Court opinions

Judge’s dismissal of claim contesting forfeiture was on ‘unsound’ ground

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a man’s claim contesting forfeiture of nearly $200,000 found in his home during a police search back to the District Court for reconsideration. The judges ruled that the ground for dismissal given by the judge, as well as the alternative ground argued by the government, were “unsound.”
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Jury to decide whether woman was fired for being pregnant

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a company on a fired employee’s claim that her employment was terminated because she was pregnant, finding the company’s explanations for her firing were shifting, inconsistent, and/or facially implausible.
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Judges: Integration clause doesn’t preclude introduction of parol evidence

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday that in the absence of a factual inquiry, the mere presence of an integration clause doesn’t preclude a party from introducing parol evidence that it was fraudulently induced to enter into the agreement as a whole. The decision came in a dispute involving a settlement agreement that one party sought to invalidate based on claims of fraudulent inducement.
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Judges order more proceedings in low-income apartment tax credit case

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because there are genuine issues of material fact regarding claims made against apartment management company Flaherty & Collins in a complaint alleging fraud and other charges dealing with renting apartments to people who did not qualify based on income requirements, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on the case.
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Defendant breached plea agreement by fleeing to Mexico

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that despite his decision to flee the country for five years before he was sentenced in a drug case, the government should have to stick to the terms of his original plea agreement.
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Trial court correctly ruled mother’s consent needed for adoption

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals noted in a decision Monday that the state adoption statute is a bit of a “puzzle” before affirming the lower court’s decision to deny a woman’s attempt to adopt her fiancé’s child. But it found the fiancée may file another petition for adoption if she so chooses.
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3 of former corrections officer’s convictions upheld by appeals court

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A former corrections officer at the Marion County Jail who tried to get a co-worker to fool around with him had three of his four convictions stemming from their interactions upheld Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges reversed one sexual battery conviction because the proof didn’t support Maurice Frazier’s Class D felony conviction.
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Grandchildren not entitled to proceeds of land sale under will

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Monroe Circuit judge did not err in denying a motion by three grandchildren to correct errors in which they claimed that they, instead of their grandmother’s second husband, should have received the proceeds of the sale of land in Bloomington. The Indiana Court of Appeals held the Bloomington residence was adeemed by extinction, so the proceeds of the sale pass to Cora Young’s second husband, Theodore.
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Justices vacate transfer in third appeal of Fort Wayne foreclosure case

June 7, 2013
The Indiana Supreme Court decided this week that it won’t take the third appeal in the case involving a Fort Wayne restaurant operator sued by former mortgagors.
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Panel disagrees as to when woman failed to mitigate damages

June 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
By a vote of 2-1, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday reduced nearly $94,000 in damages to just $117 after finding the seller of a condo failed to mitigate her damages after the buyers backed out of the sale over repairs. Judge Cale Bradford believed seller Gayle Fischer was entitled to the original damages award.
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Justices uphold termination of mother’s parental rights after years of drug abuse

June 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday set aside the Court of Appeals order dismissing a Dearborn County mother’s appeal of the termination of her parental rights and took the case. The justices affirmed the decision to end her parental rights to her three children.
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COA: Courts need to consider proportionality of damages in restitution orders

June 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Franklin Circuit judge’s decision to require a defendant to pay restitution and a fine after he entered into an open plea agreement on a burglary charge. But the judges instructed trial courts to consider apportioning the amount of restitution among co-perpetrators in relation to each person’s contribution to the victim’s loss.
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Statement in tort claim does not prevent woman from trying to recover for injuries

June 4, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Even though a woman originally stated she did not suffer any injuries after her vehicle was rear ended by a police car, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled she can file a subsequent complaint against the municipality and the police department for personal injuries.
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Appeals court tosses 3 of man’s 5 molestation convictions

June 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of five counts of molesting an 8-year-old girl on repeated occasions should only have been convicted of two counts, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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7th Circuit finds meth dealer was acting like a merchant, not a manager

June 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an Indiana man determined how much and how often his buyers received methamphetamine as well as pressured them to sell, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded his sentence should not have been enhanced because his actions were not coercive.
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Justices rule defendant’s confession came under ‘increasing coercive pressure’

May 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Incriminating statements made to detectives during an early morning interrogation in the county jail have been thrown out by the Indiana Supreme Court because the defendant had invoked his right to counsel at an interrogation two days before.
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Contempt conviction for failure to testify affirmed

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A woman who refused to answer questions about another criminal defendant after she was granted immunity was not wrongly convicted of contempt of court, an appellate panel ruled Friday.
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Appeals court tosses 1 of man’s 6 drug convictions

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man found guilty of multiple drug charges will have one conviction vacated because he was subjected to double jeopardy, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Appeals court reinstates trucker’s wrongful death suit

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment for an axle manufacturer sued by the estate of a contract truck driver who died when a load fell on him in an accident that occurred while the facility was closed.
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Judge’s opinion keeps colleague in suspense

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner had a fellow judge on the edge of his seat Thursday waiting to see how the opinion in a murder case would be decided. The court upheld a prisoner’s conviction of first-degree murder of the prisoner’s cellmate.
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COA: Social worker able to testify as expert witness

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A social worker who testified about a parenting assessment at a termination of parental rights hearing was properly allowed to testify as an expert witness, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the Indiana Rules of Evidence control. The judges affirmed the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her two young sons.
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Ephedrine database allowable under business record hearsay exception

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday that a National Precursor Log Exchange report documenting the purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine by a defendant are allowed into evidence under the business record exception to the hearsay rule.
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Insufficient notice voids tax deed

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Carroll County man should be allowed to make a redemption payment to obtain five parcels of real estate owned by his mother that were put in a tax sale. The failure to comply with the statutes governing tax sales and redemption rendered void a tax deed on the properties assigned to someone else.
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Man ineligible to bring belated appeal

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because his guilty plea included a fixed sentence, a man who pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge is precluded from challenging his sentence by direct appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. This also prevents him from challenging his sentence under Ind. Post-Conviction Rule 2.
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COA addresses first impression issue regarding education under civil rights law

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals – with one judge reluctantly doing so – affirmed a decision by an administrative law judge that found a religious organization unlawfully retaliated against a family by expelling them from the homeschooling group. The expulsion occurred after the family sought a dietary accommodation for their teenage daughter at a social event and later filed a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
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