Court opinions

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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COA finds trial court acted within its discretion when calculating father’s actual income

July 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A father’s messy financial statements do not prevent a trial court from doing its own calculations and increasing his weekly child support payments, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Undisputed will makes daughter’s appointment as special administrator improper

July 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Because the special administrator provision in the Indiana Code did not apply, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled the trial court did not abuse is discretion when it removed a special administrator of an estate without considering the state statute.
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Judges disagree on whether Rhode Island law applies in wrongful death case

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Court of Appeals judge dissented from her colleagues’ decision that Rhode Island law should apply in awarding a wrongful death settlement because she believed that the Rhode Island court would have found Indiana law applies.
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7th Circuit addresses 'khat' convictions for first time

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on many types of drug cases, but was presented with a new drug to consider for the first time: “khat,” a popular drug among the Somali community.
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Sex offender not eligible to participate in county diversion program

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a defendant’s petition for judicial review after he was denied placement by the court in the Vanderburgh County Forensic Diversion Program. The COA held that there was no final administrative decision for the court to review.
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‘Am I going to need an attorney?’ is not request for attorney, rules COA

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A suspect’s question during interrogation as to whether he’d need an attorney is not considered a request for an attorney, thus requiring police to stop interrogating him, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA orders court grant petition to set aside tax deed

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a trial court’s reasoning in denying a petition to set aside a tax deed that a county auditor was excused of the duties imposed under statute because compliance wouldn’t have resulted in a property owner actually receiving notice of a tax sale.
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7th Circuit: Attorney’s deficient performance prejudiced defendant

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that an appellate attorney opted for a “hopeless sufficiency challenge” instead of the obvious claim challenging the validity of an amended information that elevated a charge to murder, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial by the federal court of the man’s petition for writ of habeas corpus.
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COA: Police escort into home does not violate 4th Amendment

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday decided that a police officer’s refusal to allow a defendant to enter his or her residence without being accompanied by an officer until a search warrant has been obtained is a reasonable seizure that does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
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COA: Court must hold another hearing on custody

July 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court may refuse to approve a settlement agreement entered into by parents regarding custody of minor children, the Indiana Court of Appeals pointed out Tuesday, but in this case, the court erred by not granting the father’s motion for a continuance regarding his mental health evaluation.
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Appeals court orders more proceedings in pulley lawsuit

July 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the trial court shouldn’t have granted summary judgment in favor of a distributor on a buyer’s claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability regarding pulleys provided by the distributor, the Indiana Court of Appeals remanded to the trial court to take another look at the issue.
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Sewer district owed refund in easement dispute

July 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the White Circuit Court clerk to refund the thousands of dollars a sewer district overpaid in damages for easements on a couple’s property to construct sewers. The appellate court held that the trial court improperly admitted the court-appointed appraisal report.
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COA affirms second imposition of habitual-offender enhancement

July 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Tippecanoe County man whose sentence enhancement for being a habitual offender was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court – but later re-imposed after a retrial – was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his retrial was barred by res judicata.
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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. 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.

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