Court opinions

7th Circuit: Ineffective assistance claim can’t challenge deportation

January 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
A legal permanent resident who argued pro se that ineffective assistance of legal counsel led to his deportation after he pleaded guilty to cocaine distribution failed to persuade the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate his claim that was dismissed by a federal court.
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College cook not erroneously denied unemployment benefits

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A cook at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to unemployment benefits for the summer of 2012.
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COA reverses treble damages in business deal gone bad

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in awarding treble damages to an Indiana man who entered into a business venture with a North Carolina couple that ended up costing him more than $1 million in money owed to him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday.
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Indiana has no jurisdiction in case of damaged boat

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a plaintiff’s claims that personal jurisdiction existed in Indiana over a Michigan company involved in a lawsuit about his damaged boat didn’t hold water.
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Woman did not breach duty to man injured while on property uninvited

January 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Summary judgment was properly awarded to the owner of lake-front residential property in a man’s lawsuit filed after he was seriously injured in a hammock accident while on her property uninvited, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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7th Circuit orders judge to reconsider sentence

January 8, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a limited remand in a drug case Tuesday after finding the lower court should have sentenced the defendant based on the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which took effect after his crimes were committed but before he was sentenced.
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Justices block gay marriage in Utah

January 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Supreme Court of the United States issued an order Monday stopping gay marriage in Utah. The justices stayed a permanent injunction that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
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Judges: 11-year-old conviction had little probative value

January 2, 2014
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday affirmed the decision by the District Court in Hammond preventing a defendant from using an 11-year-old conviction to impeach a testifying co-defendant in a wire fraud case.
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Can parents sue DCS? Yes, divided justices rule

January 1, 2014
Dave Stafford
A sharply divided Indiana Supreme Court decision that a family may sue the state’s child protection agency for negligence is sure to resonate within the Department of Child Services, attorneys familiar with the case said.
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Indiana Lawyer 2013 Year in Review

January 1, 2014
IL Staff
From big judgments to busy law schools and attorneys in trouble, the Indiana legal community saw it all in 2013. We asked you what you thought were the biggest news stories last year. Here's a recap of what made headlines, with your Top 2 picks kicking off the list.
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Man loses 2 appeals before Tax Court

December 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Carroll County man who owns agricultural property containing hog buildings couldn’t convince the Indiana Tax Court that the Indiana Board of Tax Review erred when it rejected four self-prepared analyses he offered as to what value his property should be assessed.
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Appeals panel affirms denial of post-conviction relief

December 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man seeking relief from his 2006 conviction of Class A felony dealing cocaine failed to persuade a panel of the Court of Appeals Tuesday that his 48-year sentence should be reduced.
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Fatal accident leads COA to examine boating statute

December 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A boat operator’s appeal of his convictions stemming from a fatal accident on Lake Monroe in 2010 split the Indiana Court of Appeals as to whether I.C. 14-15-4-1 is unconstitutional as applied.
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Torn Achilles tendon is not city’s fault, COA rules

December 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A state statute providing immunity to municipalities for 20-year-old public work projects absolved a southern Indiana city from liability for an injury a man incurred when he stepped off a curb and into a sewer drain.
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Panel dismisses contempt appeal as moot

December 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man held in contempt of court after a judge determined he threatened witnesses in his brother’s murder case had his appeal dismissed Tuesday.
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New Castle denied appellate legal fees in frivolous suit

December 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A New Castle couple doesn’t have to pay the city’s appellate legal fees in its appeal of a frivolous litigation ruling, but they still must pay New Castle’s legal bills for the trial court filing.
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IU pot-suspension appeal ‘near frivolous,’ 7th Circuit rules

December 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana University student’s appeal of his suspension after a large marijuana plant and other evidence of illegal drug use were discovered in his dorm room “is near frivolous,” a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Repeal of administrative code abolishes 3-year limit for filing petitions

December 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In a ruling that it conceded could “open the floodgates,” the Indiana Tax Court found neither state statute nor regulations provided any time limits for homeowners to file petitions to correct error on their property tax assessments.
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In monster-truck bankruptcy, courts errantly denied ex-wife’s claim

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
Federal Bankruptcy and District courts wrongly denied a woman’s claim against the estate of her ex-husband and business partner who owed her money after they divorced and unwound a monster-truck business for which she had lent money.
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COA affirms post-conviction relief for ineffective counsel

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who was convicted of multiple felonies related to a two-day instance of domestic violence in which he “terrorized” his girlfriend in their apartment will be resentenced on a lesser charge on one conviction.
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Appeals court affirms out-of-state placement of child with father

December 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A mother whose son was placed with his father in California after the Department of Child Services found her children to be children in need of services failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that the placement was erroneous or that the DCS didn’t make a reasonable effort to preserve the family.
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Judges rule couple did not release medical providers from liability

December 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court appropriately denied the partial summary judgment motion filed by medical providers in a malpractice claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals held, because the plaintiffs did not release the medical group from liability by filing a proof of claim with the doctor’s insurer, which was insolvent and being liquidated.
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COA: Deputy not justified in entering backyard

December 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A sheriff’s deputy who tried to serve a protective order was not justified in entering the backyard of a home after no one answered knocking at the front door, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The deputy saw marijuana in the backyard, leading to the homeowner’s arrest.
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Newburgh ordinance allows it to block town from providing sewer service

December 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Monday decided that the town of Newburgh was statutorily authorized to pass an ordinance prohibiting others from providing new sewer services to customers within four miles of its corporate boundaries.
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7th Circuit ‘astonished’ by denial of disability for man in ‘awful shape’

December 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judges of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday slapped down the denial of disability benefits for a man they said was among the most severely disabled applicants they had ever seen.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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