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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. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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