Court opinions

Justices reinstate conviction divided COA reversed

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a man’s misdemeanor failure to identify conviction that had been reversed by a divided panel of the Court of Appeals.
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Reversal: Kroger must face claim for filling script in wrongful death case

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
Kroger must face a claim that its potential negligence in filling a prescription contributed to the death of a woman after she sought treatment for acute bronchitis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a reversal.
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Split COA tosses robbery convictions pegged to cellphone data

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that cellphone users have a reasonable expectation to the privacy of their location information that’s tracked and collected by phone service providers. The majority’s holding reversed armed robbery convictions of an Ohio man found guilty of holding up two Dearborn County liquor stores.
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Judges divided over sentence review under Appellate Rule 7(B)

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The majority on a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals declared Tuesday that Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) requires only that the court “consider” the nature of the offense and the offender’s character, not that the defendant necessarily prove both of those prongs. This led to a separate opinion calling the decision “significant.”
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Statute, plea agreement do not preclude converting felony to misdemeanor

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision to reduce a man’s Class D felony conviction following a guilty plea to theft in 2000 to a Class A misdemeanor 15 years later.
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COA: investors owed reimbursement

July 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a reversal in the Indiana Court of Appeals handed an investment firm a reimbursement, the amount of funds to be returned is unknown since the trial court was left to figure the sum.
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Court affirms suppression of drug evidence found in jail strip search

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court correctly granted the motion of a man arrested in Marion County to suppress drug evidence found in his buttocks after he was stripped search as a result of a misdemeanor battery charge, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA finds double jeopardy requires vacating criminal recklessness conviction

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide which of a man’s two convictions that violated double jeopardy prohibitions to vacate, and determined that his Level 6 felony criminal recklessness conviction should be vacated because it has the less severe penal consequence.
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Mother to be sanctioned for willfully denying parenting time

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A mother that has prevented her son from seeing his father since 2009 and purposefully disobeyed parenting time orders and contempt orders must be sanctioned, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA: Trial Rule 41(E) requires hearing on PCR petition

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court should have followed Indiana Trial Rule 41(E) and held a hearing before dismissing an inmate’s petition for post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Court orders reconsideration of petition for credit time

July 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Because the post-conviction court denied an inmate’s petition for credit time without considering whether he had exhausted administrative remedies, the Indiana Court of Appeals sent the case back for reconsideration.
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Offender on parole gets probation revocation reversed

July 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Even though he violated the terms of his probation, an offender should not have been ordered back to jail because at his release Indiana Department of Correction made a mistake and put him on parole.
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COA upholds convictions of man who targeted Burmese

July 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
An Alabama man was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was not behind several attacks on members of the Burmese community in Indianapolis two years ago. The judges affirmed Danny Cherry’s 80-year sentence for various crimes, including attempted murder.
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7th Circuit remands disability benefits denial

July 27, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found an administrative law judge had improperly cherry picked a man’s medical record and reversed the denial of his disability benefits.
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COA reduces rapist’s sentence by 10 years

July 26, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an offender was successful in asserting the trial court erred in merging his sentences and applying an enhancement, he failed to respond to the state’s arguments for remedy which provided just a 10-year reduction to his 90-year aggregate sentence.
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Man loses appeal over search that led to cocaine charges

July 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man on trial for Class A felony counts of dealing cocaine and conspiracy to deal cocaine lost his appeal Tuesday seeking to suppress evidence found in a search of his car.
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Justices rule State Farm UIM policy ambiguous

July 26, 2016
Dave Stafford
A State Farm auto insurance policy’s language regarding uninsured motorist coverage is ambiguous, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, affirming a Lake Superior trial court’s denial of the insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a personal injury case.
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Man’s resisting conviction after domestic violence call reversed

July 25, 2016
Dave Stafford
Police responding to a domestic violence call weren’t legally exercising their duties when they entered the alleged perpetrator’s house without his consent, used a Taser on him and charged him with resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Farmers win reversal in drainage appeal against town

July 25, 2016
Dave Stafford
Montgomery County farmers who claimed work done by a town to improve its stormwater drainage ruined their acreage won reversal Monday of a trial court ruling against them.
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Elkhart teacher loses age-discrimination appeal

July 25, 2016
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected an appeal of an Elkhart teacher who claimed the school system discriminated against her on the basis of her race and age in denying her 12 different promotions over a span of eight years.
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COA admonishes prosecutor’s misconduct, doesn’t reverse conviction

July 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
A prosecutor’s suggestion to the jury during an attempted rape trial that a defense attorney influenced a witness was misconduct, but not sufficient to warrant reversal of the defendant’s conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. But the court also called out the prosecutor and warned him.
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Reversal: HHGregg prevails in appeal over managers’ bonuses

July 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
HHGregg senior managers are not entitled to share in $40 million in life insurance proceeds from the 2012 death of executive chairman of the board Jerry Throgmartin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday, reversing a trial court ruling in the managers’ favor.
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Wal-Mart shoplifter’s resisting conviction affirmed

July 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who fled from police and later was arrested after he and another man had been spotted allegedly shoplifting from a Lafayette Wal-Mart store was properly convicted of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA tosses feticide conviction, says statute doesn’t apply to self abortion

July 22, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Legislature did not intend for the state’s feticide statute to apply to pregnant women or illegal abortions, including the one a northern Indiana woman executed by taking drugs ordered from Hong Kong, the Court of Appeals held Friday.
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COA upholds mother’s neglect conviction for causing son’s health issues

July 21, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals, acknowledging differing expert testimony in a mother’s neglect of a dependent case, declined to reweigh the evidence and upheld her Class B felony conviction.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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