Court opinions

COA: Law enforcement may not refuse to hire based solely on expunged criminal histories

December 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that law enforcement agencies are not permitted under state statute to refuse to hire new employees solely because those people have prior criminal histories that have since been expunged.
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Court abused discretion in letting public defender withdraw appearance

December 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
An attorney seeking a motion to withdraw appearance had to prove there was justification for his withdrawal and provide sufficient notice to the party he represented before the motion could be granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday.
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COA holds public trust rights rule along lakeshore

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
When a private property owner’s land deed overlaps with that of the public trust along Lake Michigan, the rights to the shore are controlled by the common law public trust doctrine, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday in a landmark decision that prevents private property owners from exerting complete control over lakeshore land between ordinary high- and low-water marks.
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COA affirms lifetime suspension of driving rights

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man who was caught driving with a suspended license cannot challenge the legality of the lifetime suspension of his driving privileges because the law in effect at the time of his arrest required the lifetime suspension, the Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday.
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COA reverses handgun conviction after state failed to meet burden of proof

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
The state failed to meet its burden of proof to show that an Indianapolis man was carrying a handgun without a license outside of his dwelling, workplace or property, the Court of Appeals found Wednesday, thus vacating the man’s misdemeanor conviction.
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‘Strict compliance’ with contempt statute not required if sufficient notice is given

December 7, 2016
Olivia Covington
A majority of the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court found Tuesday that strict compliance with a state statute regarding contempt orders can be excused if the party in contempt has been sufficiently notified of their contempt, thus affirming a trial court decision requiring an ex-husband to produce income and tax documents for his ex-wife.
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Justices uphold Katrina fraud verdict against State Farm

December 6, 2016
 Associated Press
A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a jury verdict that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. committed fraud against the federal government after 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
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7th Circuit rules Duke Energy must pay for wind-generated power

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision Tuesday requiring Duke Energy to pay for power generated by a local wind farm only if it passes to a lower grid, deciding instead that the energy company is contractually obligated to pay for any generated power regardless of transmission issues.
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Indiana attorney illegally practicing in Florida suspended for 18 months

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana attorney who was illegally practicing law in Florida has been suspended in Indiana for 18 months without automatic reinstatement.
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Divided COA says trial court must hold hearing on order to pay

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
A Floyd County trial court cannot order debtors to make monthly payments toward a mortgage, taxes and insurance premiums in a foreclosure case without first holding a hearing on the debtors’ ability to pay, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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7th Circuit rules student-athletes aren’t considered ‘employees’

December 6, 2016
Olivia Covington
Collegiate athletes cannot be considered university employees and, thus, are not eligible for minimum wage pay, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday, affirming a district court decision that dismissed a lawsuit brought against the NCAA.
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COA reverses handgun conviction because officer didn’t follow protocol

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
A police officer did not follow the proper protocol for conducting an inventory search of a detainee’s car, thus making the search impermissible under state and federal constitutions and prohibiting the admittance of any evidence obtained through the search.
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7th Circuit affirms murder, racketeering convictions despite government error

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
Despite improper statements made by the government during closing arguments of a trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s murder and racketeering convictions, writing that the statements constituted harmless error.
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COA affirms dismissal of case due to res judicata

December 2, 2016
Olivia Covington
Res judicata prevents a title insurance company from taking a “second bite” at the apple, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, in a case in which the company appealed dismissal of its second attempt to challenge an action by the Indiana Department of Insurance.
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Lawyer’s use of word ‘Negro’ prejudiced client, but doesn't get PCR

December 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
A defense attorney who has since been disbarred prejudiced his absent client when he referred to him as a “Negro” before potential jurors, a judge wrote, but the offending word wasn’t enough for the Court of Appeals to grant post-conviction relief.
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Court affirms injunction preventing violations of non-compete clauses

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
After several employees from one civil engineering firm began soliciting employees from a competitor, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday that a trial court correctly issued a preliminary injunction to force the employees to comply with non-compete and non-solicitation clauses they had signed.
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COA upholds summary judgment in workers’ comp case

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although he was hired to work on a specific project for a southern Indiana construction company, a worker who was injured on a construction job must seek damages through Indiana’s Worker’s Compensation Act because he was considered an “employee” of the company.
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COA: Indiana trial court has no personal jurisdiction over New York resident

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana trial court cannot assume personal jurisdiction over a woman who lives in New York and has no ties to the Hoosier state, despite the fact that she is being sued by Indiana litigants.
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Judges: Parents, courts need guidance on discipline

November 30, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s conviction for battery against his daughter on Wednesday but expressed concern over the lack of guidance courts are given when trying to determine when parental discipline goes too far.
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Justices: warrantless search OK because of ‘objectively reasonable’ concerns

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a man’s drug conviction Tuesday, reiterating that if an officer encounters an emergency situation, then he or she may investigate further without a warrant.
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Justices rule in favor of woman alleging 'warrantless intrusion' by officer

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although a police officer believed that a Hamilton County woman could have been injured after being stuck under her car, the facts surrounding the situation did not lend themselves to an emergency situation that could justify the “warrantless intrusion” of stopping the woman’s car after she drove away.
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7th Circuit dismisses appeal based on waiver

November 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a convicted murderer’s appeal arguing that the waiver of his right to appeal should be ignored because his sentence was outside statutory requirements, calling the man’s argument “undesirable” and “nonsensical.”
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Man must continue to pay child support for son he claimed was his, court holds

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A divided Court of Appeals panel has affirmed an order requiring a non-biological father to pay child support for his wife’s child, finding that because the man supported the child throughout his life, he is legally estopped from challenging the child support order.
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Errors lead to reversal of veteran’s involuntary commitment

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A trial court’s order mandating the involuntary commitment of a veteran has been vacated after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to follow proper legal protocol in serving documents and did not prove that the veteran posed a risk to himself or others.
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Lack of jurisdiction keeps cemetery case in court

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A woman’s fight to bury her mother in a burial site that she had purchased but that was mistakenly resold will continue after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that a small claims court did not have jurisdiction to grant her injunctive relief.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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