Court opinions

COA splits over earliest, latest possible release dates

August 9, 2016
Dave Stafford
Two of three judges on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel urged lawmakers to revisit a requirement that trial courts advise convicts of their earliest and latest possible release dates, but a third judge dismissed the majority’s position that the requirement “imposes an impracticable burden on our trial courts.
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Pro se inmate wins appeal of sentence modification

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
An inmate’s pro se legal briefs arguing for a modification of his 70-year drug sentence impressed the Indiana Court of Appeals, who granted him another chance to make his case that he deserves leniency as a model prisoner who made the best of his time behind bars.
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Murderer deprived court record gets new shot at relief

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of killing a female co-worker whose skeletal remains were found in a Johnson County marsh was denied an opportunity to use the court record to plead his counsel was ineffective as he sought post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA affirms probation revocation

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that revocation of his probation on a drug charge was barred by the doctrine of res judicata because his placement in community corrections had already been revoked.
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Justices reinstate conviction divided COA reversed

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a man’s misdemeanor failure to identify conviction that had been reversed by a divided panel of the Court of Appeals.
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Reversal: Kroger must face claim for filling script in wrongful death case

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
Kroger must face a claim that its potential negligence in filling a prescription contributed to the death of a woman after she sought treatment for acute bronchitis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a reversal.
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Split COA tosses robbery convictions pegged to cellphone data

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that cellphone users have a reasonable expectation to the privacy of their location information that’s tracked and collected by phone service providers. The majority’s holding reversed armed robbery convictions of an Ohio man found guilty of holding up two Dearborn County liquor stores.
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Judges divided over sentence review under Appellate Rule 7(B)

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The majority on a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals declared Tuesday that Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) requires only that the court “consider” the nature of the offense and the offender’s character, not that the defendant necessarily prove both of those prongs. This led to a separate opinion calling the decision “significant.”
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Statute, plea agreement do not preclude converting felony to misdemeanor

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision to reduce a man’s Class D felony conviction following a guilty plea to theft in 2000 to a Class A misdemeanor 15 years later.
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COA: investors owed reimbursement

July 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a reversal in the Indiana Court of Appeals handed an investment firm a reimbursement, the amount of funds to be returned is unknown since the trial court was left to figure the sum.
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Court affirms suppression of drug evidence found in jail strip search

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly granted the motion of a man arrested in Marion County to suppress drug evidence found in his buttocks after he was stripped search as a result of a misdemeanor battery charge, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA finds double jeopardy requires vacating criminal recklessness conviction

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide which of a man’s two convictions that violated double jeopardy prohibitions to vacate, and determined that his Level 6 felony criminal recklessness conviction should be vacated because it has the less severe penal consequence.
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Mother to be sanctioned for willfully denying parenting time

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A mother that has prevented her son from seeing his father since 2009 and purposefully disobeyed parenting time orders and contempt orders must be sanctioned, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA: Trial Rule 41(E) requires hearing on PCR petition

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court should have followed Indiana Trial Rule 41(E) and held a hearing before dismissing an inmate’s petition for post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Court orders reconsideration of petition for credit time

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Because the post-conviction court denied an inmate’s petition for credit time without considering whether he had exhausted administrative remedies, the Indiana Court of Appeals sent the case back for reconsideration.
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Offender on parole gets probation revocation reversed

July 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Even though he violated the terms of his probation, an offender should not have been ordered back to jail because at his release Indiana Department of Correction made a mistake and put him on parole.
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COA upholds convictions of man who targeted Burmese

July 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
An Alabama man was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was not behind several attacks on members of the Burmese community in Indianapolis two years ago. The judges affirmed Danny Cherry’s 80-year sentence for various crimes, including attempted murder.
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7th Circuit remands disability benefits denial

July 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found an administrative law judge had improperly cherry picked a man’s medical record and reversed the denial of his disability benefits.
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COA reduces rapist’s sentence by 10 years

July 26, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an offender was successful in asserting the trial court erred in merging his sentences and applying an enhancement, he failed to respond to the state’s arguments for remedy which provided just a 10-year reduction to his 90-year aggregate sentence.
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Man loses appeal over search that led to cocaine charges

July 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man on trial for Class A felony counts of dealing cocaine and conspiracy to deal cocaine lost his appeal Tuesday seeking to suppress evidence found in a search of his car.
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Justices rule State Farm UIM policy ambiguous

July 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A State Farm auto insurance policy’s language regarding uninsured motorist coverage is ambiguous, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, affirming a Lake Superior trial court’s denial of the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a personal injury case.
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Man’s resisting conviction after domestic violence call reversed

July 25, 2016
Dave Stafford
Police responding to a domestic violence call weren’t legally exercising their duties when they entered the alleged perpetrator’s house without his consent, used a Taser on him and charged him with resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Farmers win reversal in drainage appeal against town

July 25, 2016
Dave Stafford
Montgomery County farmers who claimed work done by a town to improve its stormwater drainage ruined their acreage won reversal Monday of a trial court ruling against them.
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Elkhart teacher loses age-discrimination appeal

July 25, 2016
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected an appeal of an Elkhart teacher who claimed the school system discriminated against her on the basis of her race and age in denying her 12 different promotions over a span of eight years.
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COA admonishes prosecutor’s misconduct, doesn’t reverse conviction

July 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
A prosecutor’s suggestion to the jury during an attempted rape trial that a defense attorney influenced a witness was misconduct, but not sufficient to warrant reversal of the defendant’s conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. But the court also called out the prosecutor and warned him.
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