Courts

COA: Insurance policy not contrary to code

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A minimum-coverage insurance company's policy language that excludes coverage for leased vehicles in certain circumstances isn't contrary to Indiana Code, the Court of Appeals ruled today. In the appeal of Safe Auto Insurance Co. v. Enterprise Leasing Company of Indianapolis, et al., No. 01A02-0712-CV-1120, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Enterprise Leasing on Safe Auto Insurance's complaint for declaratory judgment. Safe Auto filed the complaint arguing its policyholder, Jeffrey Harrison, was not...
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Court agrees with IDEM on 'public water system'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management was correct in interpreting a federal safe drinking water act to mean that a public water system can be composed of separate, unconnected wells serving a larger area together, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In IDEM v. Construction Management Associates L.L.C. and Hilltop Farms, No. 52A02-0711-CV-994, a three-judge panel reversed a Miami Circuit judge's ruling that the state agency had incorrectly determined that separate, unconnected wells constituted a public water system and required the apartment...
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Supreme Court rules on belated appeals

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to two cases dealing with belated appeals. The high court granted transfer with opinion in Demond Hughes v. State of Indiana, No. 49S04-0802-CR-86. At issue was whether Hughes was allowed to file a belated appeal to challenge the appropriateness of his 40-year concurrent sentence. Hughes pleaded guilty to felony murder and Class A misdemeanor reckless possession of a handgun. Initially, the trial court sentenced Hughes to a 50-year concurrent sentence, with five years suspended. Hughes...
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Former recorder's extortion convictions upheld

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a former Lake County Recorder's convictions of extortion, but remanded so that his sentence could be revised because the District Court placed too much weight on following the sentencing guidelines.In United States of America v. Morris Carter, No. 06-2412, Morris Carter challenged his three convictions and sentence of 51 months of incarceration on extortion charges. Carter was found guilty of violating the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1951(a) while he was still county recorder....
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Peace of mind restored: Cemetery trust case results in multi-million dollar settlement

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
It was bad enough that Cecilia Means had to watch as her grandmother's casket was pulled from a waterlogged gravesite where it had been buried for 17 years. On that day in March 2007, the southeast Indiana woman stood covering her mouth and sobbing as workers pulled the stainless steel casket from several feet of muddy brown water and a steady stream of water leaked from where the lid joined the sides. That day seemed liked a nightmare at the 40-acre...
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Pro bono services conclave April 25

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The deadline to RSVP for the conclave on the delivery of pro bono services in Indiana has been extended through Monday, April 14. A subcommittee of the Indiana State Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee has organized the all-day event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25 at Barnes & Thornburg Conference Center, 11 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis. Event organizers extended the deadline to RSVP after realizing some people were on spring break this week. The event will feature education and...
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UPDATE: Voter ID questions remain

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier voters should be ready to show their government-issued photo identification at the polls next week after the Supreme Court of the United States gave a green light to Indiana's voter ID law. Other states may follow suit following the high court's ruling Monday that upheld Indiana's three-year-old statute.But voters and the legal community should be just as ready for a new wave of Election Day regulation and subsequent litigation because six justices agreed to some extent that voters could...
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Allen County judge arrested

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Allen County judge was arrested in Indianapolis for allegedly driving drunk and is scheduled to appear in Marion Superior Court Wednesday.Indiana State Capitol Police, a division of the Indiana State Police, stopped a car driven by Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts early on the morning of July 18 for a traffic violation in downtown Indianapolis. As the police officer began to get out of his car, Judge Felts' car backed up and struck the police vehicle, according to a police...
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Court: EPA approval required for expansion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Porter County sewer company must receive prior approval from the Environmental Protection Agency per a federal consent decree in order to be able to expand its services, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. The appeal from the Indiana Regulatory Commission, Application of South Haven Sewer Works, Inc., City of Portage v. South Haven Sewer Works, Inc., No. 93A02-0703-EX-204, came before the court because the City of Portage believed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's grant of a certificate of territorial authority...
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High court ponders sex-offender registry law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Supreme Court justices this morning listened to arguments in the cases of two convicted sex offenders who are challenging a state law requiring them to register for life on a public database, even though they weren't required to do so at the time of their criminal convictions.The arguments came in the combined case of Todd L. Jensen v. State and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 02S04-0803-CR-137, which delves into issues with the state's sex-offender registry the court hasn't explored...
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Judge orders new Cinergy trial

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ordered a new trial for Cinergy Corp because the energy company now owned by Duke Energy committed misconduct earlier this year and tainted the liability phase of the litigation. U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney issued a 29-page decision in U.S., et al. v. Cinergy Corp, et al., 1:99-cv-1693, on Thursday, unsealing it and making the ruling public Dec. 22. "In summary, the Court concludes that Cinergy's misrepresentations about payment of one of its fact...
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Issue of fact exists in firefighter demotion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court grant of summary judgment because there is a genuine issue of fact as to why a firefighter was demoted. In Jeffrey Kochis v. City of Hammond, Indiana, et al., No. 45A03-0709-CV-445, Kochis appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Hammond in his complaint that he had been demoted even though no charges had been filed against him and that he didn't receive due process. Kochis had been a firefighter with the...
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SCOTUS decides Indiana pro se case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has found that a criminal defendant who's been declared competent to stand trial does not necessarily have the right to represent himself.About 10 minutes into its public sitting that started at 10 a.m., the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 7-2 ruling in Indiana v. Edwards, No. 07-208. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the opinion, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting. Opinions are typically posted on the high court's Web site within an hour of...
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Breaking News: Judge, commissioner face charges

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Breaking News: April 4, 2008 A Marion County judge and his part-time commissioner face nearly a dozen judicial misconduct charges each for delays and dereliction of duty that resulted in an Indianapolis man staying in prison for almost two years after DNA testing cleared him of a 1984 rape.The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission late Wednesday afternoon filed charges against Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Commissioner Nancy L. Broyles, relating to their involvement in a post-conviction case for Harold D....
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Sole justice disagrees with sentencing transfer

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has cut an Indianapolis child molester's prison sentence in half from 120 to 60 years, reanalyzing the penalty he received for being convicted of multiple counts of victimizing his stepdaughter.But one of the state's top jurists objected to the court accepting this sentencing case, emphasizing that reviewing and revising this penalty goes against the high court's role as one of "last resort" and could lead to trial judges being less cautious and measured in sentencing.A 4-1 ruling...
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Juvenile's DOC placement affirmed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Addressing the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals supported a juvenile court's decision to place an illegal immigrant juvenile delinquent with the Department of Corrections instead of deporting him back to his home country. In J.S. v. State of Indiana, No. 15A01-0706-JV-276, J.S., a 15-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, appealed his placement in the DOC. The boy, who had already once illegally entered the U.S. and was arrested in Kentucky for driving without a license and deported, was...
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Court tosses man's stalking conviction

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Simply parking on a public street and watching someone's home doesn't alone fall within the definition of "impermissible" conduct and can't be considered stalking, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In a case of first impression, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 on Donald D. Vanhorn v. State of Indiana, 84-A01-0711-CR-505, overturning the Terre Haute man's conviction for felony stalking. At issue in the case was the interplay between "harassment" and "impermissible contact" and whether enough evidence existed to support a stalking conviction.Donald...
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Court: S.C. decision not retroactive

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that retroactivity doesn't apply to a year-old Indiana Supreme Court decision that held charging information must be amended within 30 days before the omnibus date.As a result of the ruling, a Hendricks County man convicted of child molesting doesn't get relief.At issue in Terry Leatherwood's appeal in Terry Leatherwood v. State of Indiana, No. 32A05-0710-PC-573, is whether the post-conviction court erred in refusing to apply the holding of Fajardo...
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Newest COA judge's robing ceremony Friday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The newest Indiana Court of Appeals judge will formally join the court Friday. Judge Elaine Brown's robing ceremony will be in the courtroom of the Indiana Supreme Court. Judge Brown's first day on the court was May 5. Chief Judge John Baker will preside over the ceremony, and Gov. Mitch Daniels will join Judge Brown's family, colleagues, and special guests to administer the oath of office. Judge Brown was named to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Gov. Daniels earlier this...
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Indiana RICO Act applies to 'foot soldiers'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Supreme Court decision Feb. 27 regarding the state's racketeering laws creates a larger net of potential defendants that can be charged under it. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that under Indiana's RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, a person can be implicated under the state act even if he or she doesn't participate in directing the racketeering activity. In Linda Keesling, Harold Lephart, et al. v. Frederick Beegle III, John Bucholtz, et al., No. 18S04-0704-CV-150, the high court accepted...
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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers Thursday for cases originating in Evansville - one involves a shopping center and access to a public thoroughfare, and the other deals with the failure to make payments for the modification of a Web site. In State of Indiana v. Kimco of Evansville Inc., et al., No. 82A01-0607-CV-301, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a $2.3 million jury award that stemmed from a road project in 2000 impacting a shopping plaza along State Road...
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Judge: Prisoner suit can proceed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
  A federal judge has decided a state prison inmate can proceed with his lawsuit against a Department of Correction official and food service provider, claiming that both denied him enough food to stay healthy and went against a medically prescribed diet restricting onions.U.S. District Judge William Lee in South Bend ordered March 11 that Joshua Ketchem be allowed to proceed with his suit filed in January 2007. The case is Joshua Ketchum v. J. David Donahue, et al., No. 3:07-CV-316 WL.A prisoner...
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Attorneys urged to learn court technology

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Ever worried about what happens if you don't know, understand, or use courtroom technology correctly in preparing for trial?A new video from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana offers a glimpse into the possibilities, from the dramatic portrayal of a federal judge dozing off during trial to a nervous attorney sweating profusely in court when jurors and courtroom staff can't hear him.After updating its Web site and revising a video on the Video Evidence Presentation System late...
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SCOTUS makes history, shoots down gun ban

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Answering a 217-year-old constitutional question, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling this morning that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to have a gun in his or her home.The ideologically split 5-4 decision in District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, No. 07-290, struck down a city handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and defined the scope of the gun rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the 21st century.Specific to this case, the court affirmed a Circuit Court ruling...
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Judges disagree over 'access' in statute

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their ruling today on a man who was convicted of performance harmful to minors, with the majority affirming the conviction.In Frederick A. Zitlaw v. State of Indiana, No. 29A05-0701-CR-35, Zitlaw appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the performance harmful to minors charge, a Class D felony. A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy saw Zitlaw expose himself in a public park. The probable cause affidavit alleged children were present in the park....
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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