Court opinions

Tax return doesn't require attached appraisal

March 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana code doesn't require an estate to file an appraisal with its inheritance tax return, the Indiana Tax Court decided in two opinions handed down Wednesday.
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Estate entitled to hearing on cause of fireRestricted Content

March 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A plaintiff is entitled to a hearing on whether vandalism caused the fire at an unoccupied home, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. The District Court never made a finding on the investigation that indicated it may have been burglars who started the fire.
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7th Circuit: expenses were capital expendituresRestricted Content

March 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis-based health insurer can't deduct its settlement payments or legal expenses from the litigation because the insurer's payments were actually capital expenditures, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed today.
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COA: State didn't bring man to trial within 1 year

March 22, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Justices vacate life sentence

March 22, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Appellate court upholds murder conviction

March 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court erred in finding a police officer was a skilled witness uniquely qualified to assess a murder victim's truthfulness, it was a harmless error because his testimony was an admissible lay observation, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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Man didn't timely file petition to reopen estates

March 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly denied the request to reopen the estates of a man's deceased parents to correct an error because he failed to timely file his petition, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Boy can't sue for lack of probable cause

March 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to decide whether Indiana provides a plaintiff an adequate post-deprivation remedy despite the state's recognition of an affirmative immunity defense for government workers acting in the scope of their employment.
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7th Circuit: counsel assistance wasn't ineffectiveRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant didn't receive ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorneys failed to raise the issue of comments made by his victim's mother during the trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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RICO case against former East Chicago mayor nets $108M in damagesRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ordered an ex-mayor and top allies to pay more than $108 million in damages for a voting scandal a decade ago, but in doing so he's rejected the Indiana Attorney General's most novel and far-reaching legal arguments in a landmark civil racketeering case centered on public corruption in East Chicago.
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Mortgage company didn't act in good faith

March 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a mortgage company shouldn't have been treated as a bona fide purchaser because it didn't act in good faith in providing a mortgage that was obtained by fraud.
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Couple not a 'successful party' in settlement

March 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Despite a lack of Indiana caselaw addressing the use of the term "successful party" for an award of attorney fees after a settlement, the Indiana Court of Appeals deemed the term interchangeable with the term "prevailing party."
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All elements of 'fair value' must be considered

March 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although there isn't any Indiana caselaw detailing how the shares held by dissenting shareholders are to be appraised, the Indiana Court of Appeals adopted the view that trial courts should consider all possible elements of the present value of the corporation on the valuation date, including the company's possible future plans.
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Judges disagree on chemical possession charge

March 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeal judges disagreed as to whether a defendant who stole anhydrous ammonia with the intent of selling it to a third party in the future to make methamphetamine, but who never actually sold the chemical, could be charged with possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
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High court rules on prisoners issues

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court handed down two opinions Wednesday in which the high court expressly adopted the "prison mailbox rule" and determined a majority of the Indiana Parole Board constitutes the full parole board when making final decisions.
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Defendant must prove inability to pay

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The defendant bears the burden of proving that he or she wasn't able to provide support at a probation revocation hearing for failing to support dependants, the Indiana Court of Appeals held today.
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COA split on impact of jury instruction omission

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
One Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' decision to grant a new trial based on the lack of a jury instruction on robbery because he didn't think the defendant was prejudiced by the omission.
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COA rules on landowner first-impression issue

March 10, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Prior misconduct negates self-defense claim

March 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Evidence of a defendant's prior alleged domestic violence incidents against his ex-wife shouldn't have been admitted to explain the ex-wife's animosity toward him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. However, the evidence was admissible because it was relevant to prove the ex-husband's motive to commit the domestic violence he was charged with in the instant case.
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Appellate ruling addresses priority rights

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In reversing summary judgment for a home loan company on its complaint for strict foreclosure, the Indiana Court of Appeals specifically adopted the reasoning set forth in a federal decision involving priority rights on liens.
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Justices disagree about evidence issue

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard didn't agree with his colleagues' decision that a defendant couldn't introduce evidence to dispute the judgment of an injured plaintiff's medical providers in choosing certain treatment.
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Judges find search of car for gun not justified

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs found in his car during a search, but one judge believed the man's cooperation and respect toward the police officer shouldn't factor into their decision making.
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Mistake invalidates termination of dad's rights

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A father's consent to voluntarily terminate his parental rights so his sister could adopt his daughter was invalidated by misrepresentations made by a family case manager for the Department of Child Services. As such, the father's petition to set aside the judgment should have been granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Legislature, courts navigate uncertainty about registry lawsRestricted Content

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawmakers are revising state law following the confusion created by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year, which involves how convicted sex offenders can be removed from a statewide registry if they believe registration wasn't required at the time of their conviction.
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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