Courts

Judge who oversaw troubled Clark County drug court finished

March 13, 2015
Dave Stafford
A former Clark Superior judge who oversaw the southern Indiana county’s drug court and left the bench amid allegations of jailing participants without due process will never serve as an Indiana judge again.
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At odds with Google, US seeks new rule on computer access

March 13, 2015
 Associated Press
The Justice Department is at odds with Google and privacy groups over the government's push to make it easier to locate and hack into computers in criminal investigations, a simmering conflict with constitutional and policy implications.
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Man’s right to speedy trial not violated, 7th Circuit says

March 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The speedy-trial clock did not begin to run upon the federal government’s filing of a complaint and detainer against an Indiana man, so the 16-month delay in filing the federal indictment did not violate his right to a speedy trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
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Rucker to be honored at April event in Gary

March 12, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker will receive the Merit of Distinction Award at the 3rd annual Katie Hall Public Service Awards Luncheon on April 4 in Gary.
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COA: Trial court lacked authority to rescind plea agreement

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a Howard Superior judge to sentence a man to the terms of the plea agreement that he had entered into on drug charges before the judge revoked the agreement and ordered him to continue to trial.
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Ex-husband needed to take action to modify judgment, COA rules

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man challenging the proposed value of his pension’s surviving spouse benefit in a dissolution proceeding had to file his own Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion and not rely on the same motion filed by his ex-wife, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Trial court incorrectly determined company could collect all delinquent taxes

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a $1.4 million judgment in favor of a company hired by Lake County to collect delinquent real property taxes, finding the lower court improperly interpreted the collections contracts as a matter of law.
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Justices remand dental office fire insurance dispute

March 12, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday reset the issues before a trial court in a dispute arising from a shortage in contents insurance after a fire at a dental office.
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Ex-attorney accused of stealing child's insurance settlement

March 12, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A northern Indiana man and former attorney faces additional theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $612,000 from an insurance settlement awarded to an injured child.
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Bill ensures that expungement law extends to individuals most deserving

March 12, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
As the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that tweaks Indiana’s 2013 expungement law, the author warned against nitpicking that might undo what he described as the “delicate balance” struck in the comprehensive measure.
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‘Master magistrate bill’ approved by senate committee

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
While the Senate Judiciary Committee moved a bill forward Wednesday that would provide additional magistrates for courts in seven counties, some members indicated a need to revisit in a future legislative session a push to require all judges, including those presiding over town and city courts, be attorneys.
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Judge urges legislators to clarify Castle Doctrine statute

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a case of first impression reversed a man’s conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer after finding he exercised reasonable force under I.C. 35-41-3-2(i)(2), the statute revised in response to a 2011 Supreme Court holding that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to battery or another violent act on a police officer. But one judge asked the Legislature to take another look at the statute for public policy reasons.
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COA affirms policy provides property damage coverage for abandoned sand

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its original decision Wednesday that an insurance policy covers property damage caused by 100,000 tons of foundry sand on property owned by FLM LLC.
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Public defender’s brief stricken, COA orders ‘competent counsel’ appointed

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reiterated Wednesday for at least the fourth time in seven years to a public defender that he cannot use the “manifestly unreasonable” argument to challenge a client’s voluntary manslaughter sentence.
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Teen’s adjudications overturned based on unlawful search

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis teenager suspected in two burglaries was subject to an unlawful pat down and search by an officer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. As such, the gun found on him should not have been admissible at his delinquency hearing.
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Canine sniff not allowed, but convictions still upheld

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Supreme Court of the United States decision issued shortly after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case now means that a canine sniff of a suspected drug dealer’s home was unconstitutional, the COA upheld the man’s convictions based on other evidence.
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Couple’s gun collection incorrectly classified as ‘household goods’

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The determination as to whether guns or a gun collection are “household goods” should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In a case before it Wednesday, the judges held that the large collection owned by a couple who are since deceased was incorrectly classified as “household goods.”
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'Elkhart Four' convictions put new spotlight on felony murder statute

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Three teens convicted of felony murder have asked the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn their convictions because they did not directly kill the victim.
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Decades-long fight over landfill quietly concludes

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
A 37-year fight over a planned solid waste landfill in Anderson ended recently, concluding one of the longest environmental battles in state history. Only a few loads of trash were ever dumped at the Mallard Lake Landfill, but fortunes were spent litigating it.
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Center Township Small Claims Court makes move Supreme Court previously blocked

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
New Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Brenda Roper is holding court in a new Marion County location that the Indiana Supreme Court less than two years ago found had significant access-to-justice issues.
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Anthem customers’ attorneys will have to prove injury

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Since health insurance giant Anthem Inc. announced millions of customers’ information had been stolen in a data breach, class-action lawsuits against the company have been filed in federal courts across the country. Although the breach is unprecedented and consumers are fearful their identities will be stolen, the plaintiffs may not have been harmed according to the law.
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Legislative debate highlights issues surrounding juvenile offenders

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A proposed change to Indiana’s juvenile law has state legislators wrestling with the question of when children should be treated like adults.
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Disciplinary Actions - 3/11/15

March 11, 2015
IL Staff
Read who recently had his suspension terminated by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Landowners may be on hook for contamination caused by tenants

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Lawyers say an appeals court ruling last year means landowners who learn of contamination on their property may be held liable for damages even if they did nothing to directly contribute to the pollution.
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Accident reconstruction advances light years in the last quarter-century

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Portage attorney Greg Sarkisian remembers a time when trying to convince a jury how a crash happened involved moving magnetic cars around on a board.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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