Courts

High court to hear 2 arguments Thursday

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases Thursday to determine whether a health services provider is entitled to interest on payment owed for services and if a city had missed the statute of limitations to bring contamination-related claims against a company.At 9 a.m., the high court will hear arguments on Cooper Industries, LLC, et al. v. City of South Bend and The South Bend Redevelopment Commission, No. 49A04-0511-CV-637, in which the Court of Appeals reversed the Marion Superior Court's...
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Popular online guidelines made user-friendly

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The parenting time and child support guidelines on the Indiana Supreme Court's Web site just got a little friendlier to use. The guidelines have been reformatted to allow easier printing. The Supreme Court received feedback about the challenges the public, courts, and clerks' offices were having in printing and making copies of the guidelines because they were lengthy. The number of pages for the parenting time guidelines has been reduced from 27 to 15 pages; the child support guidelines shrank from...
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Boone County courts seek rule comments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Boone Circuit and Superior courts are seeking comments to proposed local rule changes, including altering jury trial procedures, financial declarations, workshops about how children cope with divorce, and family court rules. To view the proposed changes, click here. Comments may be made until Aug. 9 to Judge Matthew Kincaid at jkincaid@co.boone.in.us.
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Court rules marriage not valid, affirms sentence

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who helped her husband flee from police after committing three murders in southern Indiana can be convicted of assisting a criminal because her marriage is void in Indiana, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In Misty D. Davis v. State of Indiana, No. 63A01-0712-CR-605, the Court of Appeals today upheld Misty Davis' convictions of and sentence for assisting a criminal in murder and giving a false statement to law enforcement. Davis' husband, Nick Harbison, attacked four people, resulting in...
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Supreme Court arguments Wednesday

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will have a busy Wednesday morning as it hears arguments scheduled for three cases on appeal. First up is Ronald Mayes v. Second Injury Fund, No. 93A02-0702-EX-162, in which Mayes petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over his appeal. The Worker's Compensation Board denied Mayes' disability benefits from the Second Injury Fund, ruling Mayes' settlement of his claim against third-party tortfeasors precluded those benefits from the fund. The Court of Appeals affirmed finding Mayes failed to prove...
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High court welcomes Australian, Ukraine jurists

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is welcoming some of its colleagues from other countries this month, first an Australian justice and then a group of jurists from the Ukraine.Justice Marcia Neave of the Australian Supreme Court of Victoria, Court of Appeals division, is visiting Indiana this week as part of a lecture at Valparaiso Law School. She was slated to meet today with Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Ted Boehm and Robert Rucker; they were to take an afternoon...
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COA: Laser hair removal not 'health care'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Laser hair removal isn't considered "health care" within the meaning of the state's Medical Malpractice Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.A unanimous ruling today affirmed a trial court decision in OB-GYN Associates of Northern Indiana P.C. v. Tammy Ransbottom, No. 71A03-0711-CV-503, which involved a St. Joseph County case and the denial of a motion to dismiss a negligence action. In January 2006, Ransbottom had gone to a Mishawaka OB-GYN's office and underwent the cosmetic laser hair removal treatment. She went...
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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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