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Opinions May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014
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The following 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion was issued after IL deadline Friday.
Tommy D. Ford v. Bill Wilson, Superintendent
12-3844
Criminal. Affirms denial of habeas petition for Ford, convicted of murder in the 2005 shooting death of Christian Hodge in Gary. The panel ruled Ford wasn’t prejudiced by his attorney’s failure to object to a prosecutor’s comments about the defendant’s failure to testify. Although the Indiana Court of Appeals applied the wrong legal standard in denying post-conviction relief, the weight of the evidence against Ford would have produced the same result had the proper standard been applied. There was no reasonable probability that adequate performance of counsel would have changed the outcome of Ford’s trial.

Indiana Court of Appeals
Victor Mercaldo and Nancy Jenkins, individually and as Parents and Natural Guardians of Kelly P. Mercaldo, Minor Child, Deceased, et al. v. Andrew Hagenow and Alyssa R. Brown (NFP)
64A04-1311-CT-579
Civil tort. Affirms summary judgment in favor of Hagenow.

Justin Malone v. State of Indiana (NFP)
03A01-1307-CR-334
Criminal. Affirms two-year sentence for conviction of Class D felony criminal recklessness.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posted no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.
 

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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