Court opinions

Court reverses grant of custody to grandmother

January 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the Porter Circuit judge’s ruling is not supported by clear and convincing evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the court vacate its award of physical custody of A.S. to her grandmother and return her to the care of her mother.
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Husband’s settlement proceeds should be included in marital pot

January 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the Monroe Circuit Court to include a husband’s settlement proceeds from an action against his former employer as a marital asset when he and his wife divorced.
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Weinberger owes patient $150k for unnecessary surgery

January 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Dr. Mark S. Weinberger, who fled the country for several years after performing numerous unnecessary surgeries on his patients’ sinuses, must pay one patient $150,000 on a medical malpractice claim.
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Judges affirm 53-year sentence for bank shooting

January 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The man who shot a pregnant teller in Indianapolis, leading to the death of her twins, had his sentence on remand upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Judges rule on 'contentious' child support dispute, again

January 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
For the second time, a “contentious” child support dispute has come before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges upheld most of the obligations imposed on the father but ordered the trial court to use a different income allocation factor regarding certain bonuses.
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COA reverses former principal’s conviction for failing to immediately report student’s alleged rape

January 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that former Muncie Central High School principal Christopher Smith’s Class B misdemeanor conviction for failure to immediately report child abuse or neglect should be tossed out.
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Indiana authors 2 amicus briefs in same-sex cases before SCOTUS

January 30, 2013
The issue of same-sex marriage is before the Supreme Court of the United States, and Indiana has authored one amicus brief and co-authored another arguing that the states should be able to define marriage.
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Student kicked out of IU medical school loses on breach of contract claim

January 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Ohio man who was in his third year at Indiana University School of Medicine when he was dismissed for allegedly cheating couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn summary judgment for the school on his breach of contract claim.
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Statute’s language gives courts discretion when reviewing petitions to reduce Class D felony to a misdemeanor

January 29, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A Hancock County man will not have his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the state statute gives the courts the freedom to decide whether to grant or deny a petition.
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COA reversal of truck forfeiture allows movie fan to drive off into the sunset

January 29, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In a reversal of a trial court’s ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a man who pleaded guilty to selling pirated movies should not have had his truck taken by the state because violating copyright is not the same as stealing goods
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Judges’ ruling in email records case defers to public access counselor

January 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A request for the email records of public officials that simply asks for emails to or from officials over a certain period of time doesn’t satisfy the Access to Public Records Act, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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State may drop Bei Bei Shuai murder charge after adverse ruling

January 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge’s ruling last week barring a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison ingested by Bei Bei Shuai caused the death of her newborn daughter should cause the state to consider dropping all charges, Shuai’s defense attorney said.
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Dropped charges in habitual offender sentence distinguish conflicting rulings

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defendant who benefited when charges against him were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea is not entitled to relief under a subsequent Supreme Court ruling weighing the same set of charges, a panel of the Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Judges also drew distinctions with a conflicting COA opinion.
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Teen father not deprived by lack of guardian ad litem in termination judgment

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 15-year-old who fathered a child was not deprived due process because a guardian ad litem wasn’t appointed for him during proceedings in which his parental rights were terminated.
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Justices remand burglary sentence for new hearing on restitution order

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for a man convicted of burglary whose restitution order had been thrown out by the Court of Appeals because of insufficient evidence to support the amount of the award.
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COA rules in favor of grandchildren in will dispute

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to interpret a handwritten will from 1917 in a dispute among those who stood to inherit land in Benton County. The appellate court determined that the trial court properly ruled that John and Karen LeFebre could collectively receive a one-third share in the acreage.
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Attempted child molestation conviction does not lead to credit restricted status

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the determination that an Elkhart County man was a credit restricted felon following his conviction of attempted molestation of his daughter, finding attempted child molestation isn’t included among offenses that qualify under the credit restricted felon statute.
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Rule of lenity doesn’t apply on man’s escape conviction

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The rule of lenity doesn’t apply to the case of a Marion County man who tried to break into a home while serving home detention as a condition of probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. The judges upheld Diano Gordon’s convictions of Class D felonies escape and attempted residential entry.
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Man wins appeal of case against Indiana Parole Board

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Several conditions of a man’s parole following his conviction of criminal deviate conduct involving an adult – including prohibitions on spending time with his own children – were found to be overbroad or vague by the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The judges reversed the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Parole Board and other defendants on David Bleeke’s complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.
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7th Circuit strikes down sex-offender social media ban as unconstitutional

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 35-42-4-12 prohibiting certain sex offenders from using social networking sites that allow minors to participate is not narrowly tailored to serve the state’s interest, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The judges ordered a permanent injunction entered preventing enforcement of the current law.
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Judges rule on rehearing that company can hold mechanic’s lien

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
JM Woodworking petitioned the Court of Appeals for rehearing after the court decided in November 2012 that the company could not hold a mechanic’s lien against property of Fred and Mary Anna Feitler for unpaid bills on the construction of their home.
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COA: rehearing petition another example of how DCS ‘dropped the ball’ in case

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the rehearing petitions of the Department of Child Services and a family who had a child removed from their care and re-examined the family’s federal civil rights claims and claims under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The judges also chided DCS’ counsel for submitting a new document in the petition for rehearing that was not part of the record on appeal.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress after car stopped for window tint

January 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded on interlocutory appeal that an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer lacked reasonable suspicion when he stopped a man’s car due to the tint on his rear window because the evidence shows the window tint didn’t justify the stop.
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Anniversary of Citizens United decision observed with protest rally

January 21, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
To mark the third anniversary of the Citizens United decision, nonprofits and community groups held a rally at the federal courthouse in downtown Indianapolis Friday.
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Appeals court upholds dismissal of Star appeal on rehearing

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted The Indianapolis Star’s request for rehearing regarding the court’s decision to dismiss the newspaper’s appeal of a discovery order, but the court once again voted 2-1 to dismiss the appeal.
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  1. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

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