Court opinions

Indiana Supreme Court endorses new jury instructions for mentally ill defendants

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Although it affirmed the judgment of the post-conviction court in denying relief, the Indiana Supreme Court endorsed a change in jury instructions regarding mentally ill defendants.
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Tax court affirms classification of beneficiaries

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Hamilton County judge correctly classified beneficiaries as Class B and Class C transferees, subjecting them to higher taxes under Indiana’s inheritance tax, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Friday.
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Justices disapprove of consideration of community outrage when reviewing sentence

June 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a man’s 53-year sentence for battery and neglect of dependent convictions, but disagreed with the Court of Appeals’ reasoning for affirming the sentence.
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Thoroughbred rep loses appeal over license requirement

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A representative of a Thoroughbred horse owners and breeders organization was required to have a license from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission to participate in the group’s activities at the state’s pari-mutuel racetracks, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Justices: Center Township Small Claims court stays put

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
What’s been called the state’s busiest court will stay in the City-County Building in Indianapolis, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Friday, blocking the Center Township trustee’s bid to relocate the court to a location on Fall Creek Parkway.
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Appeals panel reverses summary judgment for insurer in hit-and-run

June 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Summary judgment in favor of an insurer should not have been granted in a hit-and-run case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The court reversed a Marion Superior Court order and held that the hit-and-run driver was uninsured as a matter of law.
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COA upholds termination of Bloomington high school teacher

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that substantial evidence supported the decision by the school board to end Bloomington High School South teacher Stephen Smith’s contract, and that the board followed proper procedures in canceling the contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s affirmation of the board’s decision.
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Court upholds Sturgis’ conviction for murder of son

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
St. Joseph County resident Jerry L. Sturgis Sr. lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that challenged convictions stemming from the beatings and abuse of three of his children, leading to the death of his 10-year-old son in 2011.
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Mother not denied due process by denial of motion for continuance

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother living in Florida was not denied due process when her motion to continue a termination hearing involving her three children, who were determined to be in need of services in Indiana, was denied by the Cass Circuit Court, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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COA orders new trial for man who represented himself

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a defendant did not knowingly or intelligently waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday ordered a new trial on strangulation and domestic battery charges.
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Nursing home can’t collect from estate under doctrine of necessaries

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Connersville nursing home can’t seek to collect on expenses for a patient after her death from the estate of her husband under the doctrine of necessaries, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the facility didn’t first seek to collect from the patient.
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US Supreme Court strikes down DOMA as unconstitutional

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
On its last day of the 2012 term, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its highly anticipated decisions involving same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage received a victory from the court when the majority struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.
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COA reaffirms separate convictions for check theft not warranted

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s petition for rehearing in a case in which the defendant stole checks from a man’s mailbox, but affirmed its original decision that the taking of the checks and what the defendant did with them constituted a single continuing act of theft.
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Judge: School corp.’s inattentiveness doesn’t support benefits reversal

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split Wednesday over whether a notice sent regarding a hearing on unemployment benefits required reversing the grant of benefits because the employer found the notice confusing.
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US Supreme Court: DOMA unconstitutional; finds lack of standing to appeal in Perry

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday in a 5-4 decision that is confined to only those in lawful marriages. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy authored the majority decision, writing the Act is a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
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Justices slam agreement to no parenting time, no child support

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court had harsh words Tuesday for parents and attorneys who enter into agreements that stipulate giving up parenting time in lieu of paying child support. There must be extraordinary circumstances to justify denying parenting time.
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SCOTUS strikes portion of Voting Rights Act; will hand down term’s final decisions Wednesday

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Supreme Court of the United States held Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional Tuesday, ruling that its formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdictions to pre-clearance. The case stems from Shelby County in Alabama asking for a declaratory judgment that sections 4(b) and 5 are facially unconstitutional and a permanent injunction against their enforcement.
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Resisting law enforcement conviction reduced due to double jeopardy violation

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court “clearly erred” when it found a man’s trial attorney did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The judges ordered the court to reduce Timmy Zieman’s Class C felony resisting law enforcement conviction to a Class D felony because of a violation of double jeopardy principles.
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Refusal to remove biased board member ends potential administrative remedies

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After finding that the exhaustion of administrative remedies was excused for a company seeking to operate a stone quarry because a drainage board member was biased against the project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the trial court acquired subject matter jurisdiction and properly denied the board member’s motion to dismiss.
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Supreme Court kicks ‘buyer beware’ vs. disclosure case back to trial court

June 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Lake County dispute over whether a buyer or seller is responsible for a few thousand dollars worth of home defects is headed back to the trial court after a divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a legal do-over.
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Justices reverse rule of law going back to Civil War era

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After requiring for nearly 150 years that a defendant charged with murder or treason be required to prove he or she is entitled to bail, a divided Indiana Supreme Court ruled it now falls upon the state to show that “the proof is evident or the presumption strong” that the defendant is guilty and not entitled to bail.
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Evidence supports felony inmate fraud conviction

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a defendant obtained a future interest in bail money as well as his release from prison – which constitute property under Indiana law – the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Elnesto Ray Valle’s Class C felony inmate fraud conviction. Valle convinced a stranger to pay his bail.
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Justices: Officer had reasonable suspicion window tint violated law

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the denial of a defendant’s motion to suppress cocaine found on him after his car was stopped by police on the belief the car’s window tint did not comply with Indiana statute. The justices found the officer had reasonable suspicion that the tint was in violation of the Window Tint Statute.
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Sex Offender Registration Act not ex post facto as applied to Perry County man

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a petition to remove a convicted child molester from the sex offender registry, finding the Sex Offender Registration Act is non-punitive as applied to him.
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SCOTUS sends affirmative-action case back to 5th Circuit

June 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit claiming that a Texas university's consideration of race in its admissions practices violates the Equal Protection Clause has been sent back by the Supreme Court of the United States to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In its ruling on the suit filed by a Caucasian woman denied admission in 2008, the justices did not strike down the use of affirmative action by the university.
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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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