Court opinions

Justices: warrantless search OK because of ‘objectively reasonable’ concerns

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a man’s drug conviction Tuesday, reiterating that if an officer encounters an emergency situation, then he or she may investigate further without a warrant.
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Justices rule in favor of woman alleging 'warrantless intrusion' by officer

November 29, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although a police officer believed that a Hamilton County woman could have been injured after being stuck under her car, the facts surrounding the situation did not lend themselves to an emergency situation that could justify the “warrantless intrusion” of stopping the woman’s car after she drove away.
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7th Circuit dismisses appeal based on waiver

November 28, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a convicted murderer’s appeal arguing that the waiver of his right to appeal should be ignored because his sentence was outside statutory requirements, calling the man’s argument “undesirable” and “nonsensical.”
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Man must continue to pay child support for son he claimed was his, court holds

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A divided Court of Appeals panel has affirmed an order requiring a non-biological father to pay child support for his wife’s child, finding that because the man supported the child throughout his life, he is legally estopped from challenging the child support order.
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Errors lead to reversal of veteran’s involuntary commitment

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A trial court’s order mandating the involuntary commitment of a veteran has been vacated after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that the Department of Veterans Affairs failed to follow proper legal protocol in serving documents and did not prove that the veteran posed a risk to himself or others.
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Lack of jurisdiction keeps cemetery case in court

November 23, 2016
Olivia Covington
A woman’s fight to bury her mother in a burial site that she had purchased but that was mistakenly resold will continue after the Indiana Court of Appeals found that a small claims court did not have jurisdiction to grant her injunctive relief.
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‘Moorish national’ loses appeal of house-squatting conviction

November 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who identifies as a "Moorish National" sovereign citizen immune from state and federal law had no luck persuading the Indiana Court of Appeals to overturn his convictions arising from his occupancy of an Indianapolis house that was being prepared for sale after foreclosure.
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COA: Officers don’t have to relay specifics of their ‘reasonable suspicions’

November 18, 2016
Olivia Covington
Deciding that police officers do not have to relay the specific details of their reasons for being suspicious of a person before an officer stops and detains that person, the Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a man’s argument that evidence of his possession of a handgun was improperly admitted.
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Judges decline to consider mother’s actions in med-mal case

November 18, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected a doctor’s argument that a patient’s mother served as an intervening cause to the loss of the patient’s kidney and instead upheld the rule that a parent’s alleged contributory negligence may not be imputed to a child’s medical malpractice claim.
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Tow company that seized, sold cars loses injunction appeal

November 17, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis towing company whose owner worked with bankruptcy lawyers to take possession of cars when a buyer defaulted and then resell dozens of them lost its appeal of an injunction blocking the practice and ordering the cars be returned to the lienholder.
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Felony conviction affirmed based on ‘into’ definition

November 17, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A bullet that pierces a home’s siding is considered to be “into” the dwelling, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Thursday in upholding a South Bend man’s criminal recklessness conviction.
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COA: Incest age defense can’t win post-conviction relief

November 17, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of incest for a consensual sexual relationship with his biological aunt couldn’t persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to post-conviction relief. The man claimed ineffective assistance of counsel for failing to argue in his defense that the man’s aunt was older than 31.
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Justices dismiss ESPN suit, find Notre Dame police not public agency

November 16, 2016
Dave Stafford
Notre Dame Police are not a public agency, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, turning back a lawsuit from ESPN that sought records of the university police’s interactions with student athletes. The ruling means Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act does not apply to university police at private institutions.
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COA dismisses request to make trial court order final

November 15, 2016
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a mother’s request to characterize an order ending her parent-child relationship as a final order, writing that she still had to option of appealing the trial court’s decision through interlocutory appeal.
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COA upholds murder conviction after rejecting involuntary manslaughter appeal

November 15, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a man’s murder conviction after rejecting his claim that the jury should have been instructed on an involuntary manslaughter charge because he did not intend to kill his victim when he was beating her.
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COA says golf cart use is par for the course during the game

November 15, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man’s negligence claim against a golf teammate who struck the back of his golf cart cannot succeed because driving a golf cart is normal behavior for participants in the sport.
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Greenfield police officer loses suit over discipline for profane texts

November 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
A Greenfield police officer has lost his federal lawsuit filed against the city after he was suspended for allegedly sending profane text messages that insulted and threatened his superior officers.
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ISP officer loses whistleblower appeal

November 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
State workers alleging retaliation for whistleblower activities must first exhaust all administrative remedies before suing, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday, affirming a trial court ruling against a 27-year Indiana State Police officer.
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7th Circuit affirms jury verdict in injured railroad worker's suit

October 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
A jury correctly ruled against an employee of the railroad company CSX Transportation Inc. who sued his employer after an on-the-job accident that resulted in severe back pain, citing evidence that proved the pain existed before the accident, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided Thursday.
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COA affirms woman’s involuntary commitment despite moot appeal

October 27, 2016
Olivia Covington
Although the term of her commitment in an Indiana mental health facility had already expired, the Indiana Court of Appeals chose Thursday to hear a woman’s moot appeal of her commitment and affirm it, writing that the case needed to be heard as a matter of great public importance.
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COA will not allow specialized driving privileges for man with 27 traffic violations

October 26, 2016
Olivia Covington
An Indiana man now living in Mississippi whose Indiana driver’s license was suspended for life after more than two dozen traffic violations cannot receive special Indiana driving privileges that would enable him to obtain a license in Mississippi.
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Homeowner can be liable for party injuries resulting in death, but not for furnishing alcohol

October 26, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday that a woman whose party guest died at her home after a drunken brawl could be considered negligent because she did not seek care for the guest, but not on the basis of supplying alcohol to the men involved in the fight.
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IN Supreme Court holds that bar shooting was not foreseeable

October 26, 2016
Olivia Covington
After deciding that foreseeability in the context of duty in a negligence case is different than in the context of proximate cause, the Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday that a Grant County bar was not negligent in a shooting that injured three people because the shooting was not foreseeable.
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Supreme Court upholds burglar’s sentence, rejects COA assessment of appellate argument

October 25, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed Tuesday a burglar’s felony conviction and sentence, but also rejected a harsh Court of Appeals assessment of the his argument appealing his sentence.
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7th Circuit upholds drug offender’s conviction, vacates life sentence

October 25, 2016
Olivia Covington
A man convicted of multiple drug offenses and sentenced to a life term in prison will soon receive a new sentence after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated it on Tuesday.
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  2. 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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  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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