Courts

Appeals court OKs dead witness's video testimony

June 24, 2014
 Associated Press
The state Court of Appeals has upheld a northern Indiana judge's decision to allow videotaped statements from a dead witness to be used in an upcoming murder trial.
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Justices decline to take divorce case involving lump sum SSDI payment

June 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Supreme Court will let stand the lower court ruling that affirmed a lump sum Social Security Disability Insurance payment was not an asset of marriage subject to division.
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Judges vacate 2 conditions of supervised release

June 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because two special conditions imposed on a man convicted of attempted extortion do not bear a reasonably direct relationship to his underlying crimes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated those conditions.
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COA: No material discrepancy between deposition, testimony

June 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a doctor in a lawsuit alleging medical malpractice, finding the trial court should not have stricken the affidavit of the plaintiffs’ expert witness.
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2 contractors accused of wage violations accept plea deals

June 23, 2014
Dennis Barbosa
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office has reached plea agreements in two cases in which a contractor was accused of paying workers less than the required wage on publicly financed projects.
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Justices limit existing EPA global warming rules

June 23, 2014
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday placed limits on the sole Obama administration program already in place to deal with power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming.
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Justices affirm convictions after toddler found wandering by police

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the admittance of drugs and other evidence obtained by police after searching an apartment following a report of an unattended child. The justices found both parents gave their consent for police to make sure the apartment was fit before returning the child to their care.
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Pawn shop owner loses case based on ‘class-of-one’ theory

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Evansville pawn shop owner couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the state singled him out for disparate treatment without a rational basis when it initially denied his application for a pawnbroking license.
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COA: Debt collector not entitled to attorney fees under agreement

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A company assigned to collect on a woman’s medical debt cannot also collect attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The agreement the woman signed with a medical provider that allows for the collection of attorney fees did not apply to the physician group which assigned her debt to the collections company.
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Treble damages under Sales Rep Act not subject to Punitive Damages Act

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously held Thursday that treble damages under the Sales Representative Act are not subject to the Punitive Damages Act.
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Janitor loses pro se complaint alleging discrimination

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals noted that it was a “close call” whether a man worked in a hostile work environment as a school temporary janitor, but judges found that he could not meet his legal burden to prove that he suffered severe or pervasive harassment based on his race.
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Judge removes herself from county treasurer cases

June 19, 2014
 Associated Press
The judge overseeing the case of a central Indiana treasurer charged with mishandling public money and a lawsuit aimed at removing him from office has disqualified herself from both cases.
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State appeals ruling recognizing single same-sex marriage

June 19, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse an Indianapolis federal judge’s ruling requiring the state to recognize the same-sex marriage of two women, one of whom is gravely ill.
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Judge concerned insurance ruling has ‘broad-range consequences’ for future cases

June 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a lengthy opinion Thursday dealing with an insurance coverage dispute between a company headquartered in Indiana and its insurers regarding claims from Taiwanese workers that they were made ill from contaminants from a manufacturing plant.
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7th Circuit: Defendant’s counsel not ineffective

June 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday declined to find that a defendant’s appointed attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel requiring the court to vacate or correct his 20-year sentence.
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SCOTUS nixes patent on financial risk software in closely watched case

June 19, 2014
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States has tossed out an Australian company's patent for business software in a closely watched case that clarifies standards for awarding patents.
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2 convicted for roles in death of fellow inmate

June 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Two inmates at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution have been convicted for their roles in the death of a fellow inmate, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced Wednesday. William J. Bell and Lenard Dixon were recently ordered to wear modified leg restraints during their trial.
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Commission announces new fees for CLE

June 19, 2014
IL Staff
Attorneys and sponsors who are late in reporting attendance to the Indiana Commission for Continuing Legal Education will be subject to up to a $50 fee, according to an order released by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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How the Supreme Court handles death cases

June 19, 2014
 Associated Press
Supreme Court of the United States decisions to allow inmates to be put to death or to grant a rare reprieve often come at the last minute, and sometimes after the appointed hour of execution has come and gone.
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Ogden receives 30-day suspension for criticizing judge

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Indianapolis attorney and blogger Paul Ogden has been suspended for 30 days by the Indiana Supreme Court based on comments he made regarding a judge who presided over an estate case involving Ogden’s client.
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US Supreme Court declines to hear Fort Wayne case

June 18, 2014
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The case of an Ohio man sentenced to 60 years for killing a man he found sleeping in a motel room where he and other traveling magazine vendors were staying is headed to the Indiana Court of Appeals after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear it.
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COA rules against bank in lien dispute

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Wells Fargo Bank could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse default judgment entered against it in favor of two companies trying to foreclose on mechanic’s liens. The court also had a warning for litigants when filing amended complaints.
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COA split over whether convicted murderer needs new trial

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a murder conviction Wednesday after the defendant argued his right to confront witnesses against him was violated. But one judge on the panel agreed with Michael Torres and wrote in his dissent that Torres should have a new trial.
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Order requiring man to participate in sex offender program not unconstitutional

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that the order requiring a man to participate in the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program does not violate Indiana’s prohibition of ex post facto laws.
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7th Circuit: Attorney provided effective assistance to man facing drug charges

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to object to an interpreter arrangement during a witness’s testimony and chose not to have all of discovery translated into Spanish.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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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