Courts

COA: Animal seizure allowed without warrant

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Police and animal control officers were justified in removing malnourished animals from a property without a warrant, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today. The court also overturned a Bartholomew County man's convictions of neglect on four dead horses because of lack of evidence they died of neglect.In Terry Baxter v. State of Indiana, No. 03A04-0710-CR-596, Terry Baxter appealed his convictions of four counts of Class D felony failure to properly dispose of a dead animal, and 12 counts of Class...
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Southern District Court seeking comments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wants to hear from you. The court is seeking public comment on the revision of certain local rules. The proposed revisions look to modify Local Rule 5.1 - general format of documents presented for filing, Local Rule 6.1 - extensions of time, and Local Rule 56.1 - summary judgment procedure. Changes have also been made regarding the discipline imposed by other courts, reinstatement, and the service of papers and other notices.The...
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Supreme Court grants 5 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted five transfers within the past week to cases dealing with traffic stops, life insurance polices, unpaid medical expenses, modification of a custody order, and plea agreements. The high court granted transfer and released its opinion yesterday in Sergio Campos v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0804-CR-199, involving a traffic stop and Sergio Campos' arrest after police found drugs in the car. A story in today's Indiana Lawyer Daily covers the Campos case in more detail. The Supreme Court granted...
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Court: Alleged negligence didn't cause injury

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurance agent because it found her alleged negligence was not a cause of injury to the plaintiffs. At issue in Jerry and Becky French v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company and Jane Hodson, No. 18A02-0612-CV-1161, is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Hodson on the Frenches' claim of negligent advice and procurement of insurance. The Frenches decided to...
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UPDATE: 5 appellate jurists seek retention

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
All of Indiana's appellate jurists facing retention this year will appear on November's ballot.Facing a Tuesday deadline to file retention paperwork, the five jurists told Indiana Lawyer they hope to return to the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Tax Court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justices Theodore R. Boehm and Brent E. Dickson, Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, and Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher are up for retention.The Indiana Secretary of State's Election Division reports that all...
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Judge: Love is loser in nonfraternization policy

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Although the United Parcel Service Inc. came out as winners in a discrimination case in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, love and marriage were deemed the losers by the appellate judges. In Gerald C. Ellis v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 07-2811, Ellis filed a discrimination claim against UPS after he was fired for fraternizing with a fellow employee. Ellis, a manager who is African-American, claimed he was fired after his supervisors discovered he was dating and eventually married a white...
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Court rules on parental rights terminations

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today ruled for the first time on an aspect of a state statute dictating when the Department of Child Services can initiate parental rights termination proceedings.A unanimous decision today affirms a trial court judgment in the case of In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of A.B. and Dawn B. v. Department of Child Services, No. 02A03-0712-JV-599. The appellant-respondent's daughter, when she was 6, was hospitalized in 2002 for violent, uncontrollable behavior and the...
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COA: Growing crops go in marital pot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that crops growing in the ground that haven't been harvested are considered marital assets. This is the first time Indiana courts have ruled on the issue. In In Re the Marriage of: James R. Webb v. Nancy J. (Webb) Schleutker, No. 49A02-0707-CV-568, James Webb appealed the trial court decision to include soon-to-be harvested crops in the marital pot. The trial court issued its dissolution decree in February 2007, and included crops growing in August...
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Majority: hospital owed duty to patient

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their decision March 12 regarding whether a hospital that performed a surgery on a woman with suspected domestic violence injuries should have prevented her from leaving with her ex-husband and alleged abuser, who later killed both of them on the way home from the hospital. At issue in Ava McSwane and Danielle Hays v. Bloomington Hospital and Healthcare System and Jean M. Eelma, M.D., No. 53A04-0705-CV-243, is what duty the hospital owed to McSwane's daughter, Malia...
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New voter ID lawsuit filed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The League of Women Voters of Indiana filed a lawsuit today in Marion County challenging the state's three-year-old voter identification statute recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.At 2 p.m. today, the organization filed the suit with the Marion Superior Court against Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, arguing that it has the standing to sue on behalf of its members because the state statute burdens potential voters and would cause the league to have to spend "precious resources" assisting voters...
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COA affirms conservancy district

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had the opportunity to determine whether construction of a bridge and road is permitted under Indiana Code when establishing a conservancy district, but didn't rule on the issue because taxpayers wouldn't be responsible for paying for construction.In In re: Petition for the establishment of the Millpond Conservancy District, No. 76A03-0711-CV-536, remonstrators argued the trial court erred in establishing a conservancy district initiated by the Town of Hamilton. They claim because the construction of a road and bridge...
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Missing records case affirmed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Don't go looking for any reference in a Thursday memorandum opinion relating to missing court files in an Allen County murder case. You won't find one.The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of Daniel Favela, whose case made the news last year after his mother had been jailed for about two weeks on contempt of court charges for taking, hiding, and refusing to turn over the 13-volume file in her son's appeal. Adela Favela finally returned them to Allen...
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Builders want impact fee case dismissed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis wants a lawsuit dismissed that involves the lawfulness of park impact fees in Zionsville. Attorneys for BAGI filed a motion for summary judgment on March 5 in Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis v. Zionsville, which was filed in October 2006 and challenges the town's impact fee ordinance adopted in 2005.Park impact fees go to recreational land and facilities necessitated by new residents, and are usually paid for by homebuilders when obtaining a building permit to...
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COA: Bank not required to restrict withdrawals

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a small claims court ruling that held a bank in contempt for failing to restrict the withdrawal of funds from a garnishee's account, noting the bank followed procedure according to Indiana Code. In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Laura and Dennis Brown, c/o Green, Richard & Trent and Rebecca Recht, No. 02A03-0801-CV-2, the appellate court had to interpret I.C. Section 28-9-4-2 to determine whether a depository financial institution that has received notice of garnishment proceedings...
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Prosecutor files to suspend judge's license

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will ask that Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts' driver's license be suspended following the results of a blood test. The prosecutor's office received the results this morning, which showed Judge Felts' blood alcohol level was 0.19 when he was tested July 18. Matthew Symons, spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, said the office would file a motion to suspend Judge Felts' license today. It is up to the trial court judge whether or not the...
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Panel to discuss race, death penalty

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Black Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington are sponsoring the program, "Intersection of Race and Jury Composition with the Death Penalty" April 1.Panelists for the program are: Marla Sandys, associate professor of criminal justice at IU - Bloomington; Paula Sites, Indiana Public Defender Council; and Jessie Cook, an attorney in private practice who has dealt with death penalty cases. In addition to discussing the issue of race and the death...
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Indiana State Bar Association files new trust mill suit: Indianapolis company accused of unauthorized practice of law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A decade ago, Vesser and Helen Davis met with an estate planning company representative about how to divvy up their assets and their Hamilton County farm. That representative drew on a flipchart, illustrated ways a partnership and corporation could be set up, outlined differences between wills and trusts, explained the probate process, and advised the pair how they could arrange their finances and establish a corporate structure for the family farm business. In the end, they paid thousands of dollars for...
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Indiana lawyer helped reporter win in Africa

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
A case where an African country's government was accused of kidnapping and torturing a journalist was decided on June 5 in favor of the reporter and his family.Indianapolis attorney Dan Byron assisted the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa, which filed the suit on behalf of Chief Ebrima Manneh.Byron spent October and November in Africa and has remained in touch with the foundation's attorneys since then.In what Byron called a "good day for human rights and press rights in West Africa"...
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Juvenile court to be featured in documentary

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A Lake County juvenile court will once again allow cameras in to capture the inner workings of the court for a nationally broadcast documentary.Indianapolis documentary filmmaker Karen Grau will have access to Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's courtroom in Crown Point to film and produce six, one-hour documentary programs. The goal of the series is to shed light on the issues facing the courts and children served by the court. Because of the nature of the documentary, the Indiana Supreme Court authorized...
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COA affirms dismissal of complaint

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson man who filed a complaint against the officers that arrested him and two police departments filed his civil action outside of the statute of limitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled April 28.The appellate court agreed with the trial court in Jon S. Johnson v. Stephon Blackwell, et al., No. 49A02-0709-CV-759, that Johnson filed his four-count complaint against two detectives, the Madison County Sheriff's Department, and the Anderson Police Department after the two-year statute of limitations expired. After receiving a...
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COA affirms $17.9 million judgment against firm

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two years ago, a jury hit an Indianapolis law firm with a $17.9 million verdict after it found the firm liable for a failed health plan that left 8,200 Hoosier with unpaid medical bills.The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an appeal from that general jury verdict and judgment in favor of the state's insurance commissioner, Jim Atterholt. The 37-page opinion, which includes a two-page dissent from Judge Carr Darden, comes in Frederick W. Dennerline III, and Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe...
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Appeal likely in license-plate fee suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals will likely be asked to consider whether the Hoosier license plates proclaiming "In God We Trust" violate the state constitution regarding the fees not attached for motorists.Following a ruling released Thursday by Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana plans to appeal on behalf of a Fort Wayne man who sued over the plate a year ago. At issue in Mark E. Studler v. Indiana BMV, No. 49D05-0704-PL-016603, was the $15...
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SCOTUS hears voter ID case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Arguments played out in the Supreme Court of the United States this morning on the legality of Indiana's voter identification law.The nine justices heard an hour of arguments at 10 a.m. in the combined Hoosier cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, No. 07-25. Both challenge the state's three-year-old voter photo ID law that's been upheld by both U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Stakes are...
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COA sides with Lauth in casino suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indianapolis commercial developer Lauth didn't breach a joint venture contract or any of its duties with other parties by partnering with the Bloomington-based Cook Group on an Orange County riverboat casino project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In a unanimous holding in Lauth Indiana Resort & Casino LLC v. Lost River Development LLC, et al., 29A02-0710-CV-839, the court ruled on an issue of first impression about when a joint venture terminates in situations where the agreements contain no specific termination date,...
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Judge denies motion to reconsider

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge took some time this week to defend a previous decision that dropped Indiana as a defendant in a suit filed by a Fort Wayne man who accuses police, prosecutors, and the Allen Circuit Court of discriminating against him.Pro se plaintiff Derrick O. Martin asked U.S. District Judge Philip Simon, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, to reconsider the court's ruling from earlier this year. The judge issued a three-page opinion Wednesday denying the request that claimed the...
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  1. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  2. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  3. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

  4. Why do so many lawyers get away with lying in court, Jamie Yoak?

  5. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

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