Court opinions

Court reaffirms 3-step test for in camera review

September 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals doesn’t believe that its previous ruling regarding the in camera review of an organization’s documents relating to alleged molestation victims sends the message that it’s “open season” on the records of victim services providers.
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Mental-health facility report not same as charging instrument

September 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The due process protections applicable to a charging instrument in a criminal case aren’t applicable to a report filed after someone is detained in a mental-health facility, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Religious defense doesn't discharge court's subject matter jurisdiction

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A court with authority to hear defamation and invasion of privacy claims is not ousted of subject matter jurisdiction just because a defendant pleads a religious defense, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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COA: Hearsay evidence properly admitted

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the admission of hearsay evidence of a woman’s testimony to an officer that her boyfriend hit her because the evidence was admissible under the excited utterance exception.
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Lawyers can't appeal termination without parent's authorization

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Tuesday that although parents have a statutory right to appellate counsel to appeal an order ending their parental rights, a parent’s trial lawyer cannot pursue an appeal without the parent’s authorization.
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High court clarifies harmless error under Sixth Amendment

September 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to a man’s case in order to address the application of harmless error to Sixth Amendment violations involving confronting those who create laboratory reports.
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Appellate court finds lawsuit brought in bad faith

September 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today for a fifth time on a contentious family dispute over the estate of deceased parents, affirming a small claims court judgment in favor of two of the siblings for damages and fees against their brother and his wife.
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Justices remind parties about decision certification

September 16, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted a rehearing on the appeal involving East Chicago casino money, using the chance to warn parties to not jump the gun in how it responds once an appellate ruling is initially issued.
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Justices: BMV can require names to match SSA records

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct to find that the public interest in preventing fraudulent use of driver’s licenses trumps some people’s desire to have their commonly used names on their licenses, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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Attenuation doctrine doesn't apply under Indiana Constitution

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The attenuation doctrine has no application under the state’s constitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a case alleging an unconstitutional search.
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No qualified immunity for city in racially motivated promotions

September 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the denial of the motion of qualified immunity filed by the City of Indianapolis and several officials in a suit filed by three white police officers who claim they were passed over for promotions because of their race.
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COA: Judge could raise affirmative defense on behalf of pro se defendant

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A small-claims court may decide a case based upon the statute of limitations even if a defendant didn’t raise or mention it at trial but the issue was discussed during trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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Justices rule against POA on joint-account funds issue

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled against a woman who was made power of attorney by the man she worked for as a caretaker and opened bank accounts in both their names. The presumption is that the woman’s use of her power of attorney to benefit herself made those accounts invalid, and she failed to overcome that presumption to allow her to inherit the money from those accounts.
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COA dismisses appeal as untimely under T.R. 53.3(A)

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed a man’s appeal from the denial of his motion to correct error because he didn’t file his notice within 30 days of when the motion was deemed denied, which happened before the trial court actually ruled on the motion.
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Judges split on district's need to pay for new water main

September 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a school district was required to pay for the installation of a new water main as opposed to privately putting in its own water service line to connect to a new school.
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Defendants in will contest must timely answer

September 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a will contest is a civil action and a defendant in this type of action is required to file an answer or plead to a complaint as provided by the state’s trial rules.
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Judge orders law firms to repay city $453,282

September 2, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A Merrillville attorney and three law firms must repay East Chicago a total $453,282 in legal fees they collected for defending former city officials in the Sidewalk Six scandal.
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Appeals court looks at revised law on sex-offense status

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case today with instructions to re-examine a case about a man’s disputed classification as a sexually violent predator.
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Landlord not responsible for dog bite

September 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment today for a landlord who was sued by a postal carrier who was bit by a tenant’s dog that had escaped from the property. The judges declined to find that by entering into a lease, a landlord establishes a relationship to a tenant’s dog.
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7th Circuit upholds Indiana's judicial canons

September 1, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At a time when the legal community is caught up in controversies about how judges are selected and whether they can remain impartial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has weighed in on that national debate and ruled that states have the authority to self-regulate on those issues as it relates to judicial canons.
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Appellate courts address estate tax, trust division regarding adoptions

September 1, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
As adoptions have become more common and more accepted for expanding the family tree, courts have had to address some legal matters clarifying those familial ties.
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7th Circuit rules on attorney fee issues in brownfield case

August 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has mostly upheld an Indiana federal judge who’d ruled on the litigation costs and attorney fees involved in a Shell gas station brownfield case.
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Circuit Court split on rehearing judicial canons case

August 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Indiana’s two federal appeals judges disagree about whether the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals should reconsider a Wisconsin case about the judicial code of conduct in that state, paving the way for a further battle before the nation’s highest court that could influence Indiana’s judicial canons.
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COA: variance for residential wind turbine allowed

August 31, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
The Court of Appeals today affirmed a decision from the Warrick Superior Court that found the Board of Zoning Appeals of the Area Plan Commission of Warrick County was right in allowing a 20-foot variance for the construction of a residential wind turbine.
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High court remands Medicaid case to lower court

August 31, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ordered a Marion Superior Court to let Medicaid recipients involved in a decades-long lawsuit present evidence to demonstrate the transportation they may be entitled to by law and if they have been or will be denied services because of lower pay rates to Medicaid transportation providers.
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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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