Court opinions

Community-caretaking duties permits warrantless search

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A warrantless search that led to discovery of marijuana and a handgun did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the police found the items as part of their “community-caretaking” duties.
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Charge dismissed in error negates felony DUI enhancement

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
The state’s errant dismissal of a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in 2009 may not be corrected in order to enhance to a felony a defendant’s second such charge within five years, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man still drunk despite change in public intoxication statute, COA rules

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 2012 change in Indiana’s public intoxication statute adding a required charging element of at least harassing, annoying or alarming another person doesn’t negate a conviction for a man who the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled did at least that much.
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Nigerian immigrant's religious discrimination suit carries cautions for employers

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
Sikiru Adeyeye had a mission when his father died in Nigeria three years ago. Letters to his employer asking to take one week of paid vacation and several weeks off without pay expressed the urgency of his obligation.
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Accused murderers likely to stay in jail awaiting trial

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
When the Indiana Supreme Court upended 150 years of precedent concerning murder defendants, it raised eyebrows and stirred debate but, in practice, the impact of the opinion is expected to be very limited.
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Justices revive malpractice suit alleging doctor’s failure to warn patient not to drive

August 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice suit arising from a debilitating head-on automobile crash should not have been disposed of through summary judgment in favor of the doctor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Justices reversed the order and sent the case back to the trial court.
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Muncie church did not invade on grieving couple’s privacy

August 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A church that issued a press release and held a press conference following the sudden death of a baby boy was found to not have interfered with the parents’ reasonable expectation of solitude and seclusion. 
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Seizure of guns upheld for ‘dangerous’ man who stalked Spierer site

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who behaved erratically, told far-fetched stories of seeing missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, and scoped out the place she was last seen alarmed Bloomington police enough that authorities took from him and his Indianapolis home 51 guns and ammunition.
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Dismissal, jury verdict for Alcoa in cancer suit stand on appeal

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A couple who sued an aluminum manufacturer and claimed their exposure to toxic chemicals led to the husband’s rare form of liver cancer lost their appeal Tuesday.
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Habeas writ reverses resentencing from divided COA

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Fulton County man who filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming he was falsely imprisoned won a reversal of a clarified sentencing order Tuesday, with one Court of Appeals judge saying he should be freed entirely.
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Recusal question occupies 7th Circuit in District Court’s dismissal of habeas petition

August 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a prisoner filed his habeas petition late, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the District Court should not have dismissed it on procedural grounds.
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Contract termination ends health care provider’s eligibility for federal funds

August 2, 2013
Finding that the status of the grant holder had changed, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Citizens Health Corp. is no longer eligible for Section 330 federal monies.
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COA notes Indiana law would have changed outcome of environmental dispute

August 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Using California law, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that an insurance company does not have to pay for an environmental cleanup, but the court noted it did not agree with the position of the Golden State and it would have ruled differently if Indiana law had been applicable.
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Judge sets decorum rules for Shuai trial

August 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
Anticipating a high-profile, weeks-long trial beginning after Labor Day, a Marion County judge Friday laid down rules for public and media decorum in the criminal case against Bei Bei Shuai.
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Doctrine of res judicata stops property owner’s motion

August 1, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A property owner’s attempt to file a separate action against a court-appointed receiver was derailed by the Indiana Court of Appeals under the doctrine of res judicata.
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Delayed submission of filing fee compared to dilemma created by a $7 horse-shoe nail

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In overturning the trial court’s ruling, the Indiana Supreme Court compared the case to Poor Richard’s admonition: “For want of a Nail the Shoe was lost; for want of a Shoe, the Horse was lost; and for want of a Horse the Rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of Care about a Horse-shoe Nail.”
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COA clarifies jury issue in Richmond student death case

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted a rehearing in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a public school corporation by the family of a student with Down syndrome who died after choking at school, refining a question to be presented to a jury.
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Prosecutor’s closing argument deprived defendant of fair trial

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor will get a new trial after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the prosecutor’s zealous statements made to a jury during closing arguments deprived the man of a fair trial.
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7th Circuit revives workplace religious discrimination suit

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Nigerian employee who asked his employer for time off work to attend his father’s burial rights and was fired when he returned is entitled to a day in court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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7th Circuit affirms residential search based on ‘nonverbal cues’

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A warrantless search was not a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because the defendant consented through nonverbal cues, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Indiana ‘miscarriage of justice’ splits 7th Circuit judges 5-4

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A majority of nine 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges narrowly denied rehearing en banc for an Indiana man whose sentence was erroneously calculated. A dissenting judge called the case a “miscarriage of justice.”
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Family did have notice that expert pulmonologist was going to testify as pathologist

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In reviewing a dispute over testimony given by expert witnesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals sees no reason to hold a new trial. 
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7th Circuit: Machine gun possession not violent crime

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction on federal firearm charges was vacated Tuesday when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that possession of machine guns was not violent crime, citing a case earlier this year that applied the same rationale to possession of sawed-off shotguns.
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Spur-of-the-moment burglary spree does not support corrupt business influence conviction

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that an impromptu burglary spree that lasted less than 48 hours does not meet requirements for a corrupt business influence conviction.
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COA: Lingering odor of burnt marijuana does not justify warrantless search

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
No possibility of danger or smell of marijuana was evident, and that was enough to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to suppress evidence found during a police officer’s search of a motorist’s backpack.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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