Court opinions

Appeals court remands divorce distribution for IRA recalculation

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
The value of an Individual Retirement Account was miscalculated by a trial court, but the Indiana Court of Appeals otherwise affirmed the distribution of a marital estate in a divorce case.
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Trial court must review treatment plan for mental patient, COA rules

December 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who challenged his ongoing commitment to a mental health facility got a partial victory in that the trial court has been ordered to review his medication to determine if it is substantially benefiting him.
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Divided appeals panel affirms judgment over time-limit objection

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
A divided Court of Appeals Tuesday affirmed a trial court judgment for $175,000 in favor of a consultant who co-signed a mortgage in exchange for shares in a company and half-ownership in the real estate.
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Appeals court affirms contempt over parenting-time violation

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother who was found in contempt of court for failing to abide by court-ordered parenting time provisions got no relief Tuesday from the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA decision in dueling-precedent case affirmed by Supreme Court

December 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Reviewing a conflict in precedent in state caselaw regarding child support, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the resolution reached by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Divided appeals panel reverses judgment against Thomson

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court improperly ruled in favor of an insurer on Thomson Inc.’s claims for the cleanup of toxic chemicals at two consumer electronics manufacturing sites.
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Father can’t challenge paternity 15 years after child’s birth

December 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court properly denied a man’s petition to rescind or vacate the paternity affidavit he signed when he was 17 years old, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The appeals court declined to reweigh the evidence regarding his and the child mother’s credibility.
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Judges toss ‘illegible’ federal lawsuits

December 16, 2014
Dave Stafford
Federal judges in Indianapolis last week wasted no time tossing two lawsuits from an abusive serial filer whose hand-scrawled complaints couldn’t be deciphered.
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SCOTUS affirms search based on misunderstanding of law

December 15, 2014
 Associated Press
Police can use evidence seized during a traffic stop even if it turns out the officers initially pulled a car over based on a misunderstanding of the law, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday.
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COA upholds reversal of award for attorney fees

December 15, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Subcontractors successful in their dispute against the general contractor over the construction of a northern Indiana IMAX movie theater are not entitled to attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals has reaffirmed.
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JQC asks justices to suspend Muncie City Court judge

December 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Muncie City Court judge hit with a disciplinary proceeding last week should be suspended from the bench, the Judicial Qualifications Commission argued in a petition submitted to the Indiana Supreme Court Monday.
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Dissenting judge: Man justified in beating would-be thief

December 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who caught a trespasser trying to steal a license plate shouldn’t have been convicted of battery for whacking the intruder with a broom handle and then landing a few haymakers, a dissenting judge held Friday.
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Appeals court affirms partial judgment in insurance dispute

December 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior Court’s ruling granting partial summary judgment in a dispute between insurance companies was affirmed Friday by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars man’s lawsuit alleging false statements

December 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man challenging a garnishment order entered in state court should have challenged the order in that court system instead of filing a federal lawsuit, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges affirmed the dismissal of his suit based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
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Public voyeurism statute not unconstitutionally vague as applied, COA rules

December 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who argued he lacked sufficient notice that the public voyeurism law prohibits his conduct because he filmed girls wearing bathing suits or a skort lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday.
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Complaint properly dismissed for failure to comply with Trial Rule 3

December 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the people suing a driver who allegedly caused a car accident sent their summons to the county clerk after the two-year statute of limitations expired, the trial court correctly granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges affirm woman who emailed racist joke not entitled to unemployment benefits

December 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A newspaper employee who emailed a racist joke to two co-workers was correctly denied unemployment benefits after she was fired, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Woman fails to prove discrimination claims after she lost counseling job

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who was not hired by the private company the Department of Correction contracted with to provide counseling for inmates could not prove the company’s decision was due to age or sex discrimination.
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COA finds no reason to reverse man’s child molesting conviction

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
There was no prosecutorial misconduct or errors by the trial court that would require the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse a Marion County man’s child molesting conviction. The man raised several claims, including he was denied the right to an impartial jury and fair trial.
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Justices split over reducing meth sentence

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Justices Brent Dickson and Mark Massa disagreed with their colleagues Wednesday that a Tippecanoe County man’s 40-year sentence for Class A felony dealing in methamphetamine needed to be revised.
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Court affirms probation revocation, total time ordered in DOC

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Vigo County man lost his argument before the Indiana Court of Appeals that his term of informal probation should not have been revoked by the trial court after he violated terms of his placement in a home detention program.
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Appeals court upholds teen’s 55-year sentence for murder

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the 55-year sentence imposed on a juvenile waived into adult court for the murder of a friend. The teen claimed he should have been sentenced under the alternative sentencing scheme available for juveniles.
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Reservist entitled to full longevity pay despite time away from police force

December 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a Plymouth, Indiana, patrolman should receive the $2,700 in longevity pay he is entitled to from the city under an ordinance. The city cut the payment by two-thirds because the man served eight months on activity duty in the U.S. Air Force.
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COA reverses marijuana conviction based on illegal traffic stop

December 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer was mistaken when he pulled over a vehicle that, due to a broken tail light, emitted more white light than red light, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The statute only requires that some red light be visible, which occurred in this case.
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Court upholds serious violent felon finding, despite not using term ‘SVF’

December 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that because a stipulation to being a serious violent felon did not use the term “serious violent felon,” the state didn’t establish that as his status.
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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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