Courts

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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SCOTUS: Lab techs must testify

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A decision today from the Supreme Court of the United States will have an immediate impact on Indiana, where state justices are considering at least two cases about whether lab technicians who've tested evidence in a case must appear on the stand.
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Merit-selection override a possibility

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's top executive has rejected the idea of scrapping merit selection in St. Joseph County, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will attempt to override that veto during a special session.On the final day he had to take action, Gov. Mitch Daniels used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected House Enrolled Act 1491, which called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges for six-year terms. It also called for the creation of...
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President picks prosecutor for Northern District

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The veteran federal prosecutor who's filled in three times as interim chief has been chosen for the permanent role as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the White House announced this morning. David Capp, who's been a federal prosecutor for 24 years, has been the acting U.S. Attorney in the Northern District since July 2007, filling the spot after Joseph Van Bokkelen's confirmation to the District Court. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh nominated Capp for the job from several...
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U.S. judge sanctions Indianapolis law firm

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has sanctioned an Indianapolis law firm that employed a few attorneys he says helped abuse the discovery process, failed to correct misleading or false statements made by its client, and didn't properly turn over to the court or opposing counsel key documents relating to an environmental contamination case out of Southern Indiana.In a 66-page order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana determined that Bose McKinney & Evans should be sanctioned for...
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COA: Man didn't waive right to appeal sentence

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court may have made confusing remarks at a man's guilty plea hearing indicating he "may" have waived the right to appeal, only to later inform him of his right to appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the defendant hadn't waived that right to appeal. The appellate court did affirm the defendant's 30-year advisory sentence for dealing in cocaine, finding he failed to prove it was inappropriate. In Luis Ruiz Bonilla v. State of Indiana, No. 20A05-0902-CR-85, the...
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UPDATE: Court suspends indicted judge

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court released an order this afternoon suspending LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe following her indictment on a charge of felony attempted obstruction of justice. Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A), the high court shall suspend a judge with pay if he or she is indicted on a felony charge. The suspension takes effect at midnight May 11 and will continue until further order of the court. As a result of Judge Koethe's suspension, the Supreme Court...
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Judge's nomination vote set - again

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
  The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote June 4 on U.S. Judge David Hamilton's nomination for the 7th Court of Appeals. The panel had postponed the vote originally planned for May 21 to give some members more time to review the judge's record. An agenda shows the executive business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and be webcast live.
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Former Justice Richard Givan has died

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Richard Givan has died, according to a news release from the court. He was 88. Justice Givan was elected to the court in 1968 and served continuously until his retirement in December 1994. He served as chief justice from November 1974 to March 1987. He received an LL.B. from Indiana University in 1951 and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1952. A fourth generation lawyer, his great-grandfather, Noah S. Givan, was a circuit...
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Court sanctions Indianapolis attorney

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis attorney has received a public reprimand in the third and final leg of a yearlong disciplinary triangle, which has led to a Marion Superior judge's suspension and a commissioner's resignation and banishment from the bench.
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Governor: merit-selection 'is not broken'

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels has vetoed legislation that would have ended merit-selection of St. Joseph Superior judges and instead made them run for office in non-partisan elections and create a new three-judge panel for the Indiana Court of Appeals. On the deadline for action on House Enrolled Act 1491, the governor late this afternoon used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected it. The legislation would have called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges...
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Justices to hear compulsive gambling case

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases Thursday, including a suit in which a woman claims a casino took advantage of her gambling addiction. Arguments begin at 9 a.m. in Caesars Riverboat Casino LLC v. Genevieve Kephart, No. 31S01-0909-CV-303. Caesars originally filed a suit against Genevieve Kephart after she failed to repay a gambling debt. The casino sought repayment, treble damages, and attorney fees. But Kephart counterclaimed, arguing the casino unjustly enriched itself because it knew she had...
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Judges differ in interpretation of earlier ruling

December 31, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today as to whether a man's convictions of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor and attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors should be reversed because his intended victim was actually a police officer conducting an online sting operation.
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Southern District amends Local Rule

December 30, 2008
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has amended its Local Rule 65.2 - Motions for Preliminary Injunctions and Temporary Restraining Orders.
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Court erred in dismissing claim with prejudice

December 30, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's dismissal of a woman's claims against her former tenants, finding the court misinterpreted a previous appellate ruling to support the dismissal.
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Mom's promoting prostitution sentence stands

December 30, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the 17-year sentence for a woman convicted of prostituting her daughter, finding her sentence was appropriate and that an even longer sentence could be justified.
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Parties can't pick certain provisions to enforce

December 29, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed an issue of first impression today regarding whether a person could seek to enforce rights under a vehicle purchasing agreement he didn't sign but then disavow other provisions set forth in the same document.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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