Court opinions

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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Judges rule cop won't have new trial on murder, arson charges

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Evansville police officer who killed his mistress more than 20 years ago wasn’t able to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday that he is entitled to post-conviction relief.
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Ex-wife not required to pay attorney fees under FDCPA

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman does not have to pay the attorney fees for her ex-husband after she sought more than $135,000 in owed child support after he failed to pay for 16 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The trial court ordered her to pay the fees under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
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Prior knowledge of criminal history allows FSSA to disqualify employment

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a woman employed by a license-exempt child care ministry in Indianapolis can’t circumvent a prohibition from being employed at any child care ministry by relying on the Indiana Restricted Access Act.
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Appeals court affirms terminating mother’s parental rights

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother who was close to reunification with her three children, deemed children in need of services, until she battered her fiancé in front of them had the termination of her parental rights affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Officer had probable cause to believe defendant drove while drunk

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for judicial review involving his refusal to take a chemical test for intoxication. The judges found the evidence supported that the officer had probable cause that Paul Hassfurther drove his truck while intoxicated and that he knowingly refused to take the chemical test.
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COA: Mother should have challenged income evidence at trial

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother who claimed that the record doesn’t support her actual or current income after her ex-husband was granted sole custody of her children should have brought up her concerns at trial, not on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Court affirms giving father custody after mother denies parenting time

May 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A LaPorte County mother’s decision to cut off parenting time of her three children with their father supports the trial court’s order that the father have sole legal and physical custody of the children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Court rules in favor of insurer in environmental cleanup dispute

May 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A release executed between a chemical manufacturing business and its insurer that relieved the insurer from claims or demands related to remediation was unambiguous and covered all policies held by the company, not just the primary liability ones, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA reverses summary judgment for NCAA on negligence claim

May 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who was injured at a fencing event at the University of Notre Dame should have been granted more time to present relevant materials in opposition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s motion for summary judgment on her negligence claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Defendant not at fault for failing to timely appeal

May 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to hold a man at fault for the failure to file a timely notice of appeal, pointing to his attorney’s death from cancer shortly after the sentencing hearing.
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Justices reinstate COA decision in Simon defamation suit

May 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals opinion reversing a Marion Superior judge’s denial of a California attorney’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Herbert Simon will stand. The state’s highest court split evenly over whether the trial court should have denied that motion.
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Easterbrook: 7th Circuit 'nation's leader' in productivity

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals presented his final State of the Circuit address during the Circuit conference this month in Indianapolis, describing the federal appellate court for Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin as perhaps the nation’s most industrious.
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Supreme Court’s ruling for Monsanto described as good decision

May 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Supreme Court of the United States decision upholding the patent owned by Monsanto Co. was surprising only in its unanimous affirmation.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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