a District Court judge should have tried to learn why an inmate had not paid his initial filing fee on a lawsuit before the judge dismissed it for nonpayment, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the lower court to take another look at the case.
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Elected official loses appeal in voter registration removal

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Roseland Town Council member couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a District judge was incorrect in dismissing his lawsuit filed after he was removed from the voter registration list while incarcerated.
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7th Circuit rejects lawsuit on insurer’s use of in-house counsel

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday agreed that a woman’s lawsuit against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should be dismissed because state law creates no obligation for an insurer to provide advance notice to an insured that it uses in-house counsel to defend its policyholders.
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Judge Tinder’s retirement plans leaked

March 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Tinder plans to retire from the 7th Circuit bench when he turns 65 next February – news that became public in early March after a clerk applicant shared a letter from Tinder with the legal blog Above the Law, which posted the letter.
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Judges order woman resentenced for health care fraud

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a woman knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, but it sent her case back to the District Court for resentencing. The District judge violated the ex post facto clause by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines.
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ATF agent’s testimony supports gun conviction

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s weapons conviction Tuesday, ruling that the expert testimony of an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives could be used to prove that a gun had crossed state lines.
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Judge’s pending retirement leaked in clerk applicant’s letter

March 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
News of Indianapolis-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Tinder’s retirement about a year from now came in a way he didn’t expect. And while he won’t be hearing cases in real life afterward, he may be available to play a judge on TV if the opportunity arises.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of motion to suppress search of car

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an automobile passenger’s motion to suppress evidence found in the car during a traffic stop, which led to his eventual pleading guilty to a heroin offense. The judges found no error by the District judge in crediting the testimony of the police officer who pulled the vehicle over because he believed the speed it was traveling and distance to the car in front of it violated Indiana law.
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High school basketball team’s hair-length policy is discriminatory

February 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute pitting long hair against an attempt to promote a clean-cut image of Hoosier boys’ basketball is headed for overtime since the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found a high school’s hair-length requirements pertaining only to male basketball players violated equal protection and Title IX.
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Correctional officer fails to support claims of discrimination against employer

February 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A former officer in the Indiana Department of Correction had her claims of employment discrimination and retaliation rejected by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds she failed to provide supporting evidence.
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Injunction denial stands in Notre Dame contraception case

February 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed denial of a temporary injunction sought by the University of Notre Dame to block enforcement of the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act.
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Man’s 10-year cocaine sentence upheld by 7th Circuit

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the drugs seized at his home with a warrant following his arrest should have been excluded from determining his sentence after the District judge ruled the warrant was invalid.
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Judges: No credit time for repeatedly violating supervised release

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court agreed with its fellow Circuit courts that prior time served for violations of supervised release is not credited toward nor limits the statutory maximum a court may impose for subsequent violations of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 3583(e)(3).
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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