Court opinions

7th Circuit remands denial of request for crack cocaine sentence reduction

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for his role as a Gary gang member who sold large quantities of crack cocaine will have a new shot at a sentence modification, as will the judge who wrote that the defendant may have been linked to several gang-related murders.
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COA tosses in absentia conviction of Army private

July 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A 20-year-old U.S. Army private had his conviction for underage drinking overturned because Hendricks Superior Court denied his motion for a continuance and held the trial while he was deployed in Afghanistan.
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Insurance dispute divides Court of Appeals

July 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A split Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s finding that a landlord was not covered by the tenant’s insurance policy.
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Order to demolish home reversed by Court of Appeals

July 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A couple whose lakeside house was built at a different elevation than specified in the site development plan will not be able to call the wrecking crew yet.
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Requiring deaf mom to sign doesn’t violate due process

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother whose parental rights were terminated was not denied due process when a judge who couldn’t understand her spoken testimony required her to sign to an interpreter who then spoke her responses aloud.
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Court affirms judgment for NIPSCO in easement dispute

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court was correct in awarding a northern Indiana utility company $245,858 for the cost of reconstructing power lines on a new easement after prior owners had mined sand on the prior easement, making servicing poles difficult.
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Court affirms denial of post-conviction relief

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County man twice convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison on drug convictions was not improperly denied post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Denial of summary judgment affirmed in wrongful death case

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A doctor and a South Bend healthcare facility must stand trial on a wrongful death claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday, affirming a trial court’s denial of summary judgment.
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Deputy’s ‘playful’ groin shot not cause for termination, COA affirms

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A longtime Bartholomew County merit deputy disciplined after he “playfully shot a fellow officer in the groin with non-lethal training ammunition” was not fired for cause, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in affirming an administrative law judge’s determination the deputy was entitled to unemployment benefits.
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Police questioning gets conviction booted a second time

July 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The child molesting conviction of a Lafayette man has again been overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals because of problems with statements he made to police.
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Court allows education board lawsuit to proceed

July 29, 2014
 Associated Press
A Marion County judge has cleared the way for a lawsuit to proceed against members of the State Board of Education that alleges public access violations.
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Warrantless search based on smell does not violated 4th Amendment

July 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite the absence of danger to the public, the strong odor of raw marijuana provided the probable cause a police officer needed to conduct a warrantless search.
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COA rules grandparent visitation order prejudiced father

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A father who asked the trial court for a continuance to hire a lawyer after he realized his child’s grandparents had hired an attorney was prejudiced when the request was denied, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Prisoner wins right to recruit counsel in federal civil suit

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A prisoner was improperly denied counsel to help with discovery in his federal lawsuit that claimed a medical provider was deliberately indifferent to glaucoma that ultimately required removal of part of his eye.
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7th Circuit rejects prisoner’s ineffective assistance appeal

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of attempted murder failed to convince a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that he suffered sufficient prejudice to warrant relief from a 90-year sentence imposed after a brutal crime.
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7th Circuit affirms dismissal of Indianapolis wrongful arrest suit

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A plaintiff who judges say took a “kitchen sink” approach to litigation over an alleged wrongful arrest failed to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a federal judge in Indianapolis improperly dismissed most of her complaint.
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Court rules stun gun is deadly weapon under battery statute

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The battery with a deadly weapon conviction of a man who attacked a resident manager at a Noblesville trailer park with a metal pipe and a stun gun was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday.
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Non life-threatening injury gets aggravated battery conviction reversed

July 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant who shot at a car with a semiautomatic rifle, causing a bullet to graze the driver, did not commit Class B felony aggravated battery because the injury inflicted upon the victim did not create a substantial risk of death.
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Employee's auto accident on way home from business meeting not company's fault

July 25, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A company whose employee hit and killed another motorist after having dinner and drinks with a client is not liable because the employee was “going and coming” from work when the tragedy occurred, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA reverses ruling against Carmel in building dispute

July 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Carmel couple who successfully sued the city that at first permitted construction of an accessory building that neighbors later complained was taller than zoning codes allowed lost Friday at the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Additional public defender fees without hearing affirmed

July 25, 2014
A man who appealed a court order that he pay fees in excess of the statutory public defender fee capped at $100 lost his appeal, though one judge said the trial court must hold a hearing on the defendant’s ability to pay.
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Woman’s burglary conspiracy conviction affirmed

July 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday affirmed the conviction of a correctional officer who played a role in arranging the burglary of a safe from a friend’s home.
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Supreme Court lets lawyer’s suit against Duke Realty proceed

July 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court summarily affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling that a jury should decide whether a real estate company intentionally induced a law firm to terminate an attorney’s partnership agreement as the result of a dispute over a land agreement.
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Appeals court affirms denial of post-conviction relief

July 25, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who was represented by a law student at his guilty plea hearing and claimed he received ineffective assistance of counsel could not persuade a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse a denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.
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Summary judgment proper on issue of causation, COA rules

July 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment in favor of a doctor sued by a patient who claimed a delay in a diagnosis caused him to have increased pain and problems. The evidence doesn’t establish a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of causation.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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