Court opinions

COA discusses vouching testimony in child molesting trials

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed vouching testimony by witnesses called during child molesting trials in two opinions Tuesday. In one case, an appellate judge was troubled by the possible effect of the cumulative vouching testimony on the jury.
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7th Circuit agrees crack cocaine offender's sentence can't be reduced

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an issue involving crack cocaine sentencing Tuesday – whether a defendant sentenced under the career offender guideline, but with a downward departure for substantial assistance, is eligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2).
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SCOTUS denies one Indiana case, sidesteps others for now

February 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States denied one prisoner lawsuit from Indiana today, while not saying whether it will address another case from this state on judicial speech. No decision was made on a third Hoosier case it heard arguments on more than a month ago addressing vehicular flight.
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Judges reverse summary judgment for agent, partner

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving a Bloomington real estate transaction required the Indiana Court of Appeals to decipher the statutes in question without the aid of previous interpretations because of a lack of previous caselaw interpreting them.
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Religious-worship burglary enhancement doesn’t violate constitutions

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a man who argued the enhancement of his burglary conviction to a Class B felony because he burgled a church violated the federal and state constitutions. In the first impression issue, the judges held the enhancement doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Judges address first impression issue on attorney fees

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
For the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed a contract that included a provision stating the signee is responsible for 40 percent in attorney fees if a hospital had to initiate collection efforts to recover amounts owed.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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COA: Juror bias should have been examined

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a surgeon accused of medical malpractice during a stem cell collection procedure in which the patient died, finding that the trial court didn’t follow protocol in examining a potential juror’s impartiality and deciding whether to strike that person from the jury pool.
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Supreme Court addresses protective orders

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court released two opinions today regarding the service of protective orders to respondents.
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Distribution of judicial decisions still evolving

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Nestled on a top shelf in the Indiana Supreme Court’s law library, the book doesn’t stand out, and one might not look at it any differently than the others nearby.
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COA reverses and remands CHINS finding regarding stepfather

February 15, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
After the juvenile court adjudicated two minor children as children in need of services following their mother’s admission to allegations filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel today reversed and remanded that finding in favor of the stepfather, who denied the allegations and asked for a fact-finding hearing. One Court of Appeals judge dissented, writing that she disagreed that the trial court violated the stepfather’s right to due process in this case.
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Traffic judge's suspension begins Feb. 22

February 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A 30-day suspension without pay begins next week for Marion Superior Traffic Judge William Young.
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Court reverses class certification in hail-damage action

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the class certification granted by the District Court in a suit brought by unsatisfied homeowners following a 2006 hailstorm in central Indiana.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the denial of man’s motion to suppress, finding the traffic stop that resulted in his drunk driving arrest wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.
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Attorney reprimanded for charging unreasonable fees

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded a Hamilton County attorney for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a) by making agreements for and charging unreasonable fees.
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Lawyer suspended for 180 days due to conduct during disciplinary process

February 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered a six month suspension for an Indiana lawyer who primarily practices in Michigan, not because of the misconduct committed, but more specifically because of the attorney’s bad behavior during the disciplinary process.
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Court rules on child support nonpayment case

February 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Just because someone doesn’t pay child support for more than one son or daughter doesn’t mean the person can be charged more than once for that criminal nonpayment if there’s only one support order issued.
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Justices find statute doesn't apply to landfill facility

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled on a 30-year fight between the owners of a proposed landfill and neighbors, ruling that a new law doesn’t apply to the facility or require it to get a new permit.
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Appeals court reverses summary judgment for pharmacist, CVS

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a pharmacist working in a Hendricks County CVS had a duty of care to a customer to either warn her of the side effects of a drug or withhold the medication. As a result, the judges reversed summary judgment in favor of the drug store and pharmacist in a negligence suit.
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Man gets 10 years for human trafficking

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The first person convicted of human trafficking in Marion County has received 10 years on the charge.
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Supreme Court affirms admitting English transcript at trial

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
English language translation transcripts of statements recorded in foreign language, if otherwise admissible, may be properly considered as substantive evidence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
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Judge reverses probate court in first opinion

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Martha Wentworth has handed down her first opinion as Indiana’s Tax Court judge. In her decision, she reversed the probate court’s finding that an estate didn’t have to file an inheritance tax return on checks issued to a deceased woman’s brother on an annuity contract.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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Judges order new PCR hearing on guilty plea issue

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in part the denial of a man’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief, holding the post-conviction court’s findings didn’t support its rejection of the man’s claim his plea was illusory or involuntary.
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COA reverses father's visitation of adopted daughter

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Although one Indiana Court of Appeals judge concurred that a biological father’s petition granting visitation with his daughter should be reversed, he urged legislators and the Indiana Supreme Court to reconsider the issues raised in this case to “avoid equally unjust results in future cases.”
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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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