Court opinions

Judges affirm Indiana retailer owes Levi’s $315,000 after violating policies

October 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana company that operates a website selling jeans must pay Levi Strauss North America more than $315,000 after the company violated Levi’s Internet policies for distributors.
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Judges reject property owner’s interpretation of tax sale statute

October 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the purchaser of property in a tax sale substantially complied with the statutory requirement that the owner of record is notified about the buyer’s intent to petition for a tax deed.
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COA affirms seizure of gun from apartment without search warrant

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a man’s misdemeanor handgun charge after finding the police did not need a search warrant to retrieve the gun after the man placed it inside an apartment in view of the officers.
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COA: Bank should be allowed to intervene in foreclosure matter

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of JPMorgan Chase Bank’s motion to intervene in a homeowners association’s attempt to foreclose on a home to fulfill a judgment. The COA found that the bank did not have actual notice of a pending action against the homeowner in 2007, as the association argued.
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COA: Gas station did not commit spoliation regarding mat

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s decision to not instruct a jury in a personal injury action regarding the spoliation of evidence. Margaret Dawson, the injured party, had ample time to inspect the mat she tripped on before the store replaced it.
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Majority reverses termination of incarcerated father’s parental rights

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the state did not prove that the parental rights of a man – who learned he was a father while incarcerated pending trial – should be terminated, two of the three judges on a Court of Appeals panel reversed.
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Judges say Circuit split requires clarification from sentencing commission

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of judges on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s 117-month prison sentence on drug and weapons charges, but two judges believed the case should have been heard en banc based on the importance of a sentencing issue.
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Court reverses $1,660 attorney fee award in parenting time action

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because there is nothing in the record to show the court considered the resources of the parties when it awarded a guardian $1,660 in attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Wednesday.
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Daughter’s cheating negates father’s obligation to pay for college

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the “F” a Purdue University student received after her teacher discovered the student plagiarized comments from other students amounted to disciplinary action from the school, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the decision that her father no longer had to pay a portion of her school expenses based on a previous court order.
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Officers’ entry into home to chase bloodied dog unreasonable, justices rule

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that drug evidence obtained by police after they entered a home without a warrant to capture an aggressive dog should not have been admitted at the defendant’s trial. The justices held the search violated Article I, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Split COA reverses denial of post-conviction relief

October 21, 2014
Dave Stafford
A defense attorney’s failure to raise the consecutive sentencing limitation prejudiced his client, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel ruled, reversing denial of post-conviction relief for a man convicted of multiple burglaries. The court remanded for resentencing to trim six years off a 28-year prison term.
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Error in admitting drug conviction was harmless, 7th Circuit rules

October 20, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a witness’s changed testimony did not open the door wide enough to allow the introduction of a defendant’s prior drug record, the prosecution’s case was still substantial without the improper evidence so the defendant’s federal conviction will stand.
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Justices uphold fired DWD employee’s ban from executive branch employment

October 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A fired Indiana Department of Workforce Development employee who argued that she shouldn’t be sanctioned and barred from future executive branch employment because of her misuse of state property lost her appeal before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday.
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Justices affirm denial of Crime Victims Relief Act liability

October 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a trial court’s decision to not impose Crime Victims Relief Act liability on a couple who sold their home knowing it had defects. And although the Indiana Court of Appeals also affirmed, Chief Justice Loretta Rush pointed out the high court has different reasons for leaving the trial court’s judgment in place.
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‘Common sense’ requires ruling in favor of inmate, judge says

October 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed judgment in favor of jail officials on an inmate’s complaint that he was denied medical access while in jail. The judges did not agree with the magistrate judge’s decision that Randy Swisher had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by not filing a written grievance.
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Judges affirm denial of child molester's PCR petition

October 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that it did have jurisdiction to hear a prisoner’s petition for post-conviction relief that was filed 31 days after the trial court denied him relief. But the man was unsuccessful before the appellate court.
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Appeals court revives inverse condemnation claim

October 10, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who sued after town and county officials worked on a drainage project on her property without her permission will be able to present her claim for inverse condemnation. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of that claim in her lawsuit against officials but affirmed she acted too late to present a trespass claim.
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Judges uphold convictions for death of child at unlicensed home daycare

October 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The state presented sufficient evidence that a Hamilton County woman operated a child care home under the law, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday in affirming her convictions related to a death of a child while in her care.
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Humvee maker wins $27.9M judgment against supplier

October 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
A supplier of armored doors for Humvees made for the military overcharged the manufacturer, a federal judge ruled Monday, awarding South Bend-based AM General LLC a $27.9 million judgment.
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Evidence doesn’t show existence of family housing complex at time of crime

October 8, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s Class A felony conviction for dealing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex because the state didn’t prove the complex qualified as family housing under the law at the time of the offense.
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Keeping death certification accessible is 'victory for the public'

October 8, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Both the Hoosier State Press Association and the Indiana attorney general are applauding the Indiana Supreme Court’s ruling Tuesday that cause of death information is public.
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Officer's meth-exposure claims untangled by appeals court

October 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals rules an injured city policeman must exhaust workers' comp remedies before turning to the injured-on-duty statute.
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Unanimous Supreme Court holds death certificates are public records

October 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Taking what it called a “plain reading” of the state statute, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled death certificates which include the cause of death are public records and should be available to anyone who requests access.
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7th Circuit rules against insurer in jurisdiction dispute

October 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal court judgment in favor of an insurer after the insurer’s motion to intervene in a state court lawsuit on the same matter was denied. The federal court incorrectly determined the state court did not have jurisdiction over an injured worker’s lawsuit.
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Mother loses custody after COA rules trial court had jurisdiction

October 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A mother’s argument that the trial court did not have jurisdiction to grant full custody of her daughter to the girl’s father did not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals, which found an agreement between the parents gave the court jurisdiction.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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