Court opinions

Man to get new trial because of counsel’s performance

March 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because the extent of prior bad acts admitted into evidence during a man’s trial in Hancock County was “breathtaking,” the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered he be retried on burglary and handgun charges.
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Judge tosses suit against NCAA that reads ‘like a press release’

March 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal judge on Friday dismissed several former college athletes’ attempt to bring a class-action lawsuit against Indianapolis-based NCAA, writing in a 25-page order that the complaint “reads more like a press release than a legal filing.” The judge left open the possibility that an antitrust claim may survive.
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Judges uphold $600k sanction for contempt

March 1, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After initially vacating a District judge’s $600,000 sanction against SonCo Holdings for contempt of court and remanding it to the lower court for more proceedings, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the sanction Friday. 
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7th Circuit affirms kidnapping and extortion convictions, sentence

March 1, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding no error in the admittance of three photo identifications of a defendant following charges of kidnapping and extortion, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Lamar Sanders’ convictions and 25-year sentence Thursday.
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Judges uphold refund to pilot unhappy with plane rental’s service

February 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who prepaid into an account to be used when he rented planes to fly is entitled to a refund of $1,755.88 from a company offering flight instruction and rentals, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges rejected the company’s claims that the small claims court erred by ruling in the pilot’s favor.
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Rehearing sidesteps state’s claims in battery case

February 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
On a petition for rehearing, the state claimed a recent decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals held that “a social worker would always be a declarant in child abuse cases, even when the social worker is merely a scribe.” But the judges disagreed and decided that this particular case is not the proper one to make such a blanket determination.
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Man’s 100-year sentence for impregnating stepdaughter, dealing drugs upheld

February 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After pleading guilty to child molesting and dealing in hydrocodone, a Dearborn County man was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that his 100-year aggregate sentence should be reduced.
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401(k) contributions are income for child support calculation

February 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday affirmed that the money a father contributed to his 401(k) account during his marriage may be included as income for purposes as determining child support.
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COA upholds award of attorney fees but orders damages amount reduced against construction company

February 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A claimed scrivener’s error on the Secretary of State’s website should not be held against the couple filing the lawsuit against a company, the Indiana Court of Appeals held. The error involving an incorrect address on the website was made by an employee of the company being sued more than two years before the suit was filed.
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Judges uphold man’s convictions for stealing from neighbor

February 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Lamont Holloway argued that the state didn’t prove that he was the one who stole a television and gaming system from his neighbor, but the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the evidence supports his burglary and theft convictions.
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Man’s attempts to establish paternity denied

February 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed denial of a mother’s two motions to dismiss her child’s father’s paternity actions instituted after her husband attempted to adopt the child.
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Company loses inverse condemnation claim

February 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 17-month period beginning when a Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals ordered a company seeking a special exception to provide public water to surrounding homes and ending when that condition was overturned by a judge did not constitute inverse condemnation, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Bankruptcy ruling locks out insiders

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A recent bankruptcy appeal tossing an Indianapolis shopping center’s reorganization plan further establishes that the control of equity in Chapter 11 cases will be subject to competitive bidding and that insiders might be out of luck.
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COA instructs trial court to vacate 2 convictions of child molestation

February 26, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals threw out two charges and sent a case back to the trial court after the state admitted that it did not intend to charge the defendant with four separate acts of child molestation.
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Trial court denied due process in revoking probation

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose probation was revoked without an evidentiary hearing after he walked away from an inpatient alcohol treatment program imposed by the court will receive a new hearing.
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Consecutive sentences in drug buy case ruled inappropriate

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 40 years in prison after he sold crack cocaine to undercover agents in two separate controlled buys received an inappropriate punishment, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Felon’s convictions, multiple sentence enhancements affirmed

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A sentence of 12 years with a year suspended was not inappropriate for a man who stole an idling car from a Lafayette convenience store and later resisted police, punched a police dog and threatened officers.
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Trouble with the Curves: Ex-husband still owes for franchise’s default

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A couple’s failure to inform a landlord of their divorce doesn’t excuse the ex-husband from a default judgment on rent payments for a health club that his former wife continued to run.
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Transferred intent instruction not error in domestic violence trial

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County man’s conviction for domestic battery stands after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion.
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‘Sovereign citizen’ gets 40-year sentence

February 25, 2013
IL Staff
A self-identified sovereign citizen was sentenced last week to 40 years in prison for felony convictions of kidnapping and intimidation of a witness.
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After children are grown, custodial parent still a victim of nonsupport

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a mother was a victim of a father who failed to pay support for his three children even years after the kids were grown.
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Circuit Court rules utility contract falls in state jurisdiction

February 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute between a power generator and an electricity wholesaler should be heard in the state court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled after finding the central issues did not arise under federal law.
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Interstate defendant denied due process in hasty sentencing trip

February 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Kentucky inmate brought to an Indiana court for sentencing on four burglary counts to which he pleaded guilty was deprived due process when his new attorney was given only minutes to prepare, the Court of Appeals ruled.
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Officer’s inclusion of victim’s statements did not violate Confrontation Clause

February 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer’s testimony that incorporated statements from the victim did not violate the defendant’s right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.
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Change to public intoxication statute not retroactive

February 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A woman convicted of public intoxication may not receive relief from a change in the statute that took effect a day before her bench trial.
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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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