Court opinions

COA orders new trial for woman who shot and killed pastor

February 17, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a guilty but mentally ill verdict against an Indianapolis woman who killed the pastor at her church because she believed he was part of a cartel that was pitted against her. The judges held Lori Ann Barcroft’s due process rights were violated when the judge entered that verdict.
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Tanker trailer manufacturer not entitled to sales tax refund on rehabbed tankers

February 17, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Delphi company that makes cryogenic tanker trailers as well as repairs and rehabilitates used ones could not convince the Indiana Tax Court that it should be entitled to a refund on the utilities it used to rehab used tankers.
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Enhancement affirmed after man exaggerated mental deficits to delay trial

February 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a defendant has a mental disorder, he tried to exaggerate his mental deficits in order to delay or prevent a criminal trial on a bank robbery charge. The federal court saw through his act and enhanced his sentence for obstruction of justice, which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Friday in a case of first impression.
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Counterclaims against bank dismissed for failure to state actionable claim

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the decision to dismiss a woman’s counterclaims against her mortgage holder after it sought to foreclose on her home. None of her claims, which stemmed from the denial of modifying her mortgage under a new program, stated an actionable claim.
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COA affirms admission of re-recorded videos in rape trial

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man convicted of raping his wife after drugging her – and recording several sexual encounters – could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the wife’s recordings of the videos she found on her husband’s cellphone should not have been admitted at his trial.
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Defendant waived right to confront victim by not attending Skype deposition

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s rights under the Indiana Constitution were not violated when the state admitted his victim’s deposition acquired through Skype because the man chose not to be present during the deposition, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA declines to rule on motion to compel due to lack of cogent argument

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A couple awarded more than $7,600 following a car accident did not provide cogent argument or legal authority to support their claim a trial court erred in denying their motion to compel, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Order to pay for rescued animals’ treatment OK under general restitution statute

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because a Perry County woman relinquished her three neglected horses to a local rescue organization, she cannot be ordered to pay restitution based on the animal cruelty statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. But the general restitution statute supports the trial court order Julie Bickford pay nearly $700 in restitution.
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COA affirms denial of plaintiff’s request for deposition fee reimbursement

February 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A doctor named as a defendant in a malpractice lawsuit was not required to pay more than $2,000 toward the deposition fees of the plaintiff’s expert, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA upholds intimidation conviction of man participating in fake robbery

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A staged robbery between two friends to cover up stolen funds from an employer took an unexpected turn when a good Samaritan tried to catch the supposed robber. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the defendant’s intimidation conviction for pulling a knife on the good Samaritan during a chase.
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Failure to file board record dooms claim for judicial review

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A company that did not file the board record or request an extension of time to file the record within 30 days as required by the applicable judicial review statute should not have been allowed to proceed with its request for judicial review, the Indiana Court of Appeals held. The judges reversed the denial of the town of Pittsboro’s request to dismiss Ark Park LLC’s claims.
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Denial of witness testimony was harmless error, COA rules

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court abused its discretion when it did not allow a person to testify on behalf of the defendant based on a separation of witnesses violation, the error was harmless, ruled the Court of Appeals in affirming a man’s felony convictions of vicarious sexual gratification and possession of child pornography.
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COA clarifies decision in reversed CHINS case

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the Department of Child Services’ request for rehearing of an August 2014 decision in which the court reversed a child in need of services finding for a child whose father was in the Navy for the first few years of the child’s life. The judges clarified their reasoning but affirmed their decision in all respects.
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Justices: Previous ruling did not alter fundamental error doctrine

February 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court wants to clear up potential confusion involving the state’s fundamental error doctrine.
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Couple needed expert testimony to show proximate cause in defective air bag suit

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A couple suing Ford Motor Company, alleging their 2003 Mercury Mountaineer was defective because the air bags did not deploy in an accident, lost their case because they failed to designate expert testimony to support their claim.
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Panel issues 3 opinions on interplay between T.R. 15(C) and 17(F)

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
While the three judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals panel agreed summary judgment was proper for an Indianapolis attorney being sued for defamation and other claims because the statute of limitations had expired, each judge interpreted the interplay between Trial Rules 15(C) and 17(F) differently.
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Man fails to prove Supreme Court would rule against established caselaw

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of an insurance adjuster’s motion to dismiss it from an injured man’s lawsuit alleging negligence in how it handled his case. The judges pointed out that the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that an insurance adjuster owes no legal duty to the insured and the plaintiff didn’t show that the Indiana Supreme Court would disagree with that decision.
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COA: Postnuptial agreement is enforceable

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
It is not a requirement that one party in a marriage must initiate divorce proceedings in order for the parties to later enter into a valid and enforceable reconciliation agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Awarded guardianship fees overturned due to potential misconduct

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because a trial court did not look at whether fees requested by a man’s former guardians were necessary, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the order they receive more than $15,000 from his estate.
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Justices add malpractice, adoption cases to docket

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will review summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers sued for medical malpractice in a stillbirth case as well as an adoption by a grandmother who claimed a 1997 conviction for neglect of a dependant should not automatically bar her from adopting the children.
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Appeals panel reinstates med-mal case

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a hospital and a doctor who performed a hysterectomy during which an arm board became unattached. After the patient’s arm dangled for much of the surgery, she was diagnosed with nerve damage in her arm.
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COA: Ex-husband entitled to legal fees for former wife's contempt

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The ex-husband in an acrimonious domestic relations case is entitled to $9,000 in legal fees a trial court awarded to him as well as judgments in his favor on parenting time and child support, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Double jeopardy lifts 2 of burglar’s multiple convictions

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who repeatedly broke into property and stole tools and items being used to renovate a long-vacant farmhouse likely will remain sentenced to 50 years in prison, even though the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated two of his convictions as violations of the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Ex-Martin County judge pleads guilty to failing to pay income tax

February 6, 2015
IL Staff
One-time Martin Circuit judge and county prosecutor Robert J. Howell pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he failed to pay more than $66,000 in taxes on receipts from his law firm in Loogootee.
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Appeals court strips grandmother’s visitation, cites grandchild’s adoption

February 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel Friday stripped a maternal grandparent of visitation rights, finding she had no standing to seek visitation. The parents of the child had divorced, and the father remarried shortly after the mother’s death.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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