Courts

President signs new federal IP law: Legislation considers piracy issues, creates 'copyright czar'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The United States is stepping up to better protect intellectual property. If there was any doubt before, it's official now with a new law signed by President George W. Bush Oct. 13. Known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or PRO IP for short, the law is designed to strengthen existing copyright laws, create civil forfeiture clauses so equipment believed to be used in an IP crime can be seized, and establish a cabinet-level position...
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COA differs on when 'critical stage' starts

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges agreed that a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of a polygraph test should have been granted by the trial court. But the judges had differing reasons for granting the reversal of the trial court, with the majority deviating from precedent on when the right to counsel begins.In Thomas E. Caraway v. State of Indiana, No. 47A01-0709-CR-416, Thomas Caraway appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress and exclude all evidence of a...
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Court: father not responsible for late payment

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court denial of a father's post-dissolution motion for rule to show cause why his ex-wife shouldn't be held in contempt, and remanded for the court to enter a new order. In John L. Richardson v. Susan E. Hansrote, No. 72A01-0706-CV-288, Richardson appealed the trial court denial, raising three issues: whether the trial court erred when it determined he had a child-support arrearage; whether the error by the court clerk, who mistakenly applied Richardson's child...
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COA: State can't claim adverse possession

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The state can't obtain title to a disputed tract of land through adverse possession because the state can't satisfy the tax requirements in Indiana statute regarding adverse possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a case of first impression.In State of Indiana v. Jeanette Serowiecki, No. 56A04-0710-CV-576, the state appealed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Jeanette Serowiecki on the state's complaint to quiet title to an 18.6-acre tract of land in Newton County. Serowiecki is trustee...
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Non-violent orders challenged

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence with the assistance of pro bono attorneys in Baker & Daniels' Indianapolis office filed notice of appeal July 22 for two non-violent contact orders issued in Marion County. The non-violent distinction means that the respondent can have contact with the petitioner as long as it isn't violent contact. Earlier on the same day in Indianapolis, Carl Wills allegedly killed his ex-wife, April Wills, her boyfriend, and then killed himself. Records show that Carl had a history of...
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Technical glitch, now fixed, hits revised opinions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Attorneys who logged on this morning to the Indiana Judiciary Web site to read and print opinions were met with a challenge: you could view, but couldn't print.The first Court of Appeals opinions of the New Year were password protected and locked so that people accessing the online opinions were unable to print them.That was an internal, unintended glitch and the problem's been resolved, according to Supreme Court Administrator and Appellate Clerk Kevin Smith.The opinions posted earlier this morning disappeared temporarily...
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Governor appoints Bluffton judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed a new Bluffton City Court judge Feb. 28, choosing a retired car dealership owner. Robert J. Bate succeeds Judge Gary Markley, who resigned Jan. 15.Bate was owner and president of Bob Bate Chevrolet Inc. in Ossian from 1979 to 2000. He was elected five times to serve on the Bluffton City Council between 1987 and 2007. Bate's appointment is effective immediately.
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Judge: Sex offender law goes too far

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Those registered sex offenders who've served their time and are no longer on probation or under court supervision cannot be required to give blanket consent to authorities for home and computer searches, the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana's chief judge ruled late afternoon on June 24.U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton in Indianapolis struck down a major portion of a new law set to take effect July 1, which would have required all convicted sex offenders to agree to...
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Post-conviction relief case gets transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer May 2 to a case in which the defendant was denied post-conviction relief. In Roderick Lee v. State of Indiana, No. 27A04-0705-PC-257, Lee filed a petition for relief asserting he received ineffective assistance from his trial and appellate counsel. The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected Lee's arguments that his trial and appellate counsel - the same attorney - was ineffective because the attorney failed to argue that entering judgments on Lee's convictions of burglary and attempted robbery violate...
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Justices rule on sentencing scheme

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has once again influenced the state's criminal sentencing scheme in a pair of rulings that are the latest in a post-Blakely world.Justices issued decisions Thursday in Rosalio Pedraza v. State of Indiana, No. 49S04-0711-CR-516, and Michael Sweatt v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-0805-CR-290, which when read together offer trial courts guidance about using a person's criminal history and enhancing penalties.The court held that double enhancements are allowed using a single element of criminal history, but consecutive sentences can't be...
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Allen County judge regrets misconduct

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Allen County judge has publicly expressed his deep regret for failing to control his emotions late last year when he verbally berated members of a defendant's family following a sentencing hearing.Allen Superior Judge Kenneth R. Scheibenberger filed a formal answer Aug. 8 to the charges lodged against him July 15 by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications. The judicial disciplinary body has charged him with four counts of misconduct for his behavior in a fellow jurist's courtroom in November.At that...
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COA panel to consider public access

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel wants to know why parties have not submitted what it calls "a meaningful public access set of briefs" related to product-liability claims against Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp. The state's second highest appellate court has a public hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. March 25 in Allianz Insurance Co., et al. v. Guidant Corp., et al., No. 49A05-0704-CV-216, where judges will consider the balance of public interest for access with the need for restricting access relating to the Marion...
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Parts of Indiana Code now in Spanish

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Select portions of the 2006 and 2007 Indiana Code have been translated into Spanish, the Indiana Supreme Court has announced. An alphabetical index of terms and a glossary outlining topic areas also were translated. The goal of the translation is to better serve the Spanish-speaking population and those who represent them. By translating some of the basic codes, interpreters will be able to use the same terms for charges and it will create a standard document of legal terminology. The translations...
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Profession marks 50th Law Day today

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
Bar associations and courts in Indiana and nationwide are celebrating Law Day this week. Today marks the official 50th anniversary, according to the American Bar Association, which has named this year's theme, "Foundation for Communities of Opportunity and Equity."Today, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard was scheduled to speak at a luncheon and award presentation in Fort Wayne, while members of the St. Joseph and Lake County bar associations, among other attorneys around Indiana, will speak to high school and junior high...
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Tinder authors first 7th Circuit opinion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Judge John Tinder, formerly of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, now on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, released his first authored opinion today with the federal appellate court. Judge Tinder joined the 7th Circuit in January. Judge Tinder wrote the 22-page opinion in Jeanette Petts v. Rockledge Furniture LLC, a division of Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., No. 07-1989, in which he and Judges Kenneth Ripple and Diane Sykes affirmed the decision of the U.S. District Court, Western...
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Former Marion Superior Court judge dies

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A former Marion Superior Court judge and Indianapolis City-County councilor died March 5 of natural causes. Judge Z. Mae Jimison was the first African-American woman to serve as judge in Marion Superior Court. Judge Jimison, 64, served on the bench from 1996 to 2002 and spent much of that time creating and supervising Marion County's Drug Court. In 1999, she applied to become a justice on the Indiana Supreme Court after Justice Myra C. Selby announced she would step down to return to...
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Lack of surgery doesn't support jury instruction

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a jury award and remanded for a new trial after ruling there was insufficient evidence to support an affirmative defense of a failure to mitigate damages instruction to the jury because a plaintiff failed to have surgery. In Elwood and Lila Simmons v. Erie Insurance Exchange, No. 32A04-0710-CV-552, the couple appealed a judgment awarding them each $10,000 following an automobile accident involving Elwood and another driver, who was at fault. They filed a complaint seeking underinsured...
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New legal center opens in Marion County

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Marion Superior Court Family Resource Center - created by the Family Court Project for families with legal disputes - opens Monday and will offer easier access to information about legal and social services resources. The center will provide resources and referrals for various services such as domestic violence, protective orders, substance-abuse treatment options, and how to find an attorney. Residents filing pro se will be able to view videos that walk them through the self-representation process, as well as use...
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COA to hear sex offender arguments Monday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a case regarding the state's sex offender residency law March 31 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis.In State of Indiana v. Anthony W. Pollard, Pollard is a convicted sex offender who has lived for 20 years within 1,000 feet of a property where children could gather. He was charged for violating Indiana Code 35-42-4-11 and told that he could no longer live in his home. Pollard argues the law was...
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Justices grant transfer in 2 cases

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers this week.Justices will consider an Indiana State University case involving unemployment benefits for a discharged university professor, and another case delving into the attorney general's power to demand discovery in consumer complaint investigations.One transfer comes in the combined appeals of Liberty Publishing Inc. and Nu-Sash of Indianapolis v. Steve Carter, No. 49A02-0606-CV-502, which the state's appellate court ruled on June 25. The appeals court affirmed Marion Superior Court judgments that the attorney general has the...
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Marion Superior Judge Charles Deiter dies

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana has lost a longtime Marion County judge who's been on the probate bench for three decades and was considered one of the state's top probate jurists.Marion Superior Judge Charles Deiter, 71, who presided over the court's probate division, lost a battle to cancer this morning, according to his colleague and longtime friend Judge Tanya Walton Pratt."He was a wonderful judge, someone who was well-loved by everyone in the community and on the bench," said Judge Pratt, who said the two...
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Lawyer convicted of battery, confinement

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana attorney often in trouble with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission was convicted Friday of crimes against a woman in a wheelchair. Northern Indiana attorney Michael Haughee was convicted of sexual battery and criminal confinement, both Class D felonies, and interference with the reporting of a crime, a Class A misdemeanor. Haughee was arrested in October 2006 following an incident at the woman's home. Haughee claimed he went to the woman's house to register her to vote. At the...
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Equal pay lawsuit heads to trial

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A $42 million class action lawsuit involving Indiana state employees is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 19 in Marion Superior Court. The lawsuit was brought by state employees who worked more hours than other state employees in comparable jobs. In Paula Brattain, et al. v. Richmond State Hospital, et al., No. 49D11-0108-CP-1309, the class seeks compensation from the state for an estimated 15,000 state employees who were required to work a 40-hour week while some employees in similar positions at...
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In vitro firing case one of first impression

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
In the first of its kinds for any federal appellate court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of an Indiana woman who claimed she was wrongly fired for taking time off work to have in vitro fertilization.The 7th Circuit issued its decision on the Illinois case Wednesday in Cheryl Hall v. Nalco Co., No. 06-3684, a case that could have implications for women workers across the country. The appellate panel reversed a ruling from U.S. District Judge David...
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Judges differ on day-care credit, child support

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel disagrees about whether or not a parent who uses day care when he or she isn't working is entitled to a child-support tax credit.In Craig Cross v. Victoria Cross, No. 49A05-0802-CV-94, authoring Judge Elaine Brown and Judge Paul Mathias ruled the trial court erred in ordering father Craig Cross to pay $30 more a week to pay for Victoria Cross' work-related day care for their adult child with autism. At issue is whether or not the...
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