Courts

Governor: Mark Massa 'superb choice' for Supreme Court

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
On Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard's final day as a member of the Indiana Supreme Court, Gov. Mitch Daniels named Mark S. Massa, a former state and federal prosecutor, as the state’s newest justice.
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Mark Massa named Indiana Supreme Court justice

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels has chosen Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Director Mark S. Massa as the state’s newest Supreme Court justice.
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COA: Independent contractor's death already compensated

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has determined that the estate of an independent contractor who fell off a ladder and died was properly compensated through the state workers' compensation act, and the man’s estate cannot later claim that his injuries occurred outside the scope of employment.
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Justices uphold probation revocation for child support non-payment

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
A trial judge was correct in revoking a man’s probation based on his failure to pay weekly child support as a condition of his probation, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.
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Divided Supreme Court orders new murder trial

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Three justices have tossed out a murder conviction, ordering a new trial on the grounds that the trial judge should have given the jury the option to consider a lesser offense of reckless homicide.
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Judges rule on Evansville environmental coverage case

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has determined a Marion County judge properly granted summary judgment in favor of a group of insurance companies because the city of Evansville was seeking coverage for projects aimed at preventing future sewer discharges, rather than remediating past discharges, which wouldn’t be covered by the policies.
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Court rules FSSA notices are unconstitutional

March 22, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has held that the notices sent by the state Family and Social Services Administration to inform applicants they were denied Medicaid, food stamps, or family assistance benefits are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause because they do not sufficiently explain the reasons for being denied.
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Supreme Court examines Indiana's blacklisting statute

March 22, 2012
Michael Hoskins
In declaring precedent from 1904 bad law, the Indiana Supreme Court has determined that individuals who’ve voluntarily left employment can pursue a claim against their former employers under the state’s blacklisting statute.
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Judges disagree on meaning of language in city ordinance

March 22, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court in a property dispute, but Judge Ezra Friedlander disagreed with the majority based on his interpretation of “conspicuous change.”
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Justices disagree on pollution exclusion coverage

March 22, 2012
Michael Hoskins
A divided Indiana Supreme Court has held that the pollution exclusion contained in a general commercial liability policy is ambiguous and should be construed to provide coverage rather than in favor of the insurance company trying to deny coverage.
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Justices rule on construction manager's duty for jobsite safety

March 22, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has held that a construction manager on the Lucas Oil Stadium construction project didn’t have a legal duty to ensure jobsite safety to a subcontractor’s employee either by contract or individual actions, and as a result, cannot be held liable for workplace negligence.
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Judges uphold sanction against attorney

March 22, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals made two minor corrections to its original opinion ordering an attorney to pay appellate fees due to his conduct in a purported class-action lawsuit against Clarian Health Partners, but upheld the order the attorney pay the fees.
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Governor signs bill inspired by Supreme Court ruling

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed Senate Enrolled Act 1 into law Tuesday evening. The legislation deals with the right of people to defend against unlawful entry and was created in response to the Indiana Supreme Court ruling in Barnes v. State.
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High court upholds stalking conviction

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
It’s up to a trier of fact to determine if someone’s conduct involved repeated or continuing harassment to qualify as stalking, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, since there is no statutorily determinate timeframe required for this type of conviction.
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Majority upholds finding of contempt

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Three Indiana justices affirmed a trial court order finding a business owner, his attorney and an environmental firm in contempt for doing work on a site with possible environmental issues after a temporary restraining order had been issued.
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Supreme Court declines to set aside tax deed

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a trial court’s decision to set aside a tax deed, finding the Marion County auditor’s office satisfied the due process requirement articulated by the United States Supreme Court.
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Justices explain opinion in IBM case

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Last month, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Mitch Daniels doesn’t have to testify in the dispute between the state and IBM regarding a cancelled contract to modernize the state’s welfare system. On Wednesday, the justices explained their reasoning.
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Judges revise murder sentence

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the murder conviction of a defendant who killed a Bloomington man in response to a sexual assault, but found the circumstances around the killing warranted a lesser sentence.
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COA affirms ruling in favor of mining company, DNR

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the decision to release a surface mining reclamation bond obtained by a mining company, finding the reclamation requirements of the Indiana Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act have been satisfied.
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Appellate court split on ordering new trial for mom

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a woman convicted of killing her son by setting fire to their home in 1996 receive a new trial, although one judge believed she did not meet her burden to prevail on appeal from the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief.
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Justices affirm ruling in dispute between health care facility and FSSA

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the outcome of a case between Family and Social Services Administration and a decertified intermediate care facility, in which the net result was a wash for both sides.
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Justices disagree on whether jury instruction requires new trial

March 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The majority of Indiana justices ordered a new trial on liability for a school corporation being sued for wrongful death, finding one of the jury instructions could have misled the jury about a key issue regarding liability.
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Justices rule on underinsured motorist coverage case

March 20, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has held that a tortfeasor’s vehicle was underinsured according to state statute because the benefit amount actually paid to a woman was less than the per-person limit of liability of the underinsurance endorsement of an insurance policy that applied to all the family members involved in the accident.
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7th Circuit remands Section 1983, wrongful death suits

March 20, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the trial court to take another look at two cases combined on appeal, which stem from the death of an inmate at the Elkhart County jail.
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Supreme Court rules on habitual-offender filing issue

March 20, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has found that a man convicted of helping to rob a restaurant did not preserve the issue of whether the trial court properly determined he was a habitual offender that could receive an enhanced sentence.
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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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