Courts

Court explores definition of tobacco manufacturing

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
  The Indiana Court of Appeals today delved into what it means to manufacture cigarettes under state law.A unanimous 30-page decision came in Steve Carter in his role as Attorney General v. Carolina Tobacco Company, Inc. http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09170702jgb.pdf,No. 49A04-0503-CV-151, affirming a lower court decision that the state attorney general's office improperly refused to include an Indiana tobacco company in a yearly directory of manufacturers allowed to sell cigarettes in the state.The Marion County suit involves the "Roger" brand of cigarettes that began...
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SCOTUS sets Indiana voter ID arguments

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States will consider the constitutionality of Indiana's voter identification law in early 2008.A calendar published this morning puts the consolidated Hoosier cases on the high court's docket for 10 a.m., Jan. 9. The cases are Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25).Both challenge the law that took effect July 2005. The 7th Circuit had previously affirmed a District judge's ruling that the law wasn't unconstitutional. Rep. William Crawford,...
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Justices grant 2 transfers

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers this week:One case involves the probation revocation that followed a man's questionable communications with minor children he wasn't supposed to be around. The other involves a question of which "home state" child custody and visitation issues should be heard based on federal and state statutes.In Theron W. Hunter v. State of Indiana, No. 69A01-0702-CR-061, the court will take up an issue addressed in an unpublished memorandum decision from the Court of Appeals in June. The...
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SCOTUS to hear money-laundering case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States today agreed to take a case out of East Chicago in order to clarify the definition of money laundering.Federal circuit courts, including the 7th Circuit in Chicago, do not agree on an exact definition and have disagreed about whether it ;s considered money laundering to pay for the operation of a criminal enterprise with the profits of that illegal business. The nation ;s high court will determine whether the ban on the use of...
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Court affirms denial of new murder trial

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Just because a public defender paralegal chats with a deputy prosecutor before a hearing, it doesn't mean attorney-client privilege is being violated, the Indiana Court of Appeals has determined.A unanimous ruling today in Mustafa Nur v. State of Indiana http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06060701tac.pdf, 49A02-0606-CR-486 broaches that topic. Nur appealed the denial of his motion for a new murder trial in Marion Superior Court. He argued the trial court erred by not providing an interpreter and also for allowing the deputy prosecutor to speak at...
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Justices deny request for additional proceedings in case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied a request for successive post-conviction proceedings involving a man convicted of stabbing an elderly DeKalb County man more than two dozen times during a robbery in 1984.Issued Monday afternoon, the seven-page unanimous order states that David Leon Woods did not meet his burden of establishing a reasonable probability that he ;s entitled to relief based on claims he is mentally retarded and had a disagreement with his attorneys about strategy.A Boone County jury convicted Woods...
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Senate confirms Tinder for 7th Circuit

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday to confirm U.S. Judge John D. Tinder to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning he's the first Hoosier jurist appointed to the federal appellate court in two decades.Senators voted unanimously 93-0 in favor of Judge Tinder's appointment shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, after a day of voting on federal spending, alternative tax, and debate on various other issues. Seven senators didn't vote and he gained support from everyone else, including both Indiana senators -...
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COA rules on anonymous juries

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case with a matter of first impression involving the use of anonymous juries and if they are reviewable under the harmless error analysis. In Carl A. Major v. State of Indiana, http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09280701cjb.pdf 45A03-0610-CR-483, Carl Major appealed his convictions of murder in the perpetration of a robbery and aggravated felony, and his aggregate sentence of 175 years in prison, arguing the trial court erred in empanelling an anonymous jury and that his sentence is...
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U.S. Supreme Court accepts Indiana voter ID challenge

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States will decide whether Indiana's two-year-old law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls is constitutional. Justices accepted the pair of combined cases Monday and issued an order this morning. The court was considering about 60 potential cases, including two others from Indiana: Gilles v. Blanchard, et al., which involves religious speech on the public ground at Vincennes University; and Deb Mayer v. Monroe Community School Corp. involving a teacher fired for comments...
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Court overturns breach-of-contract ruling

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Marion Superior Court decision granting partial summary judgment in favor of the defendant on an issue of breach of contract, ruling a state agency couldn't approve a cleanup that didn't comply to federal standards. In Indiana Department of Environmental Management v. Raybestos Products Co., No. 49A02-0609-CV-782, IDEM appealed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to Raybestos on the issue of a breeched agreed order and a judgment of more than $16 million...
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Court grants visitation for partner in guardianship case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
When Patrick Atkins suffered a brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke on a business trip in 2005, his partner of almost 30 years wanted to be there and visit.While Atkins' family didn't approve of the relationship, Brett Conrad was allowed to visit and have contact with his partner at first. But the family began cutting off that contact and eventually the two sides went to court over visitation rights and guardianship. Conrad lost in Hamilton Superior Court before Judge Steven Nation, who...
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Indiana Supreme Court won't review football death case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will not review a Marion County case involving a 17-year-old ;s death following football practice in July 2001.Justices denied transfer Thursday in Stowers v. Clinton Central, declining to vacate the Oct. 26 Court of Appeals decision that the school corporation, coaches, and athletic director were not negligent in the teenager ;s death. However, the ruling also stands that Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller erred by not including a jury instruction to describe the scope of school release...
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Federal judge lifts Marion County jail oversight

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis has ended a 35-year federal oversight period of the Marion County jail that resulted from a lawsuit by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1972.Judge Barker's June 8 order released Monday noted that jail and lockup expansions, court-ordered inmate releases, and the creation of a night court late last year show that legal requirements have been met and judicial supervision of the litigation is no longer needed. Dissolving the consent decree is "fair,...
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Supreme Court will hear 5 arguments this week

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A mobile home demolished more than a year ago is the subject of one of several oral arguments the Indiana Supreme Court will hear this week.Justices will hear three cases Tuesday, and two more are scheduled for Thursday, but the court has granted transfer in only two of those cases so far.The mobile home-related argument tomorrow is in Ernestine Waldon v. Donna Wilkins, 18A04-0604-CV-199, which comes out of Delaware County. After deciding a mobile home was unfit to live in, the...
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Court rules on discovery of trade secrets

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A tire making formula is considered a trade secret and doesn't have to be disclosed in discovery, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The unanimous 11-page ruling comes in a much-anticipated first impression case of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. v. Violet Mayberry, et al., No. 48A02-0504-CV-368, which stemmed from a fatal August 2001 accident in which a woman lost control of her vehicle on Interstate 69 after one of the tires came apart. Her family sued the tire maker; during discovery they asked for...
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Supreme Court operations find new space

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has reached an agreement to move some of its operations from the National City Center downtown to a property formerly occupied by Eli Lilly.The new, 10-year agreement is estimated to save taxpayers about $1 million over the course of the lease, and takes effect at the end of the year, said Justice Theodore Boehm, who has led the negotiations process for the state court.This agreement means divisions of the Supreme Court, such as the Indiana Judicial Center,...
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Sentence in murder-for-hire plot cut

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has slashed a sentence for an Anderson man convicted last year in a murder-for-hire plot of his wife and mother-in-law.Justices unanimously granted transfer and issued a five-page opinion Wednesday afternoon in Aaron Reid v. State of Indiana, 48S04-0711-CR-552, a case from Madison County that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a not-for-publication opinion in May. Last year, Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman gave Reid a maximum 50-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The case...
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Court affirms worker's comp dismissal

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a Full Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana decision to dismiss a claim against a former employer, citing statutory conditions have been met to release the employer from any liability. In William Pete Casper v. L.E. Isley & Sons, Inc., No. 93A02-0702-EX-179, Casper's wife, Janet, on behalf of William's estate, appealed the dismissal of the estate's claim against L.E. Isley for worker's compensation. Janet Casper argued the dismissal was premature. William Casper worked for Isley for more...
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Chief Justice speaking on judicial independence

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Judicial independence and accountability are the topics du jour for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.The state's top judge was the keynote speaker at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum this afternoon. The Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College hosted the free program, "Politics and the Courts: Judicial Independence and Accountability," at the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in Indianapolis.This topic arises as the role of courts in the U.S. has become a focus for criticism, including how the judiciary...
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Justices to hear 2 arguments

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday will consider two cases, delving into non-compete agreements, and the legal line between parental control and child battery.Justices will first hear arguments at 9 a.m. in Central Indiana Podiatry P.C. v. Kenneth J. Krueger, Meridian Health Group P.C., 29S05-0706-CV-256, which the Court of Appeals ruled on in January. The appellate court overturned a decision by Hamilton Superior Judge Daniel Pfleging and ruled he should have made the podiatrist, Dr. Kenneth Krueger, stop working pending trial after...
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Court of Appeals revises burglary sentence

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today revised a 40-year sentence handed down to a 19-year-old, citing inconsistencies between the trial court's oral and written sentencing statements. In Nathan D. Feeney v. State of Indiana, 79A02-0609-CR-823, Feeney appealed his cumulative 40-year sentence for convictions of 10 counts of burglary as a Class B felony, which consisted of four consecutive and six concurrent 10-year sentences, because he believed the sentences to be too harsh given the nature of his offenses and his character. At...
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IPBC exec director's last day Friday

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Friday will be Monica Fennell's last day as executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission - at least until she returns next August. Fennell will be in Washington, D.C., for a one-year fellowship with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Her replacement for a one-year fellowship of her own is Trischa Zorn-Hudson.Zorn-Hudson has already been working with Fennell, and her first full day will be July 23. "I know that the Pro Bono Commission...
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Amici briefs support Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Eleven parties have submitted amici briefs in support of Indiana's voter identification law, which goes before the Supreme Court of the United States in January.Parties had a Monday deadline to submit briefs in the pair of cases Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25), which the nation's high court will hear arguments on Jan. 9. Both challenge the law that took effect July 2005 and has been upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of...
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Tax Court sets arguments next month

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court will hear arguments next month on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the state's property tax assessment system.Arguments are set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Mel Goldstein, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., 49T10-0709-TA-00045. Indianapolis attorney John Price filed the suit earlier this month on behalf of 11 residents from around the state and seven citizens' organizations pushing for tax reform. The suit includes 14 counts relating directly to Marion County...
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Court rules in favor of municipal utilities

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The state's eminent domain statute allows Indiana municipalities to acquire operations of privately owned water and sewer utilities that serve recently annexed portions of that community, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The split 3-2 decision came in Utility Center, Inc., d/b/a Aquasource v. City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 02S04-0706-CV-248.This case from Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts involves Fort Wayne's initiation of condemnation proceedings against a company operating a competing public water utility in and around the city, which also owns its...
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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