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Justices take felony murder, child support cases

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The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to two cases - a convicted murder’s appeal and a case involving child support nonpayment.

The justices accepted Joey Addison v. State of Indiana, No. 49S05-1105-CR-267, in which Joey Addison, an African-American, claimed the trial court erred in denying his Batson challenges and erred in excluding evidence. Addison was found guilty but mentally ill of murder and sentenced to 45 years. The trial court had accepted the state’s race-neutral rationale for striking four African-Americans who were potential jurors. The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the state’s proffered explanations were facially valid and there was no racially discriminatory intent inherent.

He also claimed the trial court should have admitted his sister’s prior deposition into evidence despite her refusal to travel from Georgia to testify at his trial. The Court of Appeals found the sister’s testimony created an issue of fact that the jury could have taken into account in arriving at its verdict, but it was a harmless error under the circumstances of the case.

In Amir H. Sanjari v. State of Indiana, No. 20S03-1105-CR-268, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the double jeopardy prohibition had been violated by filing two charges of Class C felony nonsupport of a dependent child against Amir Sanjari related to his refusal to pay any support for his two children. The judges noted that the law says a person can be charged with a Class C felony if the total amount of unpaid child support is at least $15,000 and is owed for one or more children. Sanjari, who owed more than $17,000, argued that only one child support order had been issued and it included both children, so he shouldn’t have been charged or convicted twice.

The Court of Appeals vacated one of his convictions and affirmed the five-year sentence on the remaining charge. The appellate court also concluded Sanjari received enough notice and there wasn’t evidence that he couldn’t have attended a hearing.

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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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