Court opinions

7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider dismissal of prisoner’s suit

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a District Court judge should have tried to learn why an inmate had not paid his initial filing fee on a lawsuit before the judge dismissed it for nonpayment, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the lower court to take another look at the case.
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Justices: Mother entitled to attorney during CHINS proceedings

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a mother was denied her statutory right to counsel during the course of child in need of services proceedings, and those proceedings directly flowed into the action to terminate her parental rights and adopt out her child, the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the judgment terminating her parental rights.
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Injured bus driver entitled to $25,000 under his insurance policy

March 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday held that a man can recover the remaining $25,000 available to him under his underinsured motorist policy because he did not receive the full statutory minimum of $50,000 from the tortfeasor’s insurer.
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Court properly denied dentist’s petition for judicial review

March 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of a dentist’s petition for judicial review of a decision by the State Board of Dentistry which found he violated Indiana Code after a patient’s wisdom teeth surgery.
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Judges reverse summary judgment in collision case

March 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
It should be up to a judge or jury to determine whether a driver’s distance in relation to the vehicle in front of him had any impact on a collision between the driver and another vehicle on Interstate 65.
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COA: Admittance of juvenile’s statement harmless error

March 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Thursday over whether a 12-year-old boy accused of child molesting and his mother were afforded the opportunity to have a meaningful consultation before speaking to police. The judges did agree that the boy’s adjudication should be affirmed.
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Justices uphold order criminal defendant answer civil complaint

March 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday found a Lake Superior judge did not abuse her discretion in ordering a man criminally charged for the hit-and-run death of a woman to respond to her estate’s wrongful death complaint filed against him.
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Justices order COA to consider man’s appeal

March 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s appeal of his aggravated battery convictions should proceed to the Indiana Court of Appeals even though the issue of restitution remains unresolved, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
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COA: Adoption petition should remain in Superior Court

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Lake Superior Court was not required under the county’s case allocation plan to transfer an adoption petition to juvenile court where termination of parental rights proceedings are pending involving the same children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Elected official loses appeal in voter registration removal

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Roseland Town Council member couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a District judge was incorrect in dismissing his lawsuit filed after he was removed from the voter registration list while incarcerated.
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Mental health statute limits state’s use of juvenile statements

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana’s Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity prohibits both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delinquency, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled. The justices were able to come to the conclusion without addressing the question of the statute’s constitutionality.
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7th Circuit rejects lawsuit on insurer’s use of in-house counsel

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday agreed that a woman’s lawsuit against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should be dismissed because state law creates no obligation for an insurer to provide advance notice to an insured that it uses in-house counsel to defend its policyholders.
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Judges affirm sniff search in hotel did not violate guest’s constitutional rights

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court properly admitted contraband seized from a woman’s hotel room into evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. One judge on the panel departed from his colleagues’ need to discuss that the officers’ search was justified because they acted in good faith.
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Miranda warning given during police interview makes confession admissible

March 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s confession made during a police interrogation is admissible because while officers questioned the defendant in what they called a “pre-interview,” they Mirandized him before he confessed.
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Small-claims hearsay letter properly admitted

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A dentist’s letter that said a man suing him had never complained about the service he received was not improperly admitted in a small-claims collections action, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Justices: Inmate will serve longer term for punching prison worker

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Department of Correction inmate serving a 17-year sentence was improperly given credit time that reduced his sentence for punching a prison worker in the face.
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Medmal claim sent via FedEx before deadline was timely filed

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice complaint was timely filed when an attorney delivered it to Federal Express a day before the statutory deadline, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, reversing lower court orders and remanding the complaint to the trial court.
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Information used to obtain search warrant splits Court of Appeals

March 10, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the statements from three individuals were hearsay and initially led law enforcement to enter the wrong apartment, a split Indiana Court of Appeals found, collectively, the information supported probable cause.
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Appeals court: Requests for modification don’t nullify foreclosure

March 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a mortgage servicer despite the property owners’ attempts at modifying the mortgage.
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Divided Supreme Court reinstates parental termination order

March 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals impermissibly reversed termination of a father’s parental rights, a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday in reinstating a trial court order.
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Highway supervisor’s termination not subject to judicial review

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the decision by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners to not reappoint its county highway supervisor was a ministerial decision, the Indiana Supreme Court held it was not subject to judicial review.
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Judges order more proceedings in property distribution after divorce

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Citing inconsistencies and lack of information, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings to determine issues of spousal maintenance and distribution of the marital estate in a divorce case.
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COA: Buyer complied with notice statutes for obtaining tax deed

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the parties and trial court did not follow the established procedures to set aside a tax deed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the court erred in finding a buyer’s notices sent certified mail were statutorily deficient. The notices did not request return receipt.
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Judges order woman resentenced for health care fraud

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a woman knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, but it sent her case back to the District Court for resentencing. The District judge violated the ex post facto clause by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines.
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ATF agent’s testimony supports gun conviction

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s weapons conviction Tuesday, ruling that the expert testimony of an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives could be used to prove that a gun had crossed state lines.
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  1. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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