Court opinions

Vagueness of policy is grounds for reversal

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, holding that the language of its insurance policy creates a question of liability for deductible payments.
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On rehearing, COA affirms original opinion

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
On petition for rehearing, the state Department of Child Services claims that the appellate court imposed an undue burden upon the agency by recognizing that DCS has to make a prima facie showing regarding current conditions before the parent is obliged to come forward with evidence.
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COA reverses trial court on traffic stop case

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with the state in its appeal of a trial court’s ruling.
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Mother's prior statement undermines argument on appeal

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
A mother who appealed a court’s order acknowledging that her ex-husband is the father of her child cannot prove that the court abused its discretion.
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Appellate court orders hearing on judge's impartiality

February 13, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a Monroe Circuit judge abused her discretion in denying a motion to recuse in a small claims case that involved an attorney who previously served as the judge’s election campaign committee chair.
 
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COA reverses trial court in malpractice case

February 10, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance in a medical malpractice case.
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7th Circuit affirms inmate has no property interest in fund

February 9, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the decision in the Northern District of Indiana that an inmate has no property interest in prison recreation funds.
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Evidence supports elevated burglary conviction

February 9, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction of Class A felony burglary resulting in bodily injury because all the statute requires is evidence the victim experienced physical pain, which the victim in this case did when the burglar twisted her hand.
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Court erred in granting change of judge

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the grant of a stepfather’s motion for change of venue from the judge, holding the man is not a party to the underlying paternity action and therefore isn’t entitled to a change of venue from the judge under Indiana Trial Rule 76.
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High court to hear legislative fines appeal

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has taken the appeal of a Marion County judge’s decision that ordered Democratic members of the Indiana House be refunded the money withheld from their paychecks due to a walkout in 2011.
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COA affirms original sentence revision

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing to address the argument that its earlier decision on a man’s sentence conflicts with an Indiana Supreme Court decision. The appellate court reaffirmed its earlier decision in all respects.
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Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over child support

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In addressing whether a trial court in Indiana erred in dismissing a woman’s petition for modification of child support previously entered in Maryland, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted an incongruity in the statutory scheme that leads to the “somewhat absurd result in this case.”
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Judges affirm credit restricted felon status

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that because he pleaded guilty to Class B felony child molesting instead of a Class A felony, the Credit Restricted Felon Statute shouldn’t apply.
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Court split on dismissing murder, attempted feticide charges

February 8, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression involving a mother who ingested rat poison in an attempt to kill herself and her unborn child, one Indiana Court of Appeals judge felt that if the feticide statute is applied to women’s prenatal conduct, it might lead to a “slippery slope” in which a full range of a woman’s conduct while pregnant could fall under the feticide statute.
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Judges reverse felony sexual battery conviction

February 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Because the state didn’t prove an essential element needed to convict a man of Class D felony sexual battery, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out his conviction. But there was enough evidence to support convicting the man of Class B misdemeanor battery.
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Homeowners' association can enforce ban on child day care

February 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision that would allow two homeowners to run a child care operation out of their residences. The homeowners’ association has restrictive covenants in place prohibiting the operation of a child care home.
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7th Circuit dismisses South Bend's appeal

February 7, 2012
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was presented a novel jurisdictional issue Tuesday: whether a municipal land use case can come within the exception to the doctrine of mootness for cases that are capable of repetition yet elude review.
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Judge orders refund of legislative fines

February 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Democratic members of the Indiana House who faced fines for failing to attend sessions in protest of right-to-work legislation will be reimbursed any amount withheld in 2011, according to a ruling from Marion Superior Judge David Dreyer. The judge also ordered that any fines imposed this session may not be collected.
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Governor appoints interim secretary of state

February 6, 2012
IL Staff
After Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White was found guilty of six felony charges Feb. 4, Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Jerry Bonnet as interim secretary of state. A convicted felon cannot hold statewide office in Indiana.
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7th Circuit affirms official's termination

February 3, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The city of Anderson was justified in firing an official who failed to support a mayoral campaign, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.
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7th Circuit upholds firearm conviction

February 3, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s conviction of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, finding there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
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Appellate court to visit Sellersburg for arguments

February 3, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will travel to a southern Indiana high school to hear a civil case involving First Amendment claims for a police officer’s private statements.
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Justices uphold driver's license suspension

February 3, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the suspension of a man’s driver’s license following his conviction of possessing marijuana. While the driver’s license suspension statute generally applies only when the defendant uses the vehicle in the commission of the offense, it’s not required that the defendant must either own or be driving the vehicle when he commits the offense.
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Personal cars fall under federal act exemption

February 2, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The billing agent for a central Indiana volunteer fire department can’t bill individuals involved in auto accidents with their personal vehicles for clean-up costs of hazardous substances, according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit affirms man's remanded sentence

February 2, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the 210-month sentence received by a defendant on remand for attempting to coerce or entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.
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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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