Court opinions

COA trims man’s robbery, sex offense sentence from 248 to 218 years

March 24, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man who was one of five accomplices who robbed a house and sexually assaulted victims inside during a two-hour rampage will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, but the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday he had been subjected to double jeopardy and trimmed 30 years off his sentence.
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COA: Trial court did not follow Batson regulations when dismissing Hispanic juror

March 24, 2016
Scott Roberts
A trial court did not follow Batson regulations when dismissing a Hispanic juror before the trial of a man convicted of Class D felony intimidation and Class A misdemeanor domestic battery, and as such the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his convictions, finding the evidence enough for him to stand trial again.
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Woman can be charged with criminal trespass after entering school

March 24, 2016
Scott Roberts
A woman who entered school property after she was threatened with criminal trespass if she did so can be charged with the crime after the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court ruling that she had no contractual interest in the school property, despite being a parent in the district.
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ADA claims against St. Joseph County courts fail in 7th Circuit

March 24, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment for the St. Joseph County court system in a case involving accessibility of the St. Joseph County Courthouse and the Mishawaka County Services Building. The court said many of the plaintiffs’ claims lack standing, while others failed to raise genuine disputes of material fact.
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COA changes sentence for drunk woman who hit a man with her car

March 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the sentence given to a woman who hit a man with her car and killed him while driving drunk was too harsh and took two years off it. However, the COA upheld all other parts of her conviction.
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COA affirms estate no longer has interest in property

March 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a motion to dismiss as well as a motion for summary judgment after a woman sued an estate that no longer has interest in a property because that interest had passed to another person.
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7th Circuit affirms $34.2M in fraudulent transfer case

March 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling from the Southern District of Indiana that a company needs to pay $34.2 million for a crop-insurance business it bought and later sold to other companies it also controlled.
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Man on death row loses habeas petition before 7th Circuit

March 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld rulings lifting a stay on a man’s habeas corpus petition and dismissing his claims after the appellate court held his claims could be decided based on the state-court record.
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Ruling ends statute of repose for some asbestos cases

March 23, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling that the statute of repose does not apply in prolonged asbestos cases could open the door for more cases to be filed, two Indianapolis attorneys said. However, they were split if the decision was the right one.
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Supreme Court: Consolidating precincts is not unconstitutional

March 22, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled an effort to consolidate small Lake County precincts to reduce election costs was not unconstitutional, finding it is neither an impermissible special law nor a violation of the separation of powers doctrine.
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Justices: IBM breached state welfare contract

March 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
IBM breached its master services agreement with the state in its failed bid to privatize and modernize Indiana’s welfare systems, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, more than six years after the state sued the tech giant over the $1.3 billion contract.
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Justices uphold $5.8M award against Tyson Foods

March 22, 2016
 Associated Press
In a setback to business, the Supreme Court of the United States on Tuesday upheld a $5.8 million judgment against Tyson Foods Inc. in a pay dispute with more than 3,000 workers at a pork-processing plant in Iowa.
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House always wins: Court upholds sentence of man trying to launder money at casino

March 21, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of four motions to suppress evidence and exclude expert testimony in a case where a man was caught trying to launder money by stuffing the bills into a slot machine at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.
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Man gets to keep part of farming property

March 17, 2016
Scott Roberts
A man will get to keep part of his farming property after the Indiana Court of Appeals found appointing a commissioner for the property was an impermissible modification of his and his ex-wife’s divorce agreement.
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Supreme Court: Evidence sufficient for murder convictions

March 17, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a man’s convictions of four counts of murder and four life sentences without parole after it found evidence was sufficient to justify his convictions. The case went straight from trial court to the Supreme Court because of the life without parole sentences.
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COA: Attorneys can rely upon representations of other attorneys

March 16, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed a two-decades-old Indiana Supreme Court ruling, saying attorneys are entitled to rely upon the representations of other attorneys when it ruled on a case where a company was charged a higher price for a piece of property than it should have been because of the price the property’s attorney gave to the company.
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7th Circuit: Woman has no claim for tortious interference

March 16, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Indiana Southern District Court ruling throwing out a woman’s suit against her employer because she failed to state a claim for tortious interference under Indiana law.
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Juror taint causes Supreme Court to reverse involuntary manslaughter convictions

March 16, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed a couple’s involuntary manslaughter convictions after it found an alternate juror improperly participated in the deliberations. The justices remanded the case to the trial court for a new trial.
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Supreme Court: COA erred in custody decision

March 15, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court went against the Indiana Court of Appeals when it agreed with the trial court that a mother’s motions for custody modification and for contempt should be denied.
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COA: Firm has no private cause of action to gain back fees

March 15, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a decision that denied HealthPort’s motion for judgment against Garrison Law Firm LLC after it found Garrison did not have a private cause of action under Indiana law or Administrative Code.
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Appeals court rules Notre Dame police subject to APRA

March 15, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the University of Notre Dame Police Department is a public agency under the Indiana Access to Public Records Act and is subject to APRA requests, overturning a trial court decision in St. Joseph Superior Court.
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COA rules in favor of IHSAA in basketball fight

March 11, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a preliminary injunction against the Indiana High School Athletic Association in a case involving a fight between Griffith and Hammond High Schools last year that allowed both schools to participate in the IHSAA tournament. The COA said the trial court improperly added its own judgment and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
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Pork producer wins final suit over Indiana swine farms

March 11, 2016
 Associated Press
The nation's 11th largest pork producer has claimed victory after seven years of litigation over an influx of industrial swine farms in east central Indiana.
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Wife to receive more in divorce settlement

March 11, 2016
Scott Roberts
A wife will get around $116,000 more in a divorce settlement after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the trial court erred in applying the coverture fraction formula to the husband’s retirement accounts.
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COA overturns trust validity case

March 10, 2016
Scott Roberts
A redacted copy of a living trust did not stop a woman from challenging and winning her charge that a trial court improperly dismissed her complaint contesting validity of the trust.
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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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