ILNews

Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter summary being questioned

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A case summary printed in The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter earlier this year is at issue in a Lake County courtroom, where a judge is considering whether the publisher should be held in contempt for writing about a school negligence case three months after the verdict.

The April edition of the monthly publication - published in Indiana since February 2000 - included an outline of a case involving the family of Neal Boyd IV, who had sued Gary Community Schools for not protecting their 16-year-old son from being fatally shot at school in 2001 by a then-17-year-old. In January a jury found against the school and awarded Boyd's parents nearly $4 million. The school corporation asked Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider to limit the award and appealed the jury verdict, which is pending.

Kentucky-based publisher Shannon Ragland wrote the front page article under the category of school negligence, reporting information he said was gleaned from public court files and motions included in the case - references to medical information and criminal history of the victim.

After the publication came out, the Boyds claimed the printed information was false and not allowed to be heard at trial, according to Ragland. The couple wants Ragland held in contempt, but he says all information printed came from public court documents.

"I'm not sure of any publisher who's been subject to indirect contempt matters for what they wrote about a civil jury trial after it was concluded," he said. "This was over, there was no issue of affecting the outcome of this case.

"More importantly, the issue here may be if (as a reporter) how limited you are to what you can report on?" he said. "They say I shouldn't have printed something excluded at trial but that was from a motion in limine. That doesn't apply to a newspaper - only to the case."

An indirect contempt hearing in Hammond Thursday gave jurisdiction of the issue to Superior Judge Gerald Svetanoff as a special judge, as required by statute. He is considering the contempt charge.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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