District Courts

Weather causes closures, cancellations

February 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The ice and snow falling in central Indiana has led to cancellations of two court events and closed the Indiana General Assembly.
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Florida judge rules health-care law unconstitutional

January 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge in Florida has found that Congress has exceeded its authority in passing sweeping health-care reform in 2010 by including the individual mandate that people must purchase health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty. Indiana had joined with 25 other states, two individuals, and the National Federation of Independent Business to challenge the law.
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Federal judge rules against state on immigrant paternity case

January 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Sitting at the crossroads between immigration law, paternity establishment, and the controversy on how the United States handles illegal immigrants, a federal judge in Indianapolis has ordered state health officials to stop denying unmarried immigrant parents without a Social Security number the ability to file an affidavit establishing paternity.
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Federal judge certifies state question on misdemeanor voting

January 27, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis wants the Indiana Supreme Court to decide whether the term “infamous crime” as used in the state constitution applies to misdemeanors and can be used to keep those convicts from voting.
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Lawsuit challenges free-expression restriction at airport

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Fort Wayne man is suing the Allen County Airport Authority because he claims a recently enacted resolution severely restricts his ability to protest the new screening procedures implemented by the Transportation Security Administration.
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Judges order consideration of discovery demands

January 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a Northern Indiana District Court to reconsider a German company’s discovery demands made in relation to a lawsuit pending in Germany over the alleged theft of trade secrets.
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7th Circuit judge to speak at Black History event

January 24, 2011
IL Staff
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Ann Claire Williams will be the featured speaker at an event celebrating Black History Month hosted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Hospitals seek Medicare reimbursement

January 20, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Several Indiana hospitals are suing the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over a Medicare reimbursement dispute.
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Magistrate judge up for reappointment

January 20, 2011
IL Staff
The term of Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana will expire this year and the District Court is seeking comment on whether the magistrate judge should be reappointed.
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Judges reverse dismissal of prisoner's suit

January 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a prisoner’s civil rights suit that stemmed from his lack of gloves while working in the cold to remove tree stumps.
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SCOTUS hears Indiana case

January 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Federal Community Defender Bill Marsh made his debut appearance before the nation’s highest court on Jan. 12, arguing an Indiana case that questions whether vehicular flight from police is considered “violent” and warrants a higher sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
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SCOTUS refuses to accept two Indiana cases

January 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has refused to take two Indiana cases, including the high-profile abuse and neglect case of 3-year-old TaJanay Bailey that revealed fatal flaws in the state’s child welfare system.
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State urges SCOTUS to deny judicial canons case

January 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has filed a brief with the nation’s highest court, urging the justices to not hear a case about whether Indiana’s judicial canons constitutionally infringe on the free speech rights of those on or vying for seats on the bench.
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3 judges dissent on rehearing denial in stun belt case

January 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to not rehear an Indiana case about a convicted murder’s ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims relating to a stun belt used in court, though three judges disagreed and felt the northern Indiana federal judge’s decision should be upheld.
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COA panel divided on trial court involvement with subpoena

January 12, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether an Indiana trial court had the authority to order a company to comply with a subpoena issued by arbitrators in New York.
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BLE suit moves forward

January 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Even as the Indiana Board of Law Examiners searches for a new leader, a federal lawsuit remains pending against the state agency’s questions to prospective lawyers about their mental and emotional health.
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Bankruptcy delays collection effort

January 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick has filed for bankruptcy, putting on hold the state’s attempt to seize his property to help pay off the $108 million he owes from a civil racketeering default judgment against him.
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7th Circuit first to decide on resentencing, procedural rule issue

January 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled on an issue that hasn’t been addressed by any of its counterparts nationwide, finding that sentencing guidelines revised three years ago still only give District judges one chance to modify penalties based on a federal criminal rule of procedure.
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Circuit Court reverses insurance case

December 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for an insurer on the issue of whether the commercial general policy covered faulty subcontractor work, citing a similar case recently ruled on by the Indiana Supreme Court. The Circuit Court also dealt with an issue surrounding umbrella policies for the first time.
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Dinsmore sworn in as U.S. magistrate

December 22, 2010
IL Staff
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Dinsmore took his oath and was sworn in on Dec. 17.
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Southern District rules amended

December 21, 2010
IL Staff
Several Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana have been amended. The changes are effective Jan. 1.
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Dinsmore sworn in as magistrate

December 17, 2010
IL Staff
Mark J. Dinsmore took the oath today to become the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana’s newest magistrate judge. Magistrate Judge Dinsmore was sworn in by Chief Judge Richard L. Young at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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7th Circuit order changes wording in public-records opinion

December 9, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
In an order dated Wednesday and posted on the website for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today, a Nov. 29 opinion from that court was amended following a motion filed by the defendants on Dec. 2 to delete a reference to the defendants as “silly” and “unprofessional.”
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Settlement reached on foster care rates

December 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Department of Child Services has agreed not to cut subsidies for foster and adoptive parents and other caregivers as part of a class-action settlement in federal court.
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Circuit Court reverses stay on producing public records

November 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana District Court was wrong in granting a Wisconsin city’s motion for a stay, which allowed the city to withhold public records from the bank suing it for violating securities law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded today. The issue was whether the order issued by a state court for the city to produce the documents could be stayed by federal law because the request constituted discovery proceedings.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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