Court opinions

Spur-of-the-moment burglary spree does not support corrupt business influence conviction

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that an impromptu burglary spree that lasted less than 48 hours does not meet requirements for a corrupt business influence conviction.
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COA: Lingering odor of burnt marijuana does not justify warrantless search

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
No possibility of danger or smell of marijuana was evident, and that was enough to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to suppress evidence found during a police officer’s search of a motorist’s backpack.
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COA finds trial court acted within its discretion when calculating father’s actual income

July 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A father’s messy financial statements do not prevent a trial court from doing its own calculations and increasing his weekly child support payments, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Undisputed will makes daughter’s appointment as special administrator improper

July 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Because the special administrator provision in the Indiana Code did not apply, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled the trial court did not abuse is discretion when it removed a special administrator of an estate without considering the state statute.
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Judges disagree on whether Rhode Island law applies in wrongful death case

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Court of Appeals judge dissented from her colleagues’ decision that Rhode Island law should apply in awarding a wrongful death settlement because she believed that the Rhode Island court would have found Indiana law applies.
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7th Circuit addresses 'khat' convictions for first time

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on many types of drug cases, but was presented with a new drug to consider for the first time: “khat,” a popular drug among the Somali community.
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Sex offender not eligible to participate in county diversion program

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a defendant’s petition for judicial review after he was denied placement by the court in the Vanderburgh County Forensic Diversion Program. The COA held that there was no final administrative decision for the court to review.
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‘Am I going to need an attorney?’ is not request for attorney, rules COA

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A suspect’s question during interrogation as to whether he’d need an attorney is not considered a request for an attorney, thus requiring police to stop interrogating him, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA orders court grant petition to set aside tax deed

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a trial court’s reasoning in denying a petition to set aside a tax deed that a county auditor was excused of the duties imposed under statute because compliance wouldn’t have resulted in a property owner actually receiving notice of a tax sale.
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7th Circuit: Attorney’s deficient performance prejudiced defendant

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that an appellate attorney opted for a “hopeless sufficiency challenge” instead of the obvious claim challenging the validity of an amended information that elevated a charge to murder, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial by the federal court of the man’s petition for writ of habeas corpus.
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COA: Police escort into home does not violate 4th Amendment

July 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday decided that a police officer’s refusal to allow a defendant to enter his or her residence without being accompanied by an officer until a search warrant has been obtained is a reasonable seizure that does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
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COA: Court must hold another hearing on custody

July 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court may refuse to approve a settlement agreement entered into by parents regarding custody of minor children, the Indiana Court of Appeals pointed out Tuesday, but in this case, the court erred by not granting the father’s motion for a continuance regarding his mental health evaluation.
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Appeals court orders more proceedings in pulley lawsuit

July 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the trial court shouldn’t have granted summary judgment in favor of a distributor on a buyer’s claim of breach of implied warranty of merchantability regarding pulleys provided by the distributor, the Indiana Court of Appeals remanded to the trial court to take another look at the issue.
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Sewer district owed refund in easement dispute

July 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the White Circuit Court clerk to refund the thousands of dollars a sewer district overpaid in damages for easements on a couple’s property to construct sewers. The appellate court held that the trial court improperly admitted the court-appointed appraisal report.
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COA affirms second imposition of habitual-offender enhancement

July 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Tippecanoe County man whose sentence enhancement for being a habitual offender was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court – but later re-imposed after a retrial – was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his retrial was barred by res judicata.
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Search of man, car that led to drug arrest constitutional, COA rules

July 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday that the search of the man who supplied cocaine to buyers as well as the search of his car did not violate state and federal constitutions.
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Inmate loses negligence suit on appeal

July 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the Adams County sheriff, finding an inmate was unable to make a prima facie case for negligence. The inmate sued after contracting a methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus – or MRSA – infection after visiting the hospital.
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COA rules company not entitled to surplus funds under agreement

July 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Owen Circuit judge erred by granting a Colorado company’s petition to claim surplus funds from the tax sale of property belonging to Ora and Leafie Chambers, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The couple signed an agreement that transferred their right of the surplus funds from the sale of their property to Asset Recovery Inc.
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COA finds no error in Class A felony attempted robbery conviction

July 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After determining it had jurisdiction over a defendant’s appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction of Class A felony attempted robbery instead of a lesser-included offense.
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Justices: Order giving grandmother visitation rights is void

July 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because a grandmother did not have standing under the terms of Indiana’s Grandparent Visitation Statute to pursue visitation, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s finding that an original order granting visitation is void. The woman wanted to see her two grandchildren whose mother was murdered by the grandmother’s son.
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Question remains as to whether son is ‘child’ under Wrongful Death Statute

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of the defendants on two parents’ claims under the Child Wrongful Death Statute regarding their 21-year-old son who died in a car accident. The appellate court found a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the informal apprenticeship the son was participating in at the time of his death would be considered a vocational program under the CWDS.
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Prisoner adequately stated First Amendment claim against DOC employees

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals quickly affirmed the dismissal of most of a prisoner’s claims regarding violations under Indiana statute or the state and federal constitutions, but found her First Amendment retaliation claims against several Department of Correction employees should not have been dismissed by the trial court.
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COA affirms dissolution of corporation embroiled in family dispute

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A company owned by two brothers – one disabled and one terminally ill – was properly dissolved by the trial court over the disabled brother’s objections, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Attorney disbarred for writing book about client

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered a Carmel attorney disbarred after finding he wrote a book revealing sensitive information about a former client for his monetary gain.
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Justices: Voluntary associations must comply with Wage Payment Statute

July 17, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday ordered more proceedings on a fired union employee’s complaint seeking payment for unused vacation time. The justices held that she is entitled to accrue vacation pay unless there was an arrangement or policy to the contrary, which is in dispute in this case.
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