Court opinions

Court OKs admission of tweets, reverses criminal gang activity conviction

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression regarding the authentication of social media posts, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the testimony from the defendant's girlfriend that the Twitter account belonged to her boyfriend, as well as content from that account, sufficiently showed the defendant was the author of its tweets.
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COA orders woman’s sentence revised to include credit time

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that a trial court incorrectly calculated the sentence a woman should serve in the Department of Correction after she had her probation revoked.
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Revised sentence modification statute not applicable in defendant’s case

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not err in denying a man’s petition to modify his sentence after finding that the current version of the sentencing modification statute is not applicable to his sentence, which he began serving in 1989. The Indiana Court of Appeals panel relied on a January decision by its colleagues to affirm the denial of Mitchell Swallows’ petition.
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Wiretap evidence properly admitted at murder trial

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's conviction of murdering his stepfather, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting wiretap evidence in which the defendant told a friend he was involved in the killing.
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Justices affirm upward deviation from child support guidelines

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not commit clear error when it deviated from the Indiana Child Support Guidelines by not granting a father the full parenting time credit calculated and allowed his ex-wife to claim their child each year on her taxes, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The justices also outlined the best practices to be used when a trial court conducts summary proceedings.
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Brothers’ murder convictions upheld by COA

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Two brothers convicted in the murder of a man with whom they previously had an altercation are not entitled to a new trial based on one juror's concerns for her safety after recognizing someone sitting in the gallery, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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COA affirms new trial on motorcyclist’s negligence claim

April 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it set aside a jury verdict allocating 70 percent of fault to a motorcyclist who hit a dog that darted in front of his bike, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The motorcyclist was injured in the accident and sued the dog's owners.
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Mother’s failure to timely contest adoption dooms appeal

April 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who failed to give notice to the court within 30 days after learning her child's stepmother sought to adopt the child could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that her due process was denied in the matter.
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Ex-Valpo attorney pleads guilty to wire fraud, money laundering

April 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
Former Valparaiso lawyer Clark Holesinger will plead guilty to federal wire fraud and money-laundering charges accusing him of stealing $2 million, according to an information announced Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Lawsuit against hip replacement maker to remain in Indiana

April 24, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit brought by 19 people in Virginia and Mississippi against Warsaw, Indiana-based DePuy Orthopaedics alleging injuries from a now-recalled hip implant will remain in Indiana over the medical manufacturer’s objections.
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Justices affirm LWOP sentence, admission of suicide note

April 24, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A southern Indiana man challenging his robbery and murder convictions and sentence to spend the rest of his life in prison lost his appeal before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday. The justices rejected the man’s claim that his sentence should be reduced to a term of years.
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Bank wins partial victory in suit stemming from overdraft fees

April 23, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A bank being sued by customers over how it orders transactions – allegedly to maximize profits from overdraft fees – is entitled to summary judgment on most of the state claims alleged by customers in a class-action lawsuit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Handgun properly admitted at juvenile’s hearing

April 23, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A handgun discarded by a teen after seeing a marked police car – and later picked up by the officer who saw the teen throw the gun into a yard – was properly admitted at his delinquency hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Advisory opinion issued about ex parte petitions for temporary custody

April 23, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications has issued an advisory opinion to judges in response to numerous ethical complaints about judges granting ex parte petitions for temporary custody in non-emergency cases or when there was no attempt to provide notice to the adverse party.
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Justices rule in favor of Anthem in excess insurance disputes

April 23, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Anthem Inc. is entitled to its costs of settling litigation in which the insurance giant was accused of improperly handling claims, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday. The reinsurance companies argued that coverage was barred based on the excess insurance policies.
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Court reverses convictions from robbery due to double jeopardy concerns

April 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Three of a man’s eight convictions stemming from his robbery of acquaintances were reversed or reduced because  the convictions or elevated classes were based on the same elements of the crime, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Attorney did not breach any duty owed to Conour clients

April 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis attorney who spent several years working in a firm with attorney William Conour satisfied his legal duty to clients of Conour based on his lack of knowledge of any specific wrongdoing by Conour related to the clients, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Conour is currently in federal prison for stealing from client settlement funds.
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COA tosses treble damages since access was not denied

April 21, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A feuding neighbor who twice entered the property next to hers to unplug a sump pump will not have to pay treble damages because the Indiana Court of Appeals found she did not commit criminal trespass.
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Appeals court affirms judgment for Valpo frat in student fight

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
A fraternity fight between two Valparaiso University students who had clashed before is not grounds to hold the local or national fraternities responsible for one of the student’s injuries.
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Possession of precursors ruled lesser-included offense of greater crime

April 21, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who fled his car and left a “Nazi method” methamphetamine lab behind for police to find was able to get part of his conviction overturned because officers did not find any of the actual illegal drug.
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Disbarment order details lawyer’s profane, intimidating rants

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
Suspended Fort Wayne attorney R. Mark Keaton for years left profanity-laced voicemails and emails that threatened and harassed his daughter’s college roommate with whom he had developed an intimate relationship a decade ago. He was disbarred Tuesday.
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Bankruptcy judge’s swearing-in ceremony Wednesday

April 21, 2015
IL Staff
Judge Jeffrey J. Graham of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana will be formally sworn in during a public ceremony at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Birch Bayh Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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Judge delays decision on NCAA concussion settlement

April 20, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A U.S. judge has declined to immediately approve the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s $75 million settlement of a lawsuit by college athletes who’ve suffered head injuries, giving a critic of the accord three weeks to file arguments opposing the revamped deal.
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Landscaper’s attorney fails to explain fee

April 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A landscaping company’s award for attorney fees has been sent back to small claims court for reconsideration after the business and the attorney failed to submit documentation supporting the fee amount.
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Judgment for Planned Parenthood stands, but not for minor’s ID provider

April 17, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman who gave her son’s 17-year-old girlfriend another person's ID and posed as her mother to help her obtain an abortion was not properly dismissed from a lawsuit brought by the pregnant girl’s mother, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana was proper, the court held.
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  1. 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)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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