Court opinions

Justices clarify jury taint, mistrial standards

April 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the Indiana Court of Appeals cited three different mistrial standards in a man’s appeal of the denial of his motion for a mistrial, the Indiana Supreme Court took his case to clarify its precedent for trial courts to use to determine whether a mistrial is a cure for a jury taint.
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7th Circuit finds 5-year-old information not ‘stale’

April 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined a defendant’s request to find the information used to execute a search warrant of his computer for child pornography stale because more time had passed in his case as compared to previous cases ruled on by the Circuit Court.
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Majority reverses teen’s underage drinking adjudication

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals wanted to make a point “loud and clear” Tuesday: Suspicion of criminal activity is not an exception to the warrant requirement. The majority reversed a teen’s adjudication as a delinquent based on acts of illegal possession of alcohol, illegal consumption of alcohol, and aiding illegal consumption of alcohol.
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DNA in glove at scene sufficient to uphold burglary conviction

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a conviction vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court unanimously affirmed a conviction of Class C felony burglary with a habitual offender enhancement, finding a glove at the crime scene with the suspect’s DNA was sufficient for a jury to determine guilt.
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Man’s guilty but mentally ill conviction upheld

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to reweigh the evidence that led to a man being found guilty but mentally ill of murder and battery. Jamal Ahmad Gore argued he should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
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COA: No fundamental error in admitting testimony

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man’s two convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor after finding that there was no fundamental error in the admittance of certain testimony at his trial.
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Judges deny stepfather’s request to adopt children

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A mother’s deliberate decision to thwart the attempts of her ex-husband to communicate with their two small children supports the trial court’s decision to deny her current husband’s attempt to adopt the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Tuesday.
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Lawyer reprimanded for enforcing associate’s separation agreement

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Clark County attorney was reprimanded Tuesday by the Indiana Supreme Court over terms of a separation agreement he enforced against an associate who left the firm.
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Truck’s ‘excessive’ smoke justified traffic stop

April 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer had reasonable suspicion to pull over a driver after seeing his truck emit an “excessive” amount of smoke.
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COA affirms dropped charges for ex-IURC chief Hardy

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
Because David Lott Hardy, former chairman of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, broke no laws, a trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in dismissing felony official misconduct charges against him, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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Plea bars man from credit for time served on electronic monitoring

April 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man entered into a plea agreement that he was not entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring as a condition of bond, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his 14-year sentence.
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Gambler scores partial victory before Tax Court

April 25, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Thursday granted an alleged professional gambler’s motion to compel the Department of State Revenue to comply with nearly all of his discovery requests in his quest to deduct certain business expenses.
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Judges decline to revise man’s 60-year molestation sentence

April 25, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument to revise his sentence for molesting the daughters of his ex-girlfriend to be served concurrently instead of consecutively because of his age and he is paraplegic.
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COA reissues expungement opinion

April 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reissued its decision finding the trial court should have granted a man’s petition for expungement. The court originally handed down the opinion in Taylor v. State, 45A03-1310-CR-406, April 17.
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Woman’s conviction for threatening apartment manager upheld

April 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a woman’s intimidation conviction Thursday, finding the evidence supports the charge that she threatened the manager of the apartment complex where she lived.
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Court upholds man’s molestation convictions

April 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding no juror misconduct or any fundamental error in the admission of certain testimony during a man’s trial for molesting his daughter, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his multiple molestation convictions. He will also have to file a petition for post-conviction relief to challenge his habitual offender adjudication.
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Judges uphold man’s conspiracy conviction

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although the state charged a man with the non-existent crime of “conspiracy to commit attempted armed robbery,” the record shows Matthew Wilhoite was actually convicted of conspiring to commit armed robbery. As such, the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected his claim he was convicted of a crime that doesn’t exist.
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COA adopts rule allowing for partial subordination of 1st lienholder’s interest

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday decided the state should follow the majority rule on agreements to modify the priority of liens securing interests in a borrower’s assets.
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Judges affirm ex-wife’s cut of lottery winnings

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s contention that she should be entitled to more than 2.5 percent of her ex-husband’s lottery winnings based on his admission that 70 percent distribution would be “fair and equitable.”
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COA: Search of passenger not unconstitutional

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s claim that drugs found in her possession should not have been admitted at trial because a police search of her after a traffic stop violated the federal and state constitutions.
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SCOTUS upholds Michigan affirmative-action ban

April 23, 2014
IL Staff
The Supreme Court of the United States by a vote of 6-2 Tuesday upheld Michigan’s constitutional amendment banning the use of affirmative action by its public universities.
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Assertion of state’s rights may not support same-sex marriage ban

April 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana is contenting that states have the authority to define marriage, but the federal court and the ACLU of Indiana have given little merit to the state’s arguments for maintaining a ban on same-sex marriage.
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Defender’s trial strategy trumps inmate’s pro se early-trial request

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
A prison inmate who asked for a public defender then said at an initial hearing he wanted to “file for fast and speedy trial too” lost his appeal that argued the court erred by not ruling on his request and his trial counsel was ineffective.
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Hogsett: Machine gun case most ‘egregious,’ ‘dangerous’ he’s seen

April 22, 2014
IL Staff
Joe Hogsett on Tuesday announced the maximum penalty was warranted in a felony firearm case he called the most “egregious and dangerous” he’s seen during his time as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Grandparents lose adoption appeal in first-impression case

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
Grandparents who filed late motions challenging a stepfather’s adoption of a 6-year-old are not entitled to relief based on their argument they didn’t receive legal notice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a family law case raising two issues of first impression.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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