Court opinions

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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Gender change does not void Indiana marriage

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana law does not automatically void a marriage if one of the parties later is legally recognized as the same gender as the spouse, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Admission of return of service did not violate Confrontation Clause

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a return of service on a protective order is not testimonial, so its admission at trial did not violate a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.
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Judges affirm criminal reckless conviction

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who turned his car sharply enough to force his girlfriend out of the car and onto the road had his conviction of Class A misdemeanor criminal recklessness affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Judges split on whether jury instruction erroneous

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a man who shot at police when they attempted to serve a search warrant. The judges were, however, divided as to whether the trial court erred in giving jury instructions on the presumption of innocence.
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COA: Jury adequately instructed on presumption of innocence

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his child molestation conviction should be reversed because the trial court did not tender his jury instruction on the presumption of innocence. The judges found the court’s instruction adequately instructed the jury.
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Man’s molestation post-conviction bid fails on appeal

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Morgan County man failed to convince a Court of Appeals panel that ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct should entitle him to relief from a child molestation conviction.
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Appeals court slashes contamination award from $154,632 to $7,383

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Court-ordered environmental damages caused by PCB contamination at a Churubusco industrial site were reduced from a total of $154,632 to $7,383 on Thursday by a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Wife barred from inheritance because of adulterous relationship

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a woman’s relationship outside of her marriage prevents her from inheriting from her deceased husband’s estate.
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Accomplice’s murder conviction upheld

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who threatened that her baby’s father and his brother would kill the man who punched her several times had her conviction of murder upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. She sat in a car while with the boyfriend and his brother killed the man.
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Justices: Lab tech does not need to testify

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday concluded that a laboratory technician involved in the chain of custody of DNA evidence is not required to testify at trial in order to satisfy the demands of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.
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Life sentence upheld for man who killed neighbor

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s claims that certain photos of a murder victim should not have been admitted at his trial. The justices upheld Tyrice Halliburton’s life without parole sentence for the murder of Sheena Kiska.
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Man’s second federal child-porn conviction sticks, 7th Circuit rules

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose first federal child pornography conviction was reversed on appeal struck out in his second appearance before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals after he was reconvicted of the same 16 counts.
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Question over who should have mown grass prevents summary judgment

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment to a homeowner after a man slipped and fell on her property was overturned when the Indiana Court of Appeals found sufficient dispute over material facts.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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