Court opinions

COA: Lifetime suspension of driving privileges is not a punishment

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that his lifetime suspension of driving privileges is cruel and unusual punishment, upholding the suspension. They held the suspension is not punitive.
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COA replaces opinion on post-conviction ruling with corrected version

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Acknowledging that the state is correct when it claims the Indiana Court of Appeals relied on the wrong Supreme Court decision in affirming the denial of a petition for post-conviction relief, the appellate court issued a new opinion Wednesday.
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Court prevents mother from relocating to Hawaii with daughter

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial court Wednesday that it is not in the best interests of a child to move to Hawaii with her mother and stepfather.
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7th Circuit rules for city on discrimination claims brought by black officers, firefighters

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the City of Indianapolis in two lawsuits brought by dozens of black police officers and firefighters over the examination process used by the city for promotions.
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Ruling prevents county from subrogating damages after courthouse fire

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday adopted the “majority approach” in a waiver of subrogation issue and concluded a southern Indiana county waived its right to subrogate any and all claims covered by its property insurance. Jefferson County sued contractors after its courthouse caught fire during renovations in 2009.
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Judges order injunction against enforcement of permit policy

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who wanted to protest a proposed United Nations arms treaty on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in 2012 but was kicked off the property because of a lack of permit was victorious in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
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COA affirms disability benefit for injured officer

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the statute is ambiguous, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the Indiana Public Retirement System’s longtime use of a formula to calculate the disability benefits of a police officer shot while in the line of duty to be reasonable.
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Evidence supports CHINS finding, COA affirms

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Based on evidence that a mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with her children’s fathers, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the determination that a woman’s two young children were children in need of services.
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Judges reduce restitution award stemming from correctional officer attack

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A partial permanent impairment settlement cannot be considered by a trial court when imposing restitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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7th Circuit: Man’s offense level for selling gun was properly increased

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the 60-month sentence imposed on a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a gun who sold the weapon to a man who was also prohibited from possessing a gun. The judges held that the District Court properly increased Darnell Jackson’s offense level because he committed separate offenses.
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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Court affirms 86-year-old uncle could consent to search

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his elderly uncle was a confused old man who was out of touch with reality and, therefore, unable to consent to a search of his home when police showed up looking to serve an arrest warrant. The search led to the arrest of the grandson on drug and weapons charges.
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Arguments rejected in juvenile molestation appeal

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An 11-year-old boy adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be Class B and Class C felony child molesting if committed by an adult failed to persuade a Court of Appeals panel Friday that statutes as applied to him are unconstitutionally vague and the evidence didn’t support a true finding.
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7th Circuit vacates child porn supervised-release condition

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a sentence for possession of child pornography Thursday that it ruled imposed an unconstitutionally vague condition of supervised release. The court affirmed, in the case, convictions of attempting to distribute heroin and illegal possession of a firearm.
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Man will receive surplus on sheriff’s sale credit bid

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals awarded a Grant County man nearly $375 after finding a surplus was owed to him when his property sold at a sheriff’s sale for more than what was calculated by the trial court based on an agreed judgment between the man and the bank.
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Judges rule in favor of daughter in payment dispute with nursing facility

January 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who signed a move-in agreement at a skilled nursing facility as a “responsible party/agent” for her mother was able to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals she should not be liable for money owed by her mother for care while at the facility.
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Judges affirm denial of credit time for man on electronic monitoring

January 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
After evaluating the statutory provisions concerning sentencing, electronic monitoring and deferral programs, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled it was within the trial court’s discretion to deny a man credit time toward his sentence for time he spent on electronic monitoring while participating in a drug court program.
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COA split over whether damages are punitive

January 29, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals released a divided opinion Wednesday on the issue of whether damages awarded under the Indiana Sales Representative Act are punitive in nature. The majority affirmed the trial court’s ruling that damages awarded under the Act would be subject to the evidentiary standard, limitation and diversion provisions of Indiana’s punitive damages statute.
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COA finds attorney was not ineffective

January 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel with respect to either the manner in which voir dire was conducted or in the failure to object to the supplemental jury instruction defining “intentionally.”
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Trial court erred in disregarding psychiatrists’ unanimous finding

January 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who brutally attacked her boyfriend’s minor child had her conviction overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the trial court did not have enough evidence to contradict the psychiatrists’ reports and find her guilty but mentally ill.
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Nicknames properly admitted in sex with minor convictions

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Nicknames and aliases a defendant used were relevant to the charges he faced, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming felony convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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Raccoon hunter cleared of conviction for fetching wayward dog

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A raccoon hunter’s misdemeanor conviction was reversed Tuesday when appellate judges determined he wasn’t hunting or chasing wildlife when he retrieved his wandering dog from property where he didn’t have permission to hunt.
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In pollution suit rehearing, COA rejects fresh arguments

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on rehearing a decision that the Allen County Public Library could pursue damages against contractors resulting from a diesel spill during a building project. A panel rejected arguments from defendants that it said violated a “cardinal rule” because they were raised for the first time on rehearing.
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7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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