Indiana Court of Appeals

COA upholds denial of convicted murderer’s motion to dismiss

October 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that murder charges should have been dismissed based on a plea agreement he made with the state, finding no error by the trial court in allowing the jury to decide whether the defendant’s testimony was credible. The plea agreement preventing prosecution for murder would be in effect only if the defendant met certain criteria.
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COA: Admission of prior bad acts was a harmless error

October 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found that evidence of a defendant’s prior bad acts was not properly admitted at his trial for theft of gasoline, but affirmed his conviction because the admission was a harmless error.
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COA: Admission of evidence of phone number did not affect verdict

October 25, 2013
Because of overwhelming evidence placing the defendant at the scene of a shooting, the admission of additional evidence that before the shooting, a victim made calls to a phone number associated with the shooter did not affect the verdict, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Judges say evidence supports a retrial

October 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Two Indiana Court of Appeals judges granted a man’s petition for rehearing and held that the evidence is sufficient for the state to retry him on criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement charges.
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Man didn’t prove ex-wife misappropriated child support payments

October 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Sidestepping a question of first impression in a child support case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the modification of child support due to insufficient evidence. The father in this case believed his ex-wife was using child support money to fund her veterinary practice.
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Overwhelming evidence of guilt trumps defendant’s post-conviction claims

October 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a northern Indiana man’s life without parole sentence for killing a police officer in 1997, finding the post-conviction court did not err when it denied him a new trial.
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COA once again rules guardians have no authority to file for divorce

October 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana law does not allow guardians the ability to petition for the dissolution of marriage on their ward’s behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the second time in nearly four months. The appeals court reversed the grant of a divorce filed by an incapacitated man’s daughters, who are his co-guardians.
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Court upholds 2-year suspension of teacher’s license

October 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An administrative law judge in the Indiana Department of Education correctly imposed a two-year suspension of a special education teacher’s license, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The court found no error in the ALJ’s reliance on a California case when considering whether to revoke or suspend a teaching license.
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Court of Appeals names Nancy Vaidik as next chief judge

October 23, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana has selected Judge Nancy H. Vaidik to succeed Judge Margret G. Robb as the court’s next chief judge. Vaidik’s three-year term of office will start Jan. 1, 2014.
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Judge: better to assess defendant under mental health law, not criminal one

October 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a resisting arrest and battery case that drew opinions from each of the sitting judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals panel, Judge Paul Mathias addressed the issue of whether the defendant suffered from a mental illness. He urged law enforcement to consider mental health intervention to treat troubled – but innocuous – conduct instead of relying on criminal law.
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COA finds mechanic's lien statute requires only substantial compliance

October 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The homeowner's lawyer seeks rehearing, arguing that differing names between the pre-lien and mechanic's lien makes the lien invalid.
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Shares of dissolved corporation is matter to be handled by trial court, COA rules

October 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute between two brothers over corporate shares left from the dissolution of the family business got a rehearing by the Indiana Court of Appeals, but no reversal.
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Location, location, location determines who has burden of proof

October 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Looking at the distance in the state statute between the description of the offense and a statutory exception, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the defendant had the burden of proof regarding a victim’s age.
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Convincing evidence, conflicting record doom search challenge

October 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A thief who went from car to car in a hotel parking lot was being watched by a hotel employee, and the credit card and cell phone belonging to guests that police later found on the man was convincing enough that an Indiana Court of Appeals panel discarded claims that the court should have suppressed the result of a search.
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On rehearing, panel rejects double-jeopardy meth conviction claim

October 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Shelby County man convicted of possession of methamphetamine and manufacturing was not a victim of double jeopardy, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals held on Friday.
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Accused molester denied chance to present complete defense

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the testimony and evidence a man accused of child molesting wished to present at trial – but was denied by the trial court – was critical to his defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his two molestation convictions.
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Court rules against Menard on roofing company’s lawsuit for payment

October 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered summary judgment entered in favor of a roofing services company on claims of breach of contract against Menard Inc., finding Menard was unable to establish a dispute of material fact as to its right to withhold payment.
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No constitutional violations in stopping car with interim dealer plate

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding an Indianapolis police officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop of a car with an interim dealer plate, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the driver’s conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after his driving privileges had been forfeited for life.
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Man convicted before felony classes implemented can’t convert conviction to misdemeanor

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who pleaded guilty in 1977 to felony possession of a controlled substance was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he is entitled to have his conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
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Judges disagree on when duty to exercise ordinary care extends to beneficiaries

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Tuesday on whether a legal malpractice lawsuit filed by third-party beneficiaries of a will against their relative’s attorney should proceed beyond summary judgment. The case hinged on the interpretation of the “known” requirement outlined in Walker v. Lawson.
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Ex-wife not entitled to half of pension earned after divorce

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a trial court did not impermissibly modify a property settlement agreement or decree, but simply clarified that the intent of the parties was to divide the marital property acquired during the marriage and before the final date of separation.
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Teacher’s suggestive messages to student were ‘immoral’ but not a crime, COA rules

October 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Indiana Court of Appeals found a high school teacher’s behavior toward a 16-year-old female student to be “deplorable and immoral,” it overturned his convictions because his actions were not criminal under statute.
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COA reverses contempt finding, but upholds sanctions

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A nurse who made false allegations leading to the detention of a co-worker for mental health reasons will have to pay as ordered toward the woman’s attorney fees even though the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an indirect civil contempt finding.
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Divided COA: Statement on record unneeded to waive jury trial

October 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
The majority of a Court of Appeals panel affirmed a Hendricks County man’s conviction in a bench trial of misdemeanor intimidation, but a dissenting COA judge wrote the defendant was improperly denied a jury trial and his conviction should be tossed.
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COA clears way for negligence complaint against medical device company

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit filed against medical device manufacturer Medtronic following the death of a man who had one of the company’s medical devices implanted can continue, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. It held the Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not preempt a family’s negligence claim.
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