Court opinions

Latin Kings gang member, 2 others sentenced

November 29, 2012
IL Staff
A member of the Latin Kings street gang and two associates have been sentenced to prison for racketeering conspiracy and other crimes in support of the gang, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Indiana announced Thursday.
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COA divided over dismissing fired HR director’s complaint

November 28, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split over whether Delaware County commissioners could terminate the contract of the Board of Commissioners’ human resources director after two new members were elected to the board.
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Judges uphold 10-year suspension of driver’s license

November 28, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Porter County man who fought the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' decision to suspend his license for being a habitual traffic violator lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA rules in favor of remodeler on unhappy client’s claim

November 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the Clark Circuit Court erred in considering parol evidence when denying a remodeler’s motion for summary judgment, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the lower court should grant his motion on a lawsuit brought by a client for negligently performing work on her home.
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Justices hear arguments in Ball State case

November 26, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a case that hinges on the definition of “supervisor,” the United States Supreme Court heard arguments Monday morning in a lawsuit filed by a Ball State University employee.
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Court affirms man’s conviction of murder, feticide enhancement

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that the state should have to prove that he knew his estranged wife was pregnant when he killed her in order to seek a sentence enhancement under the Indiana feticide enhancement statute.
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Court correctly dismissed man’s motion to correct sentence

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found the Clay Superior Court was right in dismissing a man’s pro se motion to correct his sentence stemming from drug convictions in 1994.
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COA orders man removed from Ind. sex offender registry

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson

Nearly three months after hearing arguments on Thomas H. Andrews’ request that he should not have to register in Indiana for a conviction in Massachusetts in 1984, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered that he be removed from Indiana's sex-offender registry.

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State urges justices to draw ‘bright line’ on school choice vouchers

November 21, 2012
Dave Stafford
Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher on Wednesday urged the Indiana Supreme Court to uphold the state’s school choice voucher program, arguing that it did not constitute an unconstitutional government support of religion.
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Trial court properly retained 1 juror, dismissed other

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant who argued that a Marion Superior Court should have dismissed a juror after she stood near the defendant and his attorney briefly during a recess, but should not have replaced the juror who claimed she wasn’t comfortable rendering a decision, lost before the Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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Order compelling Star to name online commenter stayed after arguments

November 20, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Star won’t have to divulge the identity of an online commenter pending further order of the Indiana Court of Appeals, which heard arguments in a defamation case on Tuesday.
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COA finds trial court’s error in sentencing was harmless

November 20, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s error in considering an arrest record as evidence of criminal history was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the aggravators and mitigators would have led the lower court to impose the same sentence.
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Man loses appeal of suit against sheriff, jail medical staff

November 20, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was held in Delaware County jail for nine days before he was released because no charges were filed sued the county sheriff and jail medical staff alleging indifference to his serious medical condition. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.
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Appellate panel affirms foreclosure, cites lack of meritorious defense

November 20, 2012
Dave Stafford
An Allen County plaintiff whose home was foreclosed lost her appeal Tuesday when a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals held that she had not demonstrated a meritorious defense.
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Former officer’s convictions of bribery, attempted extortion affirmed

November 20, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The sentence of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department major and city-county counselor convicted last year for attempted extortion and bribery for his role in trying to get zoning approval for a proposed strip club has been upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lincoln Plowman claimed that he should have been allowed to argue entrapment to the jury, which the District Court precluded.
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COA reverses order requiring victim to pay attorney fees

November 20, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man who claims he was struck by a vodka bottle that resulted in 18 stitches won’t have to pay attorney fees to a woman against whom he had been awarded a protective order, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, reversing a lower court order.
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Trial that OK’d Jasper energy plant conversion error-filled

November 19, 2012
Dave Stafford
A judge who ruled against opponents of the conversion of a former coal-fired energy plant in Jasper abused her discretion on a series of matters, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday in reversing a bench trial that found for the city.
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Legislature intended to make failure to report child abuse a continuing offense

November 16, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A high school coach’s failure to report child abuse is a continuing offense to which the statute of limitations does not apply, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA finds trust that bought foreclosed home gained insurance equity

November 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
An estate that purchased a foreclosed house at a sheriff’s sale established an equitable lien through which it was entitled to collect proceeds in the event of an insured loss, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Kohl’s loses appeal vs. developer, county over Evansville store

November 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
A department store chain failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court’s dismissal of a lawsuit it filed against a developer and two public Vanderburgh County entities.
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Off-duty police officer’s stop and frisk violated Fourth Amendment

November 15, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The stop, search and subsequent discovery of drugs violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches even though the police officer was off duty at the time of the incident, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Court affirms termination of parental rights for drug-using mom, dad

November 15, 2012
Dave Stafford
A mother who used methamphetamine while pregnant and continued to abuse drugs after her children were judged in need of services was properly denied parental rights, as was the children’s often-absent father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Appeals court rules wrong state law applied in truck crash, but result is same

November 15, 2012
Dave Stafford
A trial court erroneously applied Georgia law in a lawsuit brought by a truck driver injured in a collision in West Virginia, but correctly applied Indiana law yielded the same result, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Owners of foul-smelling washing machines granted class certification by 7th Circuit

November 14, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has granted class certification to owners of odor-emitting Kenmore washers, allowing their lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. to go forward. 
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COA finds plea agreement was not circumvented by admission of uncharged conduct at sentencing

November 14, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A convicted child molester’s argument that the trial court abused its discretion by admitting during sentencing the testimony of two other alleged victims was rejected by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The court described the appellant’s contention as “pure conjecture supported by nothing in the record.”
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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