Courts

Racketeering case nets $108 million in damages

March 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ordered an ex-mayor and top allies to pay more than $108 million in damages on a civil racketeering case, but in doing so he's rejected the Indiana Attorney General's most novel and far-reaching legal arguments centered on public corruption in East Chicago.
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Legislators revisit vetoed merit-selection measure

March 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In the final days of the Indiana General Assembly session, as lawmakers pushed to finish and put final touches on the end-of-term business, a 2009 measure that divided the Hoosier legal community came back into play.
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BREAKING: Panel OKs magistrate's nomination

March 11, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted in favor of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson's nomination for a federal judgeship.
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Defendant must prove inability to pay

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The defendant bears the burden of proving that he or she wasn't able to provide support at a probation revocation hearing for failing to support dependants, the Indiana Court of Appeals held today.
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COA split on impact of jury instruction omission

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
One Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' decision to grant a new trial based on the lack of a jury instruction on robbery because he didn't think the defendant was prejudiced by the omission.
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High court rules on prisoners issues

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court handed down two opinions Wednesday in which the high court expressly adopted the "prison mailbox rule" and determined a majority of the Indiana Parole Board constitutes the full parole board when making final decisions.
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Indy magistrate gets Senate panel's approval

March 11, 2010
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis federal magistrate joins two of her colleagues in getting a U.S. Senate committee's approval to become an Article III judge for Indiana.
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Lawyer faces child pornography charges

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson attorney is in a community confinement facility after being arrested for distribution and possession of child pornography.
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Vote expected on Indiana federal magistrate

March 10, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A U.S. Senate committee is expected to discuss and vote Thursday on an Indianapolis federal magistrate judge's nomination for a judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana.
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COA rules on landowner first-impression issue

March 10, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Prior misconduct negates self-defense claim

March 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Evidence of a defendant's prior alleged domestic violence incidents against his ex-wife shouldn't have been admitted to explain the ex-wife's animosity toward him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. However, the evidence was admissible because it was relevant to prove the ex-husband's motive to commit the domestic violence he was charged with in the instant case.
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SCOTUS declines death row inmate's appeal

March 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court has declined to accept a death row inmate's case, leaving intact an Indiana judge's ruling that OK'd a federal prison policy banning face-to-face interviews with reporters.
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Justice ponders importance of party-line vote

March 5, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana Supreme Court justices considered the constitutionality of the state's voter ID law this week, one jurist wondered how much the legislative process might factor into the court's analysis of whether a statute is constitutional.
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Justices disagree about evidence issue

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard didn't agree with his colleagues' decision that a defendant couldn't introduce evidence to dispute the judgment of an injured plaintiff's medical providers in choosing certain treatment.
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Appellate ruling addresses priority rights

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In reversing summary judgment for a home loan company on its complaint for strict foreclosure, the Indiana Court of Appeals specifically adopted the reasoning set forth in a federal decision involving priority rights on liens.
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BREAKING: Senate panel OKs Johnsen

March 4, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Dawn Johnsen, nominated to be a key legal advisor for the president, was approved 12-7 along party lines by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Also, two of the three Indiana judicial nominees for the federal bench have gotten a green light from the committee.
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Judge certifies sex offender's class-action suit

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has certified a convicted sex offender's suit against the Indiana Department of Correction as a class action. The plaintiff claims registrants have no procedure to correct errors on the sex and violent offender registry.
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Court hears state voter ID case

March 4, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday morning sharply questioned attorneys about the state's five-year-old voter identification law, debating whether the requirements impose an unconstitutional burden on some voters who can't obtain the necessary photo ID.
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Judges find search of car for gun not justified

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs found in his car during a search, but one judge believed the man's cooperation and respect toward the police officer shouldn't factor into their decision making.
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Family courts for pro se parents

March 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family courts have been around in Indiana for the last decade, the counties that have them continue to make changes to improve access to justice to all litigants who are in the system.
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Lawmakers move court-funding bills

March 3, 2010
In the last days of the legislative session, lawmakers addressed funding proposals in HB 1154 on converting Marion County commissioners into magistrates and using a $35 fee on traffic infractions to pay for this; SB 307 that would allow a $50 fee on Bartholomew County traffic infractions to pay for a new Superior Court there; and SB 399 on capping traffic violation fines statewide.
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Legislature, courts navigate uncertainty about registry laws

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawmakers are revising state law following the confusion created by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year, which involves how convicted sex offenders can be removed from a statewide registry if they believe registration wasn't required at the time of their conviction.
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DTCI: An updated to Employment Non-discriminaiton Act

March 3, 2010
Takeia Johnson, Amy S.More

Mistake invalidates termination of dad's rights

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A father's consent to voluntarily terminate his parental rights so his sister could adopt his daughter was invalidated by misrepresentations made by a family case manager for the Department of Child Services. As such, the father's petition to set aside the judgment should have been granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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