Court opinions

Mental health statute limits state’s use of juvenile statements

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana’s Juvenile Mental Health Statute’s limited immunity prohibits both use and derivative use of a juvenile’s statements to prove delinquency, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled. The justices were able to come to the conclusion without addressing the question of the statute’s constitutionality.
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7th Circuit rejects lawsuit on insurer’s use of in-house counsel

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday agreed that a woman’s lawsuit against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. should be dismissed because state law creates no obligation for an insurer to provide advance notice to an insured that it uses in-house counsel to defend its policyholders.
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Judges affirm sniff search in hotel did not violate guest’s constitutional rights

March 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court properly admitted contraband seized from a woman’s hotel room into evidence, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday. One judge on the panel departed from his colleagues’ need to discuss that the officers’ search was justified because they acted in good faith.
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Miranda warning given during police interview makes confession admissible

March 11, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s confession made during a police interrogation is admissible because while officers questioned the defendant in what they called a “pre-interview,” they Mirandized him before he confessed.
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Small-claims hearsay letter properly admitted

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A dentist’s letter that said a man suing him had never complained about the service he received was not improperly admitted in a small-claims collections action, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Justices: Inmate will serve longer term for punching prison worker

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Department of Correction inmate serving a 17-year sentence was improperly given credit time that reduced his sentence for punching a prison worker in the face.
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Medmal claim sent via FedEx before deadline was timely filed

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice complaint was timely filed when an attorney delivered it to Federal Express a day before the statutory deadline, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, reversing lower court orders and remanding the complaint to the trial court.
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Information used to obtain search warrant splits Court of Appeals

March 10, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the statements from three individuals were hearsay and initially led law enforcement to enter the wrong apartment, a split Indiana Court of Appeals found, collectively, the information supported probable cause.
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Appeals court: Requests for modification don’t nullify foreclosure

March 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of a mortgage servicer despite the property owners’ attempts at modifying the mortgage.
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Divided Supreme Court reinstates parental termination order

March 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals impermissibly reversed termination of a father’s parental rights, a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Friday in reinstating a trial court order.
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Highway supervisor’s termination not subject to judicial review

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the decision by the Fayette County Board of Commissioners to not reappoint its county highway supervisor was a ministerial decision, the Indiana Supreme Court held it was not subject to judicial review.
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Judges order more proceedings in property distribution after divorce

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Citing inconsistencies and lack of information, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings to determine issues of spousal maintenance and distribution of the marital estate in a divorce case.
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COA: Buyer complied with notice statutes for obtaining tax deed

March 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the parties and trial court did not follow the established procedures to set aside a tax deed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the court erred in finding a buyer’s notices sent certified mail were statutorily deficient. The notices did not request return receipt.
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Judges order woman resentenced for health care fraud

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that a woman knowingly and voluntarily pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud, but it sent her case back to the District Court for resentencing. The District judge violated the ex post facto clause by sentencing her under the wrong version of the sentencing guidelines.
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ATF agent’s testimony supports gun conviction

March 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s weapons conviction Tuesday, ruling that the expert testimony of an agent of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives could be used to prove that a gun had crossed state lines.
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COA affirms cures imposed for title insurance company’s statutory violations

March 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found nothing wrong in the trial court’s decision to uphold the Indiana Department of Insurance’s order that found a title insurance company violated several statutes and outlined what the company must do to cure its violations.
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Couple not entitled to attorney fees under Crime Victims Relief Act

March 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that a Lake County couple who won a fraudulent misrepresentation judgment against the previous owners of the couple’s home are not entitled to certain fees under the Indiana Crime Victims Relief Act.
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COA: Trial court is wrong to order shareholders to pay attorney fees

March 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a case that stems from a failed transaction in 2000 to purchase an event-decorating company, the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the order that shareholders of a corporation are liable for attorney fees on a wrongful stop-payment claim.
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Appeals court denies man’s request to be removed from sex offender registry

February 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Using the “intents-effects” test, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed that the additional registration requirements imposed on a man on the sex offender registry after a 2006 change in the law do not amount to an impermissible ex post facto violation.
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COA affirms the voiding of $500,000 default judgment against American Legion post

February 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior court correctly set aside default judgment against an American Legion post after finding the method employed to serve process on the organization was not the best way to inform it of a woman’s lawsuit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of motion to suppress search of car

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an automobile passenger’s motion to suppress evidence found in the car during a traffic stop, which led to his eventual pleading guilty to a heroin offense. The judges found no error by the District judge in crediting the testimony of the police officer who pulled the vehicle over because he believed the speed it was traveling and distance to the car in front of it violated Indiana law.
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Judge orders Floyd County to pay Camm defense attorneys’ bills

February 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The dispute over trial expenses between the attorneys representing David Camm and Floyd County came closer to a resolution Wednesday with Judge Jonathan Dartt ordering the county auditor to pay about $140,000.
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Judges split over Fourth Amendment violation

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Two of the three judges on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel affirmed the suppression of marijuana and a pipe found on a man during a traffic stop, with the dissenting judge believing there was no infringement on the man’s Fourth Amendment rights.
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Mother’s appeal of termination of parental rights dismissed

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed a mother’s appeal from the order terminating her parental rights to her twins, ruling she forfeited her right to appeal because she failed to file a timely notice of appeal.
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Appellate court reinstates habitual traffic violator charge

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a trial court abused its discretion when it granted a man’s motion to dismiss a Class D felony operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator charge, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and ordered the charge reinstated.
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