Courts

COA to webcast more arguments

January 6, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has announced plans to webcast most oral arguments in the Court of Appeals courtroom in the Statehouse.
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Justices: judicial discipline now moot

January 6, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has ended a disciplinary action against a former LaPorte Superior judge who'd served in senior capacity for three years because that jurist has retired and will no longer practice law.
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Court rules in transgender discrimination case

January 6, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
A District Court judge today granted summary judgment in favor of a convenience store company that was being sued by a transgender employee for sex discrimination after she was fired.
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Sexual misconduct may not be abusive

January 5, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated today a man's sentence following a guilty plea on a child pornography charge because it was unsure whether his previous conviction in Indiana for sexual misconduct with a minor should be considered abusive and allow for his minimum sentence to be increased.
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Justices split in traffic-stop decision

January 5, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
The Indiana Supreme Court justices were split in their decision issued Dec. 31 on whether a defendant's state and federal constitutional rights were violated when police questioned him about weapons and drugs after he was pulled over for a traffic violation.
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COA reverses assisting criminal conviction

January 5, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a woman's conviction of misdemeanor assisting a criminal Jan. 2 because the state failed to define "fugitive from justice" and prove the criminal was charged with an offense in another state and fled to Indiana.
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Justices consider 'costs' in UPL action

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana State Bar Association wants the state's highest court to define the term "costs and expenses" as it's never done before, and in doing so order a company being prosecuted for the Unauthorized Practice of Law to have to pay those fees and disgorge any profits it shouldn't have made in the first place.Hearing arguments today in State of Indiana, Ex. Rel. Indiana State Bar Association v. United Financial Systems Corp., No. 84S00-0810-MS-551, justices considered an issue of first...
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State wants detailed audit of corruption money

January 1, 2009
Michael HoskinsMore

Judges need more details on reduction denial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is sending the denial of a defendant's motion for a sentence reduction back to the District Court because the Circuit Court needs more than the one-sentence explanation given by the lower court. U.S. District Court Judge Larry J. McKinney of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, denied Kelvin Marion's motion to reduce his sentence under Section 3582(c)(2) on a form order that simply said "As directed by 18 U.S.C. § 3581(c)(2) the Court...
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UPDATE: Hamilton vote set for Thursday

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full U.S. Senate will hold a roll call vote at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on an Indianapolis judge's controversial nomination, deciding whether U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton will move up to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Eight months after President Barack Obama chose him, and five months after getting through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a partisan vote, Judge Hamilton will learn whether he'll be elevated to the appellate bench from the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, where he currently...
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Senate Judiciary sets nomination hearing

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week plans to consider an Indianapolis federal judge's nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.A hearing on U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton's nomination for the appellate seat is set for 2:30 p.m. April 1 in Washington, D.C., according to an agenda posted online today. The hearing will be webcast live. An assistant attorney general nominee for the Department of Justice is also scheduled to be considered at that hearing.President Barack Obama nominated...
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DCS sued for cuts to adoption, foster care rates

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Add foster and adoptive parents to the list of people unhappy with the Indiana Department of Child Services for making rate cuts in 2010. Some of those parents filed a class action suit Tuesday in federal court against DCS director James W. Payne in hopes of preventing the cuts. The foster and adoptive parents are unhappy about a 10 percent cut in all current foster care rates and adoption payments beginning January 2010. The parents received a letter from DCS...
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High court seeks comment on rule changes

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking comment on potential changes to the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules, Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Trial Rules. The court's Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is considering recommending to the high court changes to Professional Conduct Rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5, which deal with lawyer advertising, recommendations or solicitations of professional employment, and communication of specialty practice; Rules of Appellate Procedure 14, 18, 39, 41, 46, 49, and 50, which include interlocutory...
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Professor testifies about recusal

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
A professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommitee on Courts and Competition.Professor and judicial ethics expert Charles G. Geyh told the committee that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey serves as a wake-up call to state and federal courts to begin taking judicial disqualifications more seriously. Geyh gave a general outlook on judicial disqualification, noting the challenges in having sitting...
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Jefferson courts relocate, salvage documents

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Jefferson Superior and Circuit courts have relocated in Madison and are working to get their offices up and running to handle emergency matters. The courts were forced out of the Jefferson County Courthouse after a fire May 20. Circuit Court has moved to the Venture Out business center at 875 Industrial Dr. on the hill in Madison. Circuit Judge Ted Todd said the court is still trying to set up and is using folding tables and chairs until they can...
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Indiana Northern District judge dies

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp in the Northern District of Indiana died at his home Friday, ending more than 30 years on the federal bench. He was 77. A notice of his death was posted on the Northern District of Indiana's Web site Friday. Appointed to the federal bench Oct. 11, 1973, by President Richard Nixon, Judge Sharp took the bench that following month and served until taking senior status in November 2007. He was the fourth longest-serving active District judge in...
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COA: 'Serious deficiency' in treating mentally ill

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion today to highlight what it considered a "serious deficiency" in the statutes for the treatment of developmentally disabled and mentally ill people in the state's criminal courts. "Simply said, the Indiana statutory framework allows courts to recognize the mental illness of a criminal defendant only in terms of guilt for the crime alleged, rather than as a condition that prevents the defendant's ability to form a punishable intention to...
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BREAKING: COA says voter I.D. law unconstitutional

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's 4-year-old voter identification law is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. Finding that the statute regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial, a unanimous appellate panel has reversed and remanded a Marion Superior judge's decision and declared the statute void. The decision comes in League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40.This story will be updated.
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Justices: Attorneys must consult with clients

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended for three months a longtime attorney who prepared wills for clients without ever personally consulting with them.Issuing an order In the Matter of Paul J. Watts, No. 60S00-0809-DI-510, the justices ruled 4-1 that Spencer-based attorney Paul J. Watts, who's been practicing since 1974, should be suspended for 120 days starting Jan. 29, 2010. The order was posted online today and is dated Dec. 22.The case stems from a previous disciplinary action involving Bloomington attorney David...
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SCOTUS urged to not take Indiana case

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General's Office wants the nation's top jurists to reject a Hoosier case posing Fourth Amendment questions about police searches, valid search warrants, and probable cause.
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Judges reverse insurance double credit

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it issued a mother two health insurance credits instead of one, which led to a miscalculation of the child support owed between the parents, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In D.W. v. L.W., No. 20A04-0907-CV-375, father D.W. paid child support to his ex-wife L.W. for his three minor children, who lived with their mother. The mother paid nearly $57 a week in premiums for health insurance covering the three kids. One of the children...
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Judges disagree on intent issue in rape trial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed as to whether a defendant in a rape case put his intent at issue during trial by attempting to show his victim consented to sex with him.
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COA first court to join 'green' ABA program

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has been named as a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. The appellate court is the first court in the country to join the program.
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Judge questioned again for nomination

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
 U.S. District Chief Judge David F. Hamilton of Indianapolis appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon for a rare second hearing on his nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Lawmakers convened the second nomination hearing following complaints from Republican senators in early April about a lack of preparation time for the first hearing, which happened April 1. That hearing was just days before the Senate's two-week break before Easter, and Hamilton answered questions before senators about his 14 years...
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BREAKING: Senate Judiciary delays nomination vote

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed voting on the nomination of U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals because some senators are concerned about the Indianapolis jurist's record on the bench. Senators agreed during an executive business meeting this morning to hold over the nomination vote to the next meeting, which hasn't yet been set. Committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said the delay was because the new ranking Republican committee member, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,...
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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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