7th Circuit Court of Appeals

District Court properly handles expert testimony by non-expert witnesses

March 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although neither witness called to testify in a criminal trial was an expert, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the District Court did not err by barring the testimony of the defense witness while allowing the statements of the government witness.
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7th Circuit reinstates case involving ‘anti-slating’ statute

March 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of an unslated Marion County Democratic candidate’s lawsuit challenging the county election board’s reliance on the state’s “anti-slating” law to confiscate political flyers during the May 2012 primary election.
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Judges order new trial for woman who withdrew, deposited cash from ATMs

March 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a split decision from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the majority reversed a Russian woman’s conviction for violating a federal statute that prohibits structuring currency transactions in order to evade federal reporting requirements for transactions involving more than $10,000 in currency. The majority cited the prosecution’s questioning of the woman about past financial records as the reason for reversal.
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7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider dismissal of prisoner’s suit

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a District Court judge should have tried to learn why an inmate had not paid his initial filing fee on a lawsuit before the judge dismissed it for nonpayment, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the lower court to take another look at the case.
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Elected official loses appeal in voter registration removal

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Roseland Town Council member couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a District judge was incorrect in dismissing his lawsuit filed after he was removed from the voter registration list while incarcerated.
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7th Circuit rejects lawsuit on insurer’s use of in-house counsel

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday agreed that a woman’s lawsuit against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should be dismissed because state law creates no obligation for an insurer to provide advance notice to an insured that it uses in-house counsel to defend its policyholders.
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Judge Tinder’s retirement plans leaked

March 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Tinder plans to retire from the 7th Circuit bench when he turns 65 next February – news that became public in early March after a clerk applicant shared a letter from Tinder with the legal blog Above the Law, which posted the letter.
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Judges order woman resentenced for health care fraud

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a woman knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, but it sent her case back to the District Court for resentencing. The District judge violated the ex post facto clause by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines.
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ATF agent’s testimony supports gun conviction

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s weapons conviction Tuesday, ruling that the expert testimony of an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives could be used to prove that a gun had crossed state lines.
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Judge’s pending retirement leaked in clerk applicant’s letter

March 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
News of Indianapolis-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Tinder’s retirement about a year from now came in a way he didn’t expect. And while he won’t be hearing cases in real life afterward, he may be available to play a judge on TV if the opportunity arises.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of motion to suppress search of car

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an automobile passenger’s motion to suppress evidence found in the car during a traffic stop, which led to his eventual pleading guilty to a heroin offense. The judges found no error by the District judge in crediting the testimony of the police officer who pulled the vehicle over because he believed the speed it was traveling and distance to the car in front of it violated Indiana law.
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High school basketball team’s hair-length policy is discriminatory

February 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute pitting long hair against an attempt to promote a clean-cut image of Hoosier boys’ basketball is headed for overtime since the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found a high school’s hair-length requirements pertaining only to male basketball players violated equal protection and Title IX.
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Correctional officer fails to support claims of discrimination against employer

February 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A former officer in the Indiana Department of Correction had her claims of employment discrimination and retaliation rejected by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on the grounds she failed to provide supporting evidence.
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Injunction denial stands in Notre Dame contraception case

February 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A divided 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed denial of a temporary injunction sought by the University of Notre Dame to block enforcement of the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act.
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Man’s 10-year cocaine sentence upheld by 7th Circuit

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the drugs seized at his home with a warrant following his arrest should have been excluded from determining his sentence after the District judge ruled the warrant was invalid.
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Judges: No credit time for repeatedly violating supervised release

February 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court agreed with its fellow Circuit courts that prior time served for violations of supervised release is not credited toward nor limits the statutory maximum a court may impose for subsequent violations of supervised release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 3583(e)(3).
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Recent SCOTUS decision trims identity-theft sentence

February 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
An Indiana man convicted of stealing the Social Security numbers of more than 10 people must be sentenced to less time in prison because of a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a five-page opinion Friday.
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7th Circuit: Gunman’s reach for weapon nullifies excessive force claim

February 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A federal court in South Bend rightfully rejected a civil rights claim brought by a man shot by state troopers trying to serve a warrant who found themselves in a six-hour armed standoff, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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7th Circuit rules for city on discrimination claims brought by black officers, firefighters

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the City of Indianapolis in two lawsuits brought by dozens of black police officers and firefighters over the examination process used by the city for promotions.
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Judges order injunction against enforcement of permit policy

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who wanted to protest a proposed United Nations arms treaty on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in 2012 but was kicked off the property because of a lack of permit was victorious in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
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7th Circuit: Man’s offense level for selling gun was properly increased

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the 60-month sentence imposed on a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a gun who sold the weapon to a man who was also prohibited from possessing a gun. The judges held that the District Court properly increased Darnell Jackson’s offense level because he committed separate offenses.
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Evidence doesn’t show couple knew of mold when selling home

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed rulings in favor of the sellers of a home which later was found to contain mold. The buyers sued, claiming the sellers knew of the mold at the time of the sale, but the judges found the evidence shows otherwise.
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Court affirms 86-year-old uncle could consent to search

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his elderly uncle was a confused old man who was out of touch with reality and, therefore, unable to consent to a search of his home when police showed up looking to serve an arrest warrant. The search led to the arrest of the grandson on drug and weapons charges.
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7th Circuit vacates child porn supervised-release condition

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a sentence for possession of child pornography Thursday that it ruled imposed an unconstitutionally vague condition of supervised release. The court affirmed, in the case, convictions of attempting to distribute heroin and illegal possession of a firearm.
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7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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