Court opinions

Justices reinstate COA decision in Simon defamation suit

May 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals opinion reversing a Marion Superior judge’s denial of a California attorney’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Herbert Simon will stand. The state’s highest court split evenly over whether the trial court should have denied that motion.
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Easterbrook: 7th Circuit 'nation's leader' in productivity

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals presented his final State of the Circuit address during the Circuit conference this month in Indianapolis, describing the federal appellate court for Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin as perhaps the nation’s most industrious.
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Supreme Court’s ruling for Monsanto described as good decision

May 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Supreme Court of the United States decision upholding the patent owned by Monsanto Co. was surprising only in its unanimous affirmation.
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Juvenile reversal sets new conditional admissions standard

May 21, 2013
Dave Stafford

A Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday reversed a ruling in a juvenile case and set a new standard for how juvenile judges must handle conditional admission agreements when probable cause is disputed.

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'Pleading the Fifth' not the same as admitting to criminal act

May 20, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A reference made during a trial to “pleading the Fifth” is not an admission of a crime and, therefore, by itself is not grounds for a mistrial, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Lengthy gun sentence affirmed in 2011 hotel standoff

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal prison sentence of more than 33 years was upheld Monday for a career criminal convicted of leading police on a chase, assaulting an officer until he lost consciousness and staging an armed, four-hour standoff at an Indianapolis hotel in August 2011.
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Court rules county may re-establish hospital building fund

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Jasper County was improperly denied the ability to establish a cumulative building fund and tax levy to enlarge and remodel a hospital, the Indiana Tax Court ruled.
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7th Circuit orders resentencing, muses ‘wine speaks truth’ in felon gun case

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart felon’s defense that he was drunk at the time he told police that guns they confiscated from his girlfriend’s apartment belonged to him failed to sway the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which did find another error and order him to be resentenced.
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Class A felony sentences not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B)

May 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Two convicted child molesters will spend more time incarcerated after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled their sentences were not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B).
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Justices block Schiralli’s Lake County bench transfer

May 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court blocked the transfer of a judge who sought to replace former Lake Superior Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura after her appointment to head the Department of Child Services.
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Bailiff’s communication with juror leads to reversal of convictions

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The bailiff at a man’s trial for criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement improperly communicated with the jury foreperson regarding reaching a verdict, leading the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse Jason Lee Sowers’ convictions.
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COA: Man knowingly pleaded guilty to fraud charge

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court correctly denied relief to a man on his felony fraud conviction after determining that his felony failure to register conviction should be vacated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Anthony McCullough pleaded guilty to the separate charges in one agreement.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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Justices rule in favor of Vincennes Girl Scouts in dispute over camp

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 32-17-10-2 is unconstitutional as applied retroactively to a land-use restriction in a Vincennes Girl Scout organization’s deed requiring an Illinois Girl Scout group to use deeded land as a camp for 49 years.
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Justices: Punitive damages cap, allocation do not violate Indiana Constitution

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Marion Superior judge’s 2011 decision in a sex-abuse case that held the statutes that cap punitive damages and dictate their allocation violate the Indiana Constitution.
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Father’s testimony at molestation trial not fundamental error

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Lake County man’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting, rejecting the defendant’s claims that some of the victim’s father’s testimony at trial resulted in fundamental error.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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SCOTUS rules against Indiana farmer in seed patent case

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A unanimous Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that patent exhaustion doesn’t allow a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission.
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Man’s prior conviction doesn’t render him a career offender

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s habeas petition, finding his conviction of arson in the third degree in Delaware doesn’t qualify as a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. Section 4B.1. As such, his current sentence should be reduced to reflect he isn’t a career offender.
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State not trying to circumvent adverse ruling in refiling charges

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s felony cocaine dealing conviction, finding the state, when originally dismissing charges and then later refiling them, was not trying to avoid an adverse ruling that barred testimony of a confidential informant.
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Denial of post-conviction relief upheld by COA

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even if the Indiana Court of Appeals was to assume that a defendant’s trial counsel performed below prevailing professional norms by not explaining the potential immigration consequences of his guilty plea, the judges ruled the defendant wasn’t prejudiced because the trial court explained those consequences.
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COA to trial judges: enter restitution orders at sentencing

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals sent a case in ‘procedural limbo’ back to trial court to enter a restitution order within 30 days, which will allow the defendant to appeal his aggravated battery conviction. The appellate judges also advised trial courts on the pitfalls of postponing ordering restitution when ordering a sentence.
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Woman who used FedEx to send med mal complaint didn’t timely file

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Third-party carriers are not included in the statute regarding filing proposed medical malpractice complaints with the Indiana Department of Insurance, so a woman’s complaint that was sent via FedEx within the two-year statute of limitations – but not stamped until after the limitations expired – is not considered timely filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges reverse teen’s gang-related adjudication

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state was unable to prove that a 14-year-old Indianapolis boy committed criminal gang activity when he and several other juveniles followed another teen after a party, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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