Court opinions

Threats of violence sufficient to order involuntary commitment

August 21, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an Indianapolis man never harmed another individual, his persistent threats of violence were sufficient to support his involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.
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Appeals panel affirms molester’s dissemination sentence, refines scope of ‘performance’

August 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who molested children in his home lost his appeal on the argument that showing children pornographic images on a cellphone and exposing himself to them was not a public performance.
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Tinted-window stop yielding pot arrest by precedent-setting cop upheld

August 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer Keith Minch is on a roll in the appellate courts.
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COA affirms probation violation for nonsupport, modifies amount due

August 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly revoked probation of a man sentenced for non-support of a dependent child, but the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the lower court to revise the arrearage.
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Foreclosure stands against ‘Redemptionist’ claims, appeals panel rules

August 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant who fought a mortgage foreclosure by attempting to pay a bank with drafts from his purported account at the United States Treasury has no basis to reverse summary judgment in favor of the lender, the Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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7th Circuit affirms tax convictions of Fort Wayne entrepreneur

August 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose family spent millions while he pleaded poverty to gain need-based scholarships for his children and failed to report foreign bank accounts lost the federal appeal of his conviction on multiple tax charges Thursday.
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Change in state statute gets public intoxication conviction overturned

August 15, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the evidence showed the man was intoxicated in public, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his conviction because he was not a threat to public safety.
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Conviction, 30-year sentence affirmed in armed robbery

August 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who, with other masked gunmen, robbed an Indianapolis Asian market lost his appeal Thursday.
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For want of $2, negligence claim is untimely

August 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A filing fee that was $2 less than required for a negligence claim in Clark County but was corrected and paid in full after the statute of limitations ran out may not proceed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Divided appellate court reinstates charges stemming from illegal stop

August 15, 2013
An Indianapolis man who faced multiple charges when he fled from and battled with police after a stop the state concedes was illegal still may be prosecuted on evidence gained after he fled, two of three Court of Appeals judges ruled Tuesday.
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Appeals panel affirms sole custody for mother moving to China

August 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
A father lost his appeal Thursday of a trial court ruling granting sole custody to the mother of the divorced couple’s child, who will move with her to China for three years.
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No new trial for defendant who discovered pitfalls of proceeding pro se

August 15, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s request for a do-over after representing himself at trial and being found guilty was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals with the admonishment “proceeding pro se is riddled with pitfalls.”
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Malpractice defense accused of ‘egregious mischaracterization’ of record

August 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
Defense attorneys who asked for a rehearing from the Indiana Court of Appeals panel that earlier affirmed a trial court medical malpractice jury verdict failed to sway judges who took the opportunity to call out their “egregious mischaracterization” of the record.
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Community-caretaking duties permits warrantless search

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A warrantless search that led to discovery of marijuana and a handgun did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the police found the items as part of their “community-caretaking” duties.
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Charge dismissed in error negates felony DUI enhancement

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
The state’s errant dismissal of a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in 2009 may not be corrected in order to enhance to a felony a defendant’s second such charge within five years, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man still drunk despite change in public intoxication statute, COA rules

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 2012 change in Indiana’s public intoxication statute adding a required charging element of at least harassing, annoying or alarming another person doesn’t negate a conviction for a man who the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled did at least that much.
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Nigerian immigrant's religious discrimination suit carries cautions for employers

August 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
Sikiru Adeyeye had a mission when his father died in Nigeria three years ago. Letters to his employer asking to take one week of paid vacation and several weeks off without pay expressed the urgency of his obligation.
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Accused murderers likely to stay in jail awaiting trial

August 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
When the Indiana Supreme Court upended 150 years of precedent concerning murder defendants, it raised eyebrows and stirred debate but, in practice, the impact of the opinion is expected to be very limited.
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Justices revive malpractice suit alleging doctor’s failure to warn patient not to drive

August 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice suit arising from a debilitating head-on automobile crash should not have been disposed of through summary judgment in favor of the doctor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Justices reversed the order and sent the case back to the trial court.
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Muncie church did not invade on grieving couple’s privacy

August 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A church that issued a press release and held a press conference following the sudden death of a baby boy was found to not have interfered with the parents’ reasonable expectation of solitude and seclusion. 
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Seizure of guns upheld for ‘dangerous’ man who stalked Spierer site

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who behaved erratically, told far-fetched stories of seeing missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer, and scoped out the place she was last seen alarmed Bloomington police enough that authorities took from him and his Indianapolis home 51 guns and ammunition.
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Dismissal, jury verdict for Alcoa in cancer suit stand on appeal

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A couple who sued an aluminum manufacturer and claimed their exposure to toxic chemicals led to the husband’s rare form of liver cancer lost their appeal Tuesday.
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Habeas writ reverses resentencing from divided COA

August 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Fulton County man who filed a writ of habeas corpus claiming he was falsely imprisoned won a reversal of a clarified sentencing order Tuesday, with one Court of Appeals judge saying he should be freed entirely.
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Recusal question occupies 7th Circuit in District Court’s dismissal of habeas petition

August 2, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a prisoner filed his habeas petition late, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the District Court should not have dismissed it on procedural grounds.
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Contract termination ends health care provider’s eligibility for federal funds

August 2, 2013
Finding that the status of the grant holder had changed, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Citizens Health Corp. is no longer eligible for Section 330 federal monies.
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  1. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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