Courts

BGBC: Court agrees with IRS that advanced client expenses are loans

January 29, 2014
An important U.S. Tax Court ruling last year may affect you and your law firm. The case settled a long-standing dispute between attorneys and the Internal Revenue Service regarding advanced client expenses for lawyers who handle cases on a contingency basis.
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COA finds attorney was not ineffective

January 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel with respect to either the manner in which voir dire was conducted or in the failure to object to the supplemental jury instruction defining “intentionally.”
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Trial court erred in disregarding psychiatrists’ unanimous finding

January 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who brutally attacked her boyfriend’s minor child had her conviction overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the trial court did not have enough evidence to contradict the psychiatrists’ reports and find her guilty but mentally ill.
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Nicknames properly admitted in sex with minor convictions

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Nicknames and aliases a defendant used were relevant to the charges he faced, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming felony convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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Raccoon hunter cleared of conviction for fetching wayward dog

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A raccoon hunter’s misdemeanor conviction was reversed Tuesday when appellate judges determined he wasn’t hunting or chasing wildlife when he retrieved his wandering dog from property where he didn’t have permission to hunt.
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In pollution suit rehearing, COA rejects fresh arguments

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on rehearing a decision that the Allen County Public Library could pursue damages against contractors resulting from a diesel spill during a building project. A panel rejected arguments from defendants that it said violated a “cardinal rule” because they were raised for the first time on rehearing.
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7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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ICLEO application deadline nears

January 28, 2014
IL Staff
College graduates eligible for the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity have little more than two weeks to submit applications to be selected for the 2014 ICLEO Fellowship Summer Institute from June 15-July 25 at Valparaiso University Law School.
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Public access to death records gets Supreme Court review

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A newspaper denied a request to obtain information in death records from a local health department will have an opportunity to make its case before the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Marion County courts closed Tuesday; state courts delayed

January 27, 2014
IL Staff
Marion County Circuit and Superior Courts in the Indianapolis City-County Building will be closed Tuesday in anticipation of dangerously cold weather. State court operations in Indianapolis, meanwhile, will delay opening until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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Defendant entitled to cash bail refund under former statute

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to a refund of a $250 cash bond. The COA reversed a Monroe Circuit order denying a motion for release of cash bond dating to 2003.
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Appeals court affirms multiple sex-crimes, 100-year sentence

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Multiple convictions were upheld Monday against a man who had threatened, confined and sexually assaulted three Indianapolis women he picked up after offering them money for sex.
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COA vacates sex-abuse confinement conviction as double jeopardy

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday vacated a conviction of Class C felony criminal confinement for a man also convicted of Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, finding the lesser conviction resulted in double jeopardy.
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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Bill proposes modest Marion County small claims reforms

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Modest reforms to the derided Marion County township small claims courts are proposed in a bill scheduled to get a committee hearing Wednesday.
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7th Circuit bars Indianapolis’ hour limits on adult bookstores

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has tossed an Indianapolis ordinance limiting the business hours of adult bookstores from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
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Supreme Court extends audio-video transcript pilot project

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pilot project in three Indiana courts that replaces written transcripts with audio/video camera recordings has been extended and expanded because two of the three courts haven’t generated the anticipated number of appeals necessary to evaluate the system.
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COA Judge Riley to chair access to civil legal services panel

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley has been appointed to chair the Commission to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services created last year by order of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Indiana Supreme Court appoints attorney to fill Judge Brown’s post

January 24, 2014
IL Staff
Indianapolis criminal defense attorney David Cook has been appointed as judge pro tempore to fill the duties of suspended Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown.
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Divided panel: OWI-causing-death retrial not double jeopardy

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel upheld a man’s conviction and 14-year sentence for driving while intoxicated causing death, but a dissenting judge said the unusual case history that led to the outcome constituted double jeopardy.
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Court affirms higher home assessment as compared to neighbors

January 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Thursday affirmed the 2007 assessment of a property in an upscale community on Lake Michigan, rejecting the homeowner’s argument that the assessment should be lower because surrounding homes were assessed at a lower ratio when taking into account the prices at which the homes were sold.
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Split opinion: Disclosure of insurance policy limit is reversible error

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Ruling on an issue of first impression, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a jury’s award of $250,000 to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. The majority remanded for a new trial, holding that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.
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Appeals panel upholds $3.9M verdict for bicyclist hit by school bus

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A student riding his bicycle to school on Washington Street in Indianapolis was hit by a school bus and critically injured, and a jury’s $3.9 million judgment in his favor was proper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges reverse possession of meth, paraphernalia convictions

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a consolidated appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Huntington County man’s convictions and sentences for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, ruling the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence purportedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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