Courts

SCOTUS upholds Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot is constitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning.The nation's high court issued its decision at 10 a.m. on the pair of consolidated cases, William Crawford, et al. v. Marion County Election Board, et al., No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party, et al. v. Todd Rokita, No. 07-25. The decision comes just a week prior to Indiana's primary on May 6, upholding the strictest voter ID law in the...
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Judge: 'I didn't lie ...': Marion Superior jurist faces disciplinary panel

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins is used to spending his days in court. But on Oct. 6 and 7, he wasn't on the bench; the jurist was the one being judged. Already, his former part-time commissioner has resigned and been permanently banned from any judicial role because of this issue, and Judge Hawkins is battling 11 misconduct charges against him that could mean his judicial career is on the line. But before he finds out his fate, the judge is...
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State submits SCOTUS brief in pro se case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Trial courts should be able to deny criminal defendants the right to represent themselves when that person can't communicate coherently with the court or jury, the Indiana Attorney General's Office wants the nation's highest court to decide.The state submitted a brief this week to the Supreme Court of the United States, which will hear arguments March 26 in the Hoosier-based pro se case of Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208. You can view the 74-page brief online here.Dating to July 1999,...
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COA affirms order to enjoin

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a judgment enjoining some members of a class action suit from pursuing a quiet title action, finding the agreements of a settlement disposed of all claims in property between the class and a company.In Fern E. Firestone, et al. v. American Premier Underwriters Inc. and U.S. Railroad Vest, Corp., No. 06A01-0804-CV-199, the appellate court had to determine whether the trial court erred in ruling that claims brought by Wayne E. Boyd and Bunker Farms to...
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Insurance write-offs benefit for insured

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled write-offs constitute insurance benefits for which an insured has paid directly, and as a result opposing parties in suits can't introduce evidence of write-offs to reduce damage awards. In Brandon Stanley v. Danny Walker, No. 41A01-0610-CV-462, the appellate court looked to courts in other jurisdictions for the answer to whether write-offs negotiated by an insurer amount to an "insurance benefit" and should therefore be excluded when calculating the actual extent...
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Plea agreement, child support issues granted transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to one case dealing with child support, and two cases dealing post-conviction relief. The court also granted transfer to three cases involving sex offenders.In the case Marla K. Young v. Timothy S. Young, No. 09A05-0701-CV-52, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court's calculation of Timothy's child support obligation. The appellate court found the trial court erroneously calculated Timothy's weekly gross income, and remanded the trial court to add...
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Dead candidates remain on primary ballot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals examined state statutes to determine which apply when a candidate dies before the primary but wins the election, an issue the court hadn't tackled before. In Dan Lockard v. Charles Miles and John Mullican, No. 84A04-0708-CV-493, Lockard challenged his loss to Charles Miles in the Terre Haute Democratic primary. Miles died April 18, 2007, nearly three weeks before the May 8 primary, and media in Terre Haute first reported his death April 19. Lockard and Miles were...
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Online opinions access hits a snag

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Court-watchers looking online to view Indiana's appellate decisions have been denied two days of opinions because those published rulings were not posted online.A set of three dozen opinions came down Tuesday and Wednesday, but a change last month in how access is provided to those daily rulings meant that only online viewers, those directly involved in a decided case, or those who've traveled to the Indiana Statehouse to inspect opinions knew that any rulings had been released.By noon today, a list...
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COA to conduct arguments in Syracuse

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels north to a Syracuse high school Thursday to hear arguments in a case involving the search and discovery of drugs in a car. In Jerald J. Womack v. State of Indiana, 43A03-0706-CR-251, Womack appealed his convictions and sentence for Class D felony marijuana possession and for being a habitual controlled-substance offender. The Court of Appeals will determine whether the police search of Womack's car violated his rights under the U.S. and Indiana constitutions and if...
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SCOTUS rules on money laundering

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
In a split decision this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States has defined money laundering and tossed out the convictions of an East Chicago man.The high court ruled on U.S. v. Efrain Santos, et al., No. 06-1005, which involved a money-laundering ring in East Chicago.A majority of justices held today that "proceeds" according to the federal money-laundering statute applies only to transactions involving criminal profits, not criminal receipts.Indianapolis attorney Todd Vare with Barnes & Thornburg argued before the high court...
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Incurred risk not malpractice defense

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A doctor cannot use evidence of a patient's previous surgeries or pursue an incurred-risk defense against a medical malpractice suit, the Court of Appeals ruled today. In Brenda Spar v. Jin S. Cha, M.D., No. 45A05-0611-CV-683, Spar appealed the jury decision in favor of Dr. Cha in her medical malpractice claim against the OB/GYN for a surgery he performed on her. Spar previously had been in a serious automobile accident and as a result had numerous abdominal surgeries. When she decided to...
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District Court upholds jury award against GM

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A U.S. District judge chastised General Motors for the way the company treated its salaried employees who gave up being under union protection and later wanted to rejoin the union as hourly workers. In an opinion released Aug. 15, Judge David Hamilton of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, upheld a $3.1 jury award against GM for promissory estoppel claims, finding the plaintiffs had provided sufficient evidence to prove their Sixth Amendment claim against the company. Judge...
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Tax Court in Bloomington March 17

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Tax Court hits the road March 17 to hear arguments in a case regarding how to properly value a Meijer store for property tax purposes. The arguments will be held at 3:30 p.m. in the Moot Courtroom at Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington.In Meijer Stores Limited Partnership v. Betty Smith, Wayne Township Assessor, Michael Statzer, Wayne County Assessor, et al., No. 49T10-0609-TA-89, Meijer and Wayne County don't see eye-to-eye on the assessed value of land owned by...
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Governor names new Court of Appeals judge

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Dubois Superior Judge Elaine Brown is the newest judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals.Gov. Mitch Daniels announced this morning Judge Brown's appointment to the state's second highest appellate court, replacing Judge John Sharpnack who is taking senior status in May. "This is a dream of a lifetime," Judge Brown said, on first reaction this morning. "I'm just so extremely honored and humbled, and can't wait to get started. It's life-changing for me."The southern Indiana jurist has been on the bench...
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COA to travel to French Lick

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels to French Lick Tuesday to hear arguments in a case involving the validity of a search warrant.In James H. Helton v. State of Indiana, 20A04-0710-PC-00589, the judges are asked to determine whether an invalid search warrant was used to obtain evidence against James H. Helton. Also, if the search warrant was invalid, the court must decide whether Helton was denied effective assistance by his trial counsel when they did not move to suppress that evidence....
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Justices ready for sex-offender registry issue

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will consider two cases this week asking whether convicted sex offenders can be required to register for life on a statewide database.The state's highest appeals court will hear a combined argument Thursday in Todd L. Jensen v. State, No. 02A04-0706-CR-351, and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 49A02-0706-CR-498. Arguments are set to begin at 9:45 a.m. and can be viewed online through a webcast.Now, Jensen v. State and Wallace v. State have a combined case number of...
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Court upholds damages award

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court decision that excluded arguments and evidence from the Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund relating to the survival rate of the decedent because their argument regarded liability, which had already been established through a settlement. In Jim Atterholt, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Insurance as Administrator of the Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund v. Geneva Herbst, personal representative of the estate of Jeffrey A. Herbst, No. 49A04-0702-CV-106, the Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund appealed the grant...
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Luncheon to discuss women's health, law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Sagamore Institute for Policy Research is hosting a luncheon Friday to examine how to improve the health of women in contemporary society.The event, "Improving Women's Health through Law and Policy," features Linda Chezem, professor at Indiana University and Purdue University, and former Indiana Court of Appeals judge; Krieg DeVault attorney Leah Mannweiler; Dr. Kathy D. Miller, associate director for clinical research at IU Simon Cancer Center; and Tanya Parrish, director of the Office of Women's Health in the Indiana State...
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Case management system to get new features

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is investing $1.1 million to add computer features to its case management system being implemented statewide in the coming years.Adding to the millions already invested in the state's largest-ever technology project, the high court has decided to purchase a supervision module for its Odyssey Case Management System, currently in place in Monroe County and the Marion County Small Claims Court in Washington Township; it will be launched in a handful of other counties by early next year.Justice...
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Justices disagree on revising man's sentence

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court used a man's appeal of his sentence for neglect of a dependent to examine how appellate courts review sentences; the court remanded the case so the man's sentence could be reduced. In Rudy Wayne Cardwell v. State of Indiana, No. 10S05-0811-CR-588, the justices reviewed their decision in Anglemyer v. State, 868 N.E.2d 482 (Ind. 2007), in terms of appellate review of sentencing. The court unanimously agreed that assigning relative weights to properly found facts can often present...
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COA travels to Lafayette, IU campuses

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will visit three Indiana colleges April 8 and 9 to hear arguments in cases regarding child molestation, defamatory statements, and ineffective counsel.Judges will visit Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette Tuesday to hear arguments regarding a case on appeal from Lake Superior Court. Arguments for Victor Vega Torres v. State of Indiana, 45A03-0708-CR-385, begin at 10 a.m. in Ivy Hall. Judges Ezra Friedlander, Margret Robb, and Cale Bradford will have to decide whether Torres' maximum sentence of eight years...
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Jury undecided so judge orders death

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Evansville judge has handed down the first death sentence since Indiana lawmakers changed the jury's role six years ago. The sentence also is likely the first execution order resulting from a penalty-phase hung jury since 1993.The execution of Daniel Ray Wilkes is set for Jan. 25, 2009, but that will likely be delayed for years by appeals and could have potential to reach the Supreme Court of the United States as an issue of first impression about whether a death...
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Judge strikes down new obscene-material law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
On the day a new Indiana law was set to take effect, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker struck it down as being unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and a violation of the First Amendment.The 31-page ruling was issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, this afternoon in Big Hat Books, et al. v. Prosecutors, 1:08-CV-00596, a challenge to House Enrolled Act 1042 that would have required any person or organization wanting to sell literature or other material...
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Justices again deny election request

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied for the second time in two months a request to get involved in a Terre Haute mayoral election dispute.The justices sent notice Tuesday to attorneys that they won't bypass the Court of Appeals on a dispute resulting from the November election, when Republican Duke Bennett ousted incumbent Democrat Mayor Kevin Burke by about 110 votes.The court had previously decided not to get involved in an issue about whether Vigo Superior Judge David Bolk had jurisdiction...
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COA affirms jail phone commissions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
After years of litigation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that the Marion County Sheriff and the Indiana Department of Administration were allowed to enter into contracts with a phone company that provided commissions to the sheriff and IDOA on phone calls made from the jail and prison facilities. In Chanelle Linet Alexander, et al. v. The Marion County Sheriff and the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Administration, No. 49A02-0708-CV-716, the plaintiffs are a class of people who have been...
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  1. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  2. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  3. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  4. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  5. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

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