Court opinions

Supreme Court overturns grant of Monarch affiliate’s liquor permit

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a trial court’s order directing the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to grant a liquor wholesaling license to an affiliate of a major Indiana beer and wine wholesaler, finding statutory language prohibits companies with overlapping ownership to hold interest in both liquor and beer wholesaler permits.
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Supreme Court remands child molesting case for resentencing

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man who pleaded guilty to molesting his girlfriend’s son and was sentenced to 40 years in prison will return to court for resentencing. The Indiana Supreme Court determined Friday that the trial court considered an incorrect statutory sentencing range.
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COA: Doctor’s report to DCS not protected by anti-SLAPP statute

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
A doctor who reported medical child abuse to the Department of Child Services was not protected by the state’s anti-SLAPP statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday in a case of first impression.
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COA orders return of gun to rightful owner

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man whose handgun was confiscated after police believed it was stolen will soon have the gun returned to his family. The Indiana Court of Appeals found Friday the man proved his mother was the rightful owner of the firearm.
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Attorney suspended for practicing without a license, renegotiating fees

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indianapolis attorney has been suspended for at least 180 days after he practiced law with a suspended license and modified fee agreements to work in his favor.
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COA: Trial courts can waive right to be at commitment hearing

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
State statute allows trial courts to waive respondents’ right to be present at their mental health commitment hearings, though the use of such statute should be limited only to cases where the evidence shows respondents’ presence would be injurious to their mental health, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a precedent-setting case.
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COA affirms GPS monitoring after violation of protective order

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Hendricks County man will remain on GPS monitoring after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday his estranged wife presented sufficient evidence of his violation of a protective order and that he had notice of the possibility that he could be put on a GPS tracker.
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COA affirms escapee’s convictions, consecutive sentences

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man who escaped in handcuffs from a police vehicle will remain in prison on escape and drug charges after the Indiana Court of Appeals determined Thursday the trial court did not err in instructing the jury or imposing his sentence.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of disability benefits

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a woman’s application for disability benefits after finding an administrative law judge properly determined the woman’s medical impairments did not prevent her from working certain jobs.
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7th Circuit denies rehearing, allows case to proceed to evidentiary hearing

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man convicted as a teenager in a 2008 Elkhart murder will still be given a federal evidentiary hearing on his claim of ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel after a majority of 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges denied the state’s petition for a panel or en banc rehearing.
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Tax Court rules in favor of exemptions for trucking company

July 20, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Tax Court has ruled in favor of a northern Indiana trucking company protesting a proposed tax assessment of nearly $500,000, finding the company’s use of its trucks were predominately related to public transportation during the years at issue.
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Appellate court finds man’s conduct constituted just 1 instance of contempt

July 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
A man originally sentenced to one year in prison for disrupting court proceedings will instead serve only six months after the Indiana Court of Appeals found his contempt citation stemmed from a single incident.
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COA: Group voir dire did not violate right to impartial jury

July 19, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indianapolis man who attempted to rob a pharmacy in a city more than an hour away was not denied his right to an impartial jury by the use of group voir dire, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Fired lab worker loses discrimination appeal

July 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for an Indiana laboratory after finding a former employee failed to prove his employment termination was based on his age and his filing of two claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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7th Circuit sends contractual claims back to state court

July 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
A fixed based operator stationed at the Gary/Chicago International Airport must pursue its contractual claims against the airport authority in state court, as the FBO failed to present a constitutional claim that could be considered in federal court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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7th Circuit vacates plea, reverses 15-year sentence for illegal possession of a firearm

July 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
An Indiana man’s 15-year sentence for possession of a firearm in violation of the Armed Career Criminal Act has been reversed after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined one of the man’s prior convictions did not constitute a violent felony and, thus, did not qualify him for a sentence above the 10-year statutory maximum.
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Supreme Court remands attempted murder case for reconsideration

July 13, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Bloomfield man convicted of felony attempted murder will not get a new trial after the Indiana Supreme Court decided his case instead warranted reconsideration by trial court.
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Judge rules for National Lampoon, against fraudster Durham

July 12, 2017
Dave Stafford
National Lampoon will have to get in line with other victims who are owed millions after Indianapolis Ponzi scheme mastermind Tim Durham’s looted of more than $208 million from investors in Ohio-based Fair Finance Co. Any recovery by the comedy conglomerate following a Monday court ruling is likely to assist Fair Finance victims.
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COA rejects declaratory relief petition challenging molestation convictions

July 12, 2017
Olivia Covington
A southern Indiana man cannot seek declaratory relief after he was convicted on multiple counts of child molesting because the Indiana Court of Appeals found his challenge to be an attempt to circumvent Indiana’s established appellate procedures.
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State, DuPont both get partial victories in appeal of assessments

July 12, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Tax Court has granted partial summary judgment to the Indiana Department of State Revenue and a Delaware-based industrial, agricultural and manufacturing business after finding both parties erred in their filing and assessments of 2005 through 2007 tax returns.
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Fresh cases setting precedents in mental health law

July 12, 2017
Dave Stafford
Under what circumstances may someone be excluded from a hearing to determine whether they should be committed for mental health treatment? The Indiana Court of Appeals grappled with that question during oral arguments June 28, just one day after another panel ruled on another matter of first impression regarding involuntary commitment — the court itself noting scarce caselaw.
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Mother’s consent to adoption not required, appeals court rules

July 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A trial court properly determined that a mother’s consent was not required to the adoption of her child, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, finding that even though she had a difficult year in which she had no communication with her child, the law requires her to continue to foster her parental relationship.
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Double jeopardy cuts sentence in robbery from 60 to 36 years

July 7, 2017
Dave Stafford
A trial court improperly applied sentencing enhancements to both of a criminal defendant’s robbery and conspiracy convictions, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The panel found a double-jeopardy violation and reduced the man’s sentence from 60 to 36 years in prison.
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COA reverses dismissal of review of uninhabitable property order

July 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A Hammond man’s petition for judicial review of an order to repair or remove an apartment in a building he owns will return to the trial court after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the Lake Superior Court erred in dismissing the case.
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COA: Credit union did not have property right to flow of traffic on US 31

July 7, 2017
Olivia Covington
A federal credit union with a branch located in northern Indiana did not have a cognizable property right to the flow of traffic on U.S. 31 past its property and, thus, cannot claim the Indiana Department of Transportation committed inverse condemnation by refiguring that stretch of road, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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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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