Court opinions

Appeals court affirms tax sale notice statute unconstitutional

July 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a trial court ruling denying a petition for a tax deed after a Bartholomew County tax sale, finding that the court was correct in ruling that the state’s statutory notice violated the 14th Amendment guarantee of due process.
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In-court marijuana field test ruled error, but not reversible

July 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
An appeals court panel ruled that a deputy’s in-court field test to prove a substance was marijuana should not have been allowed, but it declined to use the error as a basis to reverse a man’s misdemeanor conviction.
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Appeals court upholds rape conviction

July 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of rape based on DNA evidence and his admission that he had sex with the victim failed to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was denied a fair trial due to the admission of hearsay testimony and a sustained objection to an attempt to refresh the victim’s memory.
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Divided appeals court affirms summary judgment for community action program

July 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals panel on Friday affirmed a Marion Superior Court ruling that dismissed a case against a government-funded agency because the victims in a vehicle accident failed to provide notice under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
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Court reverses ruling in Plymouth church insurer's suit against contractors

July 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals reinstated an insurer’s case against contractors who built a Plymouth church gymnasium addition in 2008 in which the basketball court floor was ruined when a frozen sprinkler burst eight months later.
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Justices order new trial for Ripley County man

July 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Ripley County man convicted of conspiring to commit burglary is entitled to a new trial due to ineffective assistance of his trial counsel and prosecutorial misconduct, the Indiana Supreme Court held.
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7th Circuit certifies questions for Kansas Supreme Court

July 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was unable to determine under Kansas law how that state’s Supreme Court would rule on whether FedEx drivers are employees or independent contractors, so the court sent two certified questions to the Kansas justices.
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Man who killed girlfriend may be retried for reckless homicide

July 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The post-conviction court erred in denying Andrew McWhorter relief when he challenged his conviction of voluntary manslaughter in connection to the death of his girlfriend, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. McWhorter may not be retried on the same charge, but may face retrial for reckless homicide.
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Judges disagree over impact of mental illness label at sentencing

July 11, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood believed that Michael Dean Overstreet, who was convicted of killing Franklin College student Kelly Eckart in 1997, was prejudiced by his attorneys’ decisions at sentencing regarding which experts should testify about his mental illness.
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7th Circuit upholds conviction over DEA agent withholding evidence

July 6, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of federal charges of distributing cocaine was not deprived a fair trial after a government agent failed to record or relay exculpatory evidence from a co-defendant, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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7th Circuit affirms life sentences in prostitution ring

July 6, 2012
Dave Stafford
Two men sentenced to life in prison on an assortment of federal charges related to a prostitution ring involving underage girls that operated in northwest Indiana failed in their appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, but judges asked the trial court to clarify the sentence for a third defendant.
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Drunken driving conviction affirmed; lesser included charge vacated

July 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Marion Superior Court conviction in a drunken driving case was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the court ordered a lesser included charge on which the driver was convicted be merged.
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Appeals court upholds, tweaks division of IRA in divorce

July 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
A husband’s individual retirement account is a divisible asset in a divorce, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, but it ordered the trial court to revise the award to reflect an equal division of both parties’ assets.
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7th Circuit reinstates insurer’s case against shipper

July 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
An insurer’s lawsuit against an Indianapolis-based shipping company involving a loss of more than $1 million has been reinstated by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Indiana's immigration law reeling

July 4, 2012
Dave Stafford
Attorneys say the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Arizona case likely dooms parts of Indiana's law.
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Supreme Court review focuses on Shepard's legacy

July 4, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Randall Shepard era of Indiana’s Supreme Court is over, but in his last full year on the court, the former chief justice continued a legacy of consensus building and restoring primacy to the state Constitution.
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Mom's contempt judgment affirmed in educational support dispute

July 3, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a trial court’s finding that a mother was in contempt for violating a court order on educational support for her college-age daughter and that she pay a recalculated proportion of those costs and the father’s attorney fees.
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Appellate judges affirm previous decision in paternity dispute

July 3, 2012
Dave Stafford

A divided Indiana Court of Appeals on Tuesday reaffirmed its original opinion in In Re: The Matter of the Paternity of S.C.: K.C. (Appellant), and C.C. (Appellee), and B.H. (Appellee-Intervenor), 30A01-1107-JP-322, in which the appellate court affirmed the Hancock Circuit Court’s grant of B.H.’s verified petition for relief from judgment for fraud upon the court.

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Zoeller: Indiana to get $6.3 million in drug-maker settlement

July 3, 2012
Dave Stafford
Indiana will receive more than $6.3 million as part of a national Medicaid fraud settlement with drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement Monday.
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PNC entitled to summary judgment under res judicata

July 3, 2012
Kelly Lucas
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the Marion Superior Court that granted summary judgment in favor of the defense in Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., f/k/a Wachovia Commercial Mortgage Inc. v. PNC Bank, N.A. f/k/a National City Bank of Indiana, 49A02-1111-PL-1004.
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Trial in absentia did not violate due process

July 3, 2012
Kelly Lucas
The due process rights of a man charged with two counts of Class C felony non-support of a dependent child were not violated when he was tried in absentia and without trial counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Legal nullity sends zoning decision back to BZA

July 3, 2012
Kelly Lucas
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a matter brought by the owners of a cottage on Lake Gage in Steuben County be remanded to the Steuben County Board of Zoning Appeals because the BZA’s decision granting the homeowners a development standards variance with a void condition was a legal nullity.
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Supreme Court emancipation, support ruling draws sharp dissent

July 2, 2012
Dave Stafford
A 3-2 Indiana Supreme Court decision in a case involving a child’s emancipation and a father’s contribution toward her education resulted in a tough dissent from two veteran justices.
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Justices divided over man’s conviction of criminal trespass

June 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The state failed to prove an essential element of criminal trespass, according to one Indiana justice, so he dissented from his colleagues’ decision to uphold a man’s conviction stemming from his refusal to leave his bank.

 
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Court upholds judgment in favor of Cedar Lake

June 29, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A fired employee’s claim that he had a constitutionally protected interest in his job with the Town of Cedar Lake and that he was entitled to due process before being fired failed on appeal.
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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. 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)

  4. "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.

  5. 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.

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