Courts

Court finds interview is not a violation of professional conduct rules

February 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A federal magistrate in Hammond has ruled there were no violations of the Indiana Professional Rules of Conduct when defense counsel interviewed a potential witness in preparation for trial after discovery had closed.
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Reprimand issued for ALJ in IURC-Duke scandal

February 6, 2014
Dave Stafford
A former administrative law judge with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has been reprimanded by the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled this week that a harsher sanction was unwarranted because he’d already been punished enough for seeking a job with Duke Energy while making rulings concerning the utility.
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COA: Lifetime suspension of driving privileges is not a punishment

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that his lifetime suspension of driving privileges is cruel and unusual punishment, upholding the suspension. They held the suspension is not punitive.
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Special prosecutor sought in Clark County Drug Court matter

February 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
Problems in a southern Indiana drug court – including the jailing of multiple people for months without due process – have led to a formal request for a special prosecutor.
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Senator steers clear of beer wholesaler legal battle

February 5, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
The Indiana Legislature won't interfere with beer wholesaler Monarch Beverage Co.'s quest in federal court for the right to distribute liquor.
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COA replaces opinion on post-conviction ruling with corrected version

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Acknowledging that the state is correct when it claims the Indiana Court of Appeals relied on the wrong Supreme Court decision in affirming the denial of a petition for post-conviction relief, the appellate court issued a new opinion Wednesday.
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Court prevents mother from relocating to Hawaii with daughter

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial court Wednesday that it is not in the best interests of a child to move to Hawaii with her mother and stepfather.
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7th Circuit rules for city on discrimination claims brought by black officers, firefighters

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment for the City of Indianapolis in two lawsuits brought by dozens of black police officers and firefighters over the examination process used by the city for promotions.
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Ruling prevents county from subrogating damages after courthouse fire

February 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday adopted the “majority approach” in a waiver of subrogation issue and concluded a southern Indiana county waived its right to subrogate any and all claims covered by its property insurance. Jefferson County sued contractors after its courthouse caught fire during renovations in 2009.
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Man is first charged under federal human trafficking law

February 5, 2014
IL Staff
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced Tuesday that his office has filed a nine-count federal indictment against an Indianapolis man for human trafficking. These are first-of-a-kind charges in Indiana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana.
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Southern District courts delay opening Wednesday

February 4, 2014
All locations of the United States District Court, Bankruptcy Court and Probation Office for the Southern District of Indiana will delay opening until noon local time. The delayed schedule is due to the winter storm approaching Indiana Tuesday evening.
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Judges order injunction against enforcement of permit policy

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who wanted to protest a proposed United Nations arms treaty on Indianapolis’ Monument Circle in 2012 but was kicked off the property because of a lack of permit was victorious in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday.
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COA affirms disability benefit for injured officer

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that the statute is ambiguous, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the Indiana Public Retirement System’s longtime use of a formula to calculate the disability benefits of a police officer shot while in the line of duty to be reasonable.
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Evidence supports CHINS finding, COA affirms

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Based on evidence that a mother continued to have extensive problems with drugs and violent relationships with her children’s fathers, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the determination that a woman’s two young children were children in need of services.
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Judges reduce restitution award stemming from correctional officer attack

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A partial permanent impairment settlement cannot be considered by a trial court when imposing restitution, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday.
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7th Circuit: Man’s offense level for selling gun was properly increased

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed the 60-month sentence imposed on a convicted felon prohibited from possessing a gun who sold the weapon to a man who was also prohibited from possessing a gun. The judges held that the District Court properly increased Darnell Jackson’s offense level because he committed separate offenses.
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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

February 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.
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Official declines to rule out airport location for Criminal Justice Complex

February 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior judges Monday heard an update on a proposed Criminal Justice Complex, and one asked if “we can put to rest” speculation that the courts and jail would move to a site at Indianapolis International Airport.
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Civil case filing now all electronic in Northern District

February 3, 2014
IL Staff
Beginning Monday, all new civil cases filed by counsel will be filed electronically in CM/ECF, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana has announced. Electronic filing will become mandatory as of Feb. 24. 
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Disability, religious-freedom claims clash at Indiana Supreme Court

February 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
An argument over dinner has taken on First Amendment religious-freedom and disability-protection dimensions before the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Marion County judges may tour other cities’ unified justice complexes

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior judges may soon visit cities having centralized justice centers to tour those facilities as Indianapolis and county officials move forward with plans for a Criminal Justice Complex.
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Marion County Small Claims bill may be headed for study committee

January 31, 2014
IL Staff
Legislation that would require Marion County Small Claims judges to select among themselves an administrative judge to carry out the duties currently performed by the Marion Circuit judge passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The committee also is asking for a study committee to look at Small Claims court administration.
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Evidence doesn’t show couple knew of mold when selling home

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed rulings in favor of the sellers of a home which later was found to contain mold. The buyers sued, claiming the sellers knew of the mold at the time of the sale, but the judges found the evidence shows otherwise.
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Court affirms 86-year-old uncle could consent to search

January 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his elderly uncle was a confused old man who was out of touch with reality and, therefore, unable to consent to a search of his home when police showed up looking to serve an arrest warrant. The search led to the arrest of the grandson on drug and weapons charges.
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Arguments rejected in juvenile molestation appeal

January 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An 11-year-old boy adjudicated delinquent for acts that would be Class B and Class C felony child molesting if committed by an adult failed to persuade a Court of Appeals panel Friday that statutes as applied to him are unconstitutionally vague and the evidence didn’t support a true finding.
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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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