Court opinions

Appeals court affirms cocaine-dealing conviction

January 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of Class A felony dealing cocaine and adjudicated a habitual substance offender couldn’t persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was deprived of a speedy trial or that the evidence against him was improperly admitted or insufficient.
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Court properly excluded evidence regarding victim’s truthfulness

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct to exclude evidence of specific instances from a woman regarding the truthfulness of her son, the victim of a sex crime, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. That evidence is prohibited by Indiana Evidence Rule 608.
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COA reverses domestic violence determination due to Blakely violation

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court committed fundamental error when it determined a man convicted by a jury of Class A misdemeanor battery committed a crime of domestic violence, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Housing agency, not court, ordered banned woman from properties

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s argument that the court imposed as part of her trespass sentence an order to stay away from any properties owned by the Indianapolis Housing Agency.
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ALJ’s numerous errors require denial of benefits reversed

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a federal judge to uphold the denial of a man’s request for disability insurance benefits. The appeals court held that an administrative law judge made a number of errors when considering the record.
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Judge dissents on reversal of CHINS adjudication

January 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A father who claimed his due process rights were violated when his daughter was adjudicated as a child in need of services before the conclusion of a fact-finding hearing won his appeal before the Court of Appeals Wednesday. But one judge believed that the trial court correctly found the girl to be a CHINS.
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Panel split over whether man needed to be involuntarily committed

January 7, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday was divided over whether sufficient evidence was presented to justify that a mentally ill man was a danger to himself or others and thus needed to be involuntarily committed.
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Civil Rights Commission exceeded authority in upholding complaint

January 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the Indiana Civil Rights Commission overstepped its authority, the Indiana Supreme Court has vacated the organization’s final order regarding an “intra-group squabble” over a dinner menu.
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First impression: Suspect’s recorded talk in police car admissible

January 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
What a South Bend man said to another suspect while they were alone in the back of a police cruiser was recorded by an in-car video camera and properly presented to a federal jury, a panel of judges decided in a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit dismisses case because dispute arose after lawsuit was filed

January 5, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who claimed State Farm Insurance Co. owed him a higher rate of interest and attorney fees had his case dismissed because the controversy did not exist when the lawsuit began.
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Tax Court: Alleged puppy mill owner wrongly denied refund

January 5, 2015
The Indiana Department of Revenue improperly denied a refund of the value of 240 dogs seized by the state from an alleged Harrison County puppy mill, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Dec. 31.
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COA affirms neighbor’s notice to court about survey is sufficient

December 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s challenge to the denial of his motion to correct error regarding the introduction of a survey reflecting a property line by his neighbor. The case was the result of a boundary dispute.
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Company owed no duty to woman injured by employee after work

December 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday that a northwest Indiana steel producer did not owe a duty to a woman injured in a car accident caused by an employee as he drove home from his shift. 
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Driver’s lack of appellee brief reinstates license revocation

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A motorist who won a trial court judgment vacating the suspension of his driver’s license didn’t file a brief when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles appealed the decision and, therefore, lost his challenge of the BMV action.
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COA affirms judgment for seller in voided land deal

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
Sellers of property that had been designated as the second phase of a Gatorade distribution facility in Hendricks County were properly awarded specific performance of a contract to sell the land after the buyer backed out, the Court of Appeals held.
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Pulling a switcheroo leads to felony conviction

December 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who switched seats to help a friend failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he unknowingly put himself in the hot seat.
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Insurer owes no duty in dispute between sibling ex-law partners

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A dispute between a brother and sister as their law firm partnership was dissolving was an employment-related matter covered by an insurer’s exclusionary clause, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday, reversing a trial court order.
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Principal fired for relationship with teacher wins appeal

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Westfield elementary school principal fired in 2011 for a consensual sexual relationship with a teacher he supervised won an appeal of his lawsuit against the school corporation, which had been granted summary judgment by the trial court.
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Owner can seek separate claim for property damage coverage

December 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite having agreed to pay $1.7 million, an insurance company may have to provide more money to satisfy a claim from the owner of a contaminated property.
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COA finds double-jeopardy violations in conviction of former secretary of state

December 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White, convicted of voter fraud and removed from office, had three of his six convictions overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals Dec. 29 and will have to serve his sentence of one year of electronic home monitoring.
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Ohio woman’s incriminating statements properly suppressed

December 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Ohio woman charged with murder and other crimes in Ripley County prevailed in the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday when the judges affirmed the grant of her motion to suppress incriminating statements she gave to police.
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‘Second haircut’ nixed by tax court

December 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A finance company that purchased car loans at a discounted price is entitled to recoup all the sales tax on the loans which have since gone into default.
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Pro se medical malpractice claim fails without expert testimony

December 24, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals chastised a pro se litigant for supporting his medical malpractice claim with only a “perfunctory and self-serving” affidavit instead of submitting expert testimony.
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Justices vacate adoption by stepdad in win for grandparents

December 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday stripped the adoption of a child by her stepfather, ruling that maternal grandparents who had been primary caregivers early in her life were wrongly denied an opportunity to consent to or contest the adoption.
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7th Circuit: Jury correctly ruled in favor of gas station in personal injury suit

December 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The District Court properly excluded an ordinance a woman sought to introduce at trial to bolster her case that a gas station should be liable for her injuries sustained after she fell off a curb walking around a display outside the gas station store, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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