7th Circuit Court of Appeals

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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7th Circuit bars Indianapolis’ hour limits on adult bookstores

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has tossed an Indianapolis ordinance limiting the business hours of adult bookstores from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
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7th Circuit affirms above-guideline sentence for gun possession

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The District Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing a man who pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a felon to a sentence above guidelines, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Company can’t prevail in appeal on claims of collusion

January 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the confirmation of a sale of an ethanol plant in South Bend to a joint venture, rejecting a nonbidder’s claim that the establishment of the joint venture amounted to collusion that spoiled the auction.
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SCOTUS adds IRA dispute in effort to avoid future chaos

January 15, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
In agreeing to hear an appeal on the question of whether retirement funds remain retirement funds after they are inherited, the Supreme Court of the United States seems to be acknowledging that what is today a rare question could arise more often as the population ages and more parents leave money to their children.
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Snoozing worker wins reversal on ADA claim against employer

January 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
An Indiana company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired an employee for falling asleep on the job after it learned the worker had a medical condition covered by the federal protection.
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7th Circuit: Ineffective assistance claim can’t challenge deportation

January 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
A legal permanent resident who argued pro se that ineffective assistance of legal counsel led to his deportation after he pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his claim that was dismissed by a federal court.
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7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider sentence

January 8, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a limited remand in a drug case Tuesday after finding the lower court should have sentenced the defendant based on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which took effect after his crimes were committed but before he was sentenced.
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Judges: 11-year-old conviction had little probative value

January 2, 2014
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday affirmed the decision by the District Court in Hammond preventing a defendant from using an 11-year-old conviction to impeach a testifying co-defendant in a wire fraud case.
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IU pot-suspension appeal ‘near frivolous,’ 7th Circuit rules

December 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana University student’s appeal of his suspension after a large marijuana plant and other evidence of illegal drug use were discovered in his dorm room “is near frivolous,” a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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In monster-truck bankruptcy, courts errantly denied ex-wife’s claim

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal Bankruptcy and District courts wrongly denied a woman’s claim against the estate of her ex-husband and business partner who owed her money after they divorced and unwound a monster-truck business for which she had lent money.
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Coachys’ retirement opens up spot on Bankruptcy Court

December 24, 2013
IL Staff
The Judicial Council of the 7th Circuit is accepting applications for a bankruptcy judge position in the Southern District of Indiana. Chief Judge James K. Coachys is retiring in September 2014 at the end of his 14-year term.
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7th Circuit ‘astonished’ by denial of disability for man in ‘awful shape’

December 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judges of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday slapped down the denial of disability benefits for a man they said was among the most severely disabled applicants they had ever seen.
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Man’s second federal child-porn conviction sticks, 7th Circuit rules

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose first federal child pornography conviction was reversed on appeal struck out in his second appearance before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals after he was reconvicted of the same 16 counts.
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7th Circuit blasts counsel, tosses race-based traffic-stop appeal

December 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart man failed to show a traffic stop and drunken-driving arrest was unconstitutional in an appeal that a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected with an opinion blasting his lawyer’s work.
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Government may appeal Conour’s 10-year sentence

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal prosecutors who argued for tougher punishment may appeal the 10-year sentence imposed in October for former attorney William Conour who pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud.
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Kraft wins in food fight with Cracker Barrel

December 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal appeals court ruled recently that savvy consumers might be confused if food branded Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was sold in grocery stores that carry Kraft’s Cracker Barrel brand cheese. Turns out even a law professor who teaches a course on trademarks and unfair competition might be fooled.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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