Court opinions

COA rejects claim overhaul of Criminal Code shows Class A felonies disproportionate

November 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant attempted to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that the Class A felony classifications for dealing or possession of cocaine are disproportionate by pointing to the recent revisions to the Criminal Code. The new criminal classifications and sentencing structure that take effect next year no longer include these crimes in the highest level of felonies.
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Woman’s 35-year sentence upheld following death of stepson

November 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior judge did not abuse her discretion in sentencing a woman to 35 years for neglect of a dependent after the woman’s stepson died following years of abuse.
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Unemployment checks no longer part of summer break, COA rules

November 5, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding that an addition to the state’s statute did not change the intent of the law, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that school bus drivers in Anderson were rightly denied their unemployment checks.
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Court of Appeals cites snail mail as reason for overturning summary judgment

November 5, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
While neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will keep the U.S. Postal Service from its appointed rounds, the Indiana Court of Appeals reminded a lower court that trial rules allow for three extra days when motions are sent by mail.
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‘Marijuana legal elsewhere’ claim no help in parental termination appeal

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Termination of parental rights was properly granted for a molesting father in federal prison and a drug-using mother who failed to comply with court-ordered services after striking a child.
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Trial court errantly suppressed DUI evidence

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior Court should not have suppressed evidence of intoxication of a man who was taken to a roll-call station on suspicion of drunken driving, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Post-conviction claim allowed in DOC placement change

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Offenders may seek post-conviction relief from Department of Correction placement changes, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday after the state revised its view that a claim should be dismissed.
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Appeals court affirms revoked probation after test shows marijuana

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man ordered to serve 90 days of a suspended one-year sentence for a conviction of misdemeanor marijuana possession wasn’t denied due process when his probation officer admitted evidence of a positive urinalysis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Justices reverse custody modification but order status quo to continue, for now

November 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The laws in place to protect children caught in the middle of a custody battle were ignored by a St. Joseph Superior Court, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, pointing to a change in custody despite a lack of a proper evidentiary hearing.
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Service-animal suit against Evansville schools proceeds

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act after Evansville schools adopted a policy restricting the use of service animals will proceed.
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Aye Chihuahua! Dog’s domain remains Indiana, appeals court rules

November 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Sofie, the black-and-white Chihuahua-rat terrier mix, stays in Indiana, the Court of Appeals affirmed in a canine custody challenge.
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Rehearing on double-jeopardy appeal leads to same conclusion

November 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel was unmoved by a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision, and the appellate panel reaffirmed that a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor should not be dismissed against a defendant acquitted of rape based on the same incident.
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Former university soccer coach’s lawsuit after charges dropped fails

November 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court Monday that a lawsuit brought by a former soccer coach at Oakland City University against an arresting officer should be dismissed for being time-barred. Christian Serino alleged his constitutional rights were violated and multiple state-law torts were committed after trespass and resisting law enforcement charges against him were dropped.
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Retailer properly terminated lease, COA rules in reversal

November 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A retail chain that closed an underperforming store in a Hendricks County shopping center had a contractual right to do so under its lease, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in reversing a judgment in favor of the plaza owner.
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SCOTUS to hear Indiana steelworkers’ case Monday

November 1, 2013
Dave Stafford
This question arising in an Indiana labor case will be before the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday: What does “changing clothes” mean?
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Tax Court lets owners’ appeal go forward in alleged ‘puppy mill’ case

November 1, 2013
Dave Stafford
The former owners of an alleged puppy mill in Harrison County may pursue their claim that because the state overreached in using jeopardy tax warrants to seize their animals and property, they are entitled to a refund of the value of the taken property.
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State can’t keep interest earned on unclaimed property

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Thursday with an Indiana woman acting as guardian for a relative that the state can’t retain the interest earned on unclaimed property once the owner files a valid claim to the property. Katherine Cerajeski argued that action by the state is a taking that violates the takings clause in the Constitution because the owner is paid nothing for his lost interest.
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7th Circuit splits over Marion County Small Claims debt collection suit

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Are Marion County Township courts “judicial districts” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, thus allowing a man to sue a debt collector for bringing an action in an inconvenient township court? Depends on who you ask on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, as the majority ruled in favor of the debt collector Thursday.
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Appeals panel rules former same-sex partner has standing to seek visitation

October 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A former same-sex domestic partner of a woman who gave birth to a child has standing to seek visitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, reversing a trial court in an opinion begging lawmakers to speak to the rights of same-sex couples in parenting disputes.
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Justices clarify sentencing order on remand

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted a man’s petition for rehearing regarding his sentencing order, but again rejected his claim that concurrent sentences are required.
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Man arrested for public intox at gas station has conviction reversed

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the language of the recently amended statute defining public intoxication, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s conviction due to lack of evidence that he endangered his life or the life of someone else.
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COA decides not to take video recording issue on interlocutory appeal

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday decided that it was improper for it to accept a man’s appeal of his motion seeking to exclude video recordings of video files found on his phone. The judges accordingly dismissed David Wise’s appeal.
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Woman’s convictions did not subject her to double jeopardy

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who attempted to shoplift from an Indianapolis K-Mart was not subject to double jeopardy when she was convicted of resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct. She argued the court could have based the convictions on identical facts.
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School corporation sued by attacked students wins on appeal

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A student who filed a lawsuit against his school corporation after he was assaulted by a fellow student while a teacher was in the hallway lost his negligence case on appeal Thursday. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the school.
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COA reverses drug conviction due to lack of intent

October 31, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state did not have sufficient evidence to convict a man of possession of cocaine under the intent prong of constructive possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As a result, the judges reversed the defendant’s drug conviction.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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