Court opinions

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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Court properly admitted gun into evidence

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s conviction of Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, rejecting his argument that the gun he tossed away while running from police should not have been admitted into evidence.
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Judges uphold drug possession conviction, reverse habitual offender enhancement

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was arrested and charged with Class B felony possession of cocaine because he was within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex in Elkhart had his conviction upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday. But the judges reversed a habitual offender enhancement because the state didn’t prove that John F. Harris III had more than one dealing offense.
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Judge dismisses federal right-to-work challenge

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A U.S. District judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed in Hammond by a labor union challenging the state’s right-to-work law for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Chief Judge Philip P. Simon in the Northern District of Indiana did allow two counts claiming the law violates the Indiana Constitution to proceed in state court.
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COA affirms man’s conviction of intimidating Dearborn County judge

January 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Dearborn County man who posted numerous articles online about a Superior judge who presided over his divorce alleging the judge was corrupt and a child abuser had his conviction of intimidation related to the conduct upheld by the Court of Appeals Thursday. But the judges found intimidation convictions relating to a psychologist who performed the custody evaluation and the judge’s wife could not stand.
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INDOT can take Ohio County property for road improvements

January 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found Wednesday that the Indiana Department of Transportation is entitled by law to acquire a portion of an Ohio County couple’s property to improve State Road 56.
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Ruling: DOC 'indifferent' to mentally ill inmates

January 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
The opinion from the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana fits the national trend against isolation policy for these inmates.
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Property mortgagor, managers owed no duty in case of drowned girl

January 15, 2013
A trial court correctly dismissed a wrongful death case the mother of a 5-year-old girl filed against a mortgage company and other defendants after the child drowned in the pool of a house that had been abandoned.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  4. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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