Court opinions

COA declines to extend civil ruling to PCR case

January 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected an inmate’s request that In re Adoption of O.R. provides him an option for filing a belated notice of appeal.
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Dog sniff during traffic stop did not violate Constitution

January 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
The time it took for the police pup to arrive and sniff around a vehicle did not unreasonably prolong the traffic stop in violation a driver’s Constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Court split on whether defendant’s actions were proximate cause of injury

January 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a man’s Level 6 felony resisting law enforcement conviction reduced to a misdemeanor because of a lack of evidence his actions were the proximate cause of the police officer’s injury during a foot chase.
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Appeals court reduces woman’s restitution order

January 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reduced a woman’s restitution owed to her ex-employer for money she stole over the course of a three-year period. The judges found no connection between additional missing funds and the defendant.
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COA dismisses credit card debt appeal

January 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a woman’s appeal of a default judgment entered against her regarding credit card debt because she did not file an Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion for relief.
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COA: Survivor benefit plan is a marital asset

January 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on an issue barely touched upon in a previous decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that a survivor benefit plan of a military pension should have been included in the marital pot when calculating asset distribution in a divorce.
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Jury instruction splits Supreme Court

January 25, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Jury instructions that included the interpretation from an appellate ruling split the Indiana Supreme Court as to when trial courts should look beyond the statute.
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Rental car insurance policy excludes UIM coverage

January 21, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit brought by a customer injured in a car accident who had purchased optional supplemental liability protection when renting a car. The trial court incorrectly denied the company’s motion for summary judgment on the premise it did not provide uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to the customer.
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Judge wants state to discard ‘archaic’ coverture fraction

January 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the division of a husband’s pension through the use of the coverture fraction, but one judge questioned why Indiana continues to use the doctrine which has its origin in an “outdated and misogynist view” of the rights and roles of men and women.
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COA finds 1 out of 3 dental advertising regulations unconstitutional

January 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The regulation that compels dentists to disclose every dentist within the practice in advertisements is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. It held two other challenged regulations regarding advertising are not unconstitutional.
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Court affirms in part lien priority ruling

January 19, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly concluded that a living trust, which held a purchase-money mortgage over a property in question, had first priority in enforcing a lien against the property, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Judges split over reversal of drug conviction after inventory search

January 19, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Each member of a panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals authored an opinion regarding a man's marijuana conviction stemming from the discovery of the drug during an inventory search after he was arrested for allegedly driving on a suspended license. Two of the three judges voted to reverse his felony conviction.
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Lack of signage causes COA to toss speeding ticket

January 19, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals threw out a man’s speeding ticket issued in Lawrence County after ruling the county did not make motorists aware with signs of the 35 mph speed limit on the road.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of disability benefits

January 14, 2016
Dave Stafford
A worker with myriad health complaints failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a district court’s decision denying him long-term Social Security disability benefits.
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Amended statute confuses trial court

January 12, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court misinterpreted an amended statute regarding power of attorney, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in giving a son the ability to look at his mother’s finances.
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Court erred in granting mom relief from dad’s Wyoming order

January 12, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indiana trial court erred when it granted a mother’s request for Trial Rule 60(B) relief from a Wyoming court order that reduced a father’s child support arrearage to zero.
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Man convicted in swordfight death loses PCR appeal

January 12, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of killing his great-uncle in a 2009 swordfight that also took the life of his grandmother failed Tuesday in his pro se post-conviction relief appeal.
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Employed physician fails to show hospital ‘blemished’ his reputation

January 12, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A central Indiana radiologist was not deprived of property when Tipton Hospital cancelled his medical privileges and the contract with his professional corporation, according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Justices swap woman’s name for initials in protective order case

January 7, 2016
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court granted a woman’s request Wednesday to redact her full name from a court decision involving a protective order obtained against her.
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COA affirms foreclosure of Crown Point property

December 31, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in granting a bank’s request to foreclose on a Crown Point, Indiana, business park, the Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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COA finds fired highway worker was at-will employee

December 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Echoing precedent, the Indiana Court of Appeals has found that an employee handbook is not an employment contract.
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Amendment to new criminal code foils attempt for sentence modification

December 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Vanderburgh County man hoping to benefit from Indiana’s overhaul of its criminal codes was instead reminded to read state statutes very carefully.
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COA affirms weapon charge after suspicious person call

December 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of Level 5 felony carrying a handgun without a license failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the weapon was seized from him as he walked down a country road.
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Trucker’s widow entitled to prejudgment interest, COA decides

December 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
The widow of a truck driver killed in an accident is entitled to collect more than $622,000 in prejudgment interest on a $6 million verdict, but is otherwise barred from an award of attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on rehearing Thursday.
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COA affirms judgment for law firm on malpractice claim

December 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
A law firm was properly granted summary judgment on a malpractice counter-complaint a bankruptcy client filed after the firm sued for nonpayment of legal fees.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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