Court opinions

Full appeals court decides on IPAS case

April 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Nine months ago, a federal judge in Indianapolis refused to dismiss a case about the state's practices and programs regarding mentally ill inmates, finding an independent state agency had a right to sue on those issues.
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COA discusses jury-selection procedures

April 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Despite being sensitive to a defendant's concerns about having no African-Americans included in his jury pool, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his felony convictions of altering an original identification number and auto theft.
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Justices rule on casino land-ownership dispute

April 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A land-ownership dispute about an Ohio River riverboat-casino docking site is the subject of an Indiana Supreme Court ruling today, touching on land deeds from the 1800s and who had the right to use and give away ownership of less than an acre of land.
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Plaintiff loses federal challenges to voter ID law

April 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge ruled against a Cumberland man in his federal challenge to Indiana's voter identification law, but did remand his pending state claims to a Marion Superior Court for consideration.
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Judges uphold child pornography sentence

April 19, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Justices reaffirm precedent on worker's comp claims

April 16, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the state Worker's Compensation Board dismissing an injured trucker's claim, finding the employee's settlement with a third-party driver voided whatever responsibility the company had on the issue.
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COA decides sex offender registration plea case

April 16, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today declined to ignore a year-old precedent from the state's highest court about sex offender registration, finding that the ruling still applies to cases where an offender once signed a plea agreement requiring him to follow lesser registration requirements.
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Court: Medical record loss is negligence

April 16, 2010
Michael Hoskins
If a hospital or provider loses records so that a patient can't pursue a medical malpractice case, the Indiana Court of Appeals says state law allows that person to pursue a separate civil action for spoliation of evidence.
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Justices rule on in-state, out-of-state police actions

April 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld its own law enforcement practices, but leaves those of Alabama's police and judiciary out in the cold.
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COA rules on first impression railroad issue

April 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded a Federal Employer Liability Act claim premised on unsafe ballast isn't precluded by Federal Railroad Safety Act regulations of ballast in a man's suit for injuries he sustained while employed with a transportation company.
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Jury not properly instructed at man's trial

April 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's convictions of battery and resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct because the jury wasn't properly instructed about the man's defense of the right to reasonably resist unlawful entry into his home.
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COA: Inmate must pay filing fees

April 14, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled today on another case filed by a New Castle Correctional Facility inmate who had filed at least 50 civil actions.
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Justices rule on trust mill UPL case

April 14, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana State Bar Association has won an unauthorized practice of law action against an estate planning services company, but wasn't able to completely sway the state's highest court that all "costs and expenses" should be completely granted for the prosecution of the case.
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Court denies request for emancipation, child support change

April 13, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In deciding whether a father's child support requirement should be modified or ended, the Indiana Court of Appeals refused to adopt new reasoning that any child attending college could be deemed emancipated if that child didn't live in the custodial parent's home.
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Ex-racer loses appeal on Porsche ownershipRestricted Content

April 13, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its take on an ownership dispute over a classic 1979 Porsche on display at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation's Hall of Fame Museum.
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Court reverses handgun conviction

April 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed today a defendant's conviction of carrying a handgun without a license because the circumstantial evidence doesn't support that the man had the requisite intent to constructively possess the gun.
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Inconsistent jury verdicts not reviewable

April 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Inconsistent, contradictory, or irreconcilable jury verdicts in criminal cases aren't available for appellate review, the Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday.
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High court upholds life sentenceRestricted Content

April 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a man's sentence of life in prison, noting the defendant's numerous opportunities to reform, but that he continued to commit crimes.
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7th Circuit affirms cross burner's convictionsRestricted Content

April 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence to uphold a Muncie man's convictions stemming from his burning of a cross in front of the home of a family with biracial children.
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Court puts death penalty case on hold

April 2, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed an Indianapolis judge's decision on a death penalty case, putting a condemned convict's death penalty appeal on hold indefinitely because of his current mental state.
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FMLA leave doesn't accrue hours for benefits

April 2, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed an Indiana District judge's decision that an employee on family medical leave doesn't accrue those hours for benefits and can be fired for violating attendance policies.
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COA upholds termination of parental rights

April 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of a mother and father's parental rights based on sufficient evidence. The appellate court also found the mother couldn't appeal on the basis that the Department of Child Services failed to prove her drug use when she repeatedly refused to submit to drug testing.
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Judges disagree on retroactive support issue

March 31, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, a panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges couldn't agree on whether an initial support order can be retroactive to a date preceding the filing of a petition for resolution. The judges disagreed as to whether a court has the authority to reach into an intact marriage and order a party to pay child support to the other.
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COA sets standard in parental rights cases

March 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In addressing a statutory inconsistency on parental rights terminations, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that trial judges must offer findings of fact in those types of cases just as they're required to by law for children in need of services cases and grandparent visitation matters.
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Judges rule on custody issues

March 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
When modifying custody, the change in circumstances required by Indiana Code doesn't need to be so decisive in nature as to make the change necessary for the child's welfare, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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