Courts

Justices overturn judgment in trampoline case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression involving a trampoline, premises liability, and the attractive-nuisance doctrine, the Indiana Supreme Court today overturned summary judgment that originally had been in favor of the trampoline owners, citing material issues of facts in the case. The high court granted transfer in Beth Palmer Kopczynski, individually and as next friend and parent of Alisha Palmer, and Alisha Palmer v. David Bryan Barger and Peggy Lucas Barger, No. 88S05-0710-CV-423, to determine whether the Bargers were responsible for an...
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Justices asked to take legal malpractice case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is being asked to take a legal malpractice case in which an Indianapolis law firm got hit with an $18 million verdict two years ago.Attorneys representing law firm Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe filed a petition for transfer with the state's highest court Monday in Frederick W. Dennerline III, et al. v. Jim Atterholt, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0610-CV-557. This move comes following the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling in May that upheld the...
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Clark Circuit judge appointed

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Abraham Navarro will succeed Judge Daniel F. Donahue as judge of the Clark Circuit Court. Judge Donahue is stepping down later this week. Navarro has served as a deputy prosecutor in the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office since 2002. Prior to working in the prosecutor's office, Navarro was an Allen Superior Court judicial law clerk from 2001 to 2002. Navarro was admitted to the bar in November 2002. He's a member of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Indiana Criminal Justice...
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COA: Totality of facts support blood seizure

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A blood sample seized by the state from an unconscious woman didn't violate her rights under the Fourth Amendment because all of the circumstances surrounding the car accident involving the woman led to a fair probability she drove a car while drunk, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.In Samara J. Copas v. State of Indiana, No. 33A01-0801-CR-3, Samara Copas appealed the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress a blood sample taken by the state after obtaining a search warrant. Copas...
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Courthouse preservation bill, others now law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Bills relating to a courthouse preservation advisory commission, inmate issues, probate, foreclosure notices, domestic violence, and invasion of privacy concerns have been signed into law in the last week.Among the bills that are of interest to the legal community are:SEA 78, regarding probate and trust matters, signed today; HEA 1379, regarding viatical settlements, signed today; SEA 227, regarding the renamed sexual assault victim advocate standards and certification board, signed today; SEA 62, regarding posting notice of foreclosure sales, signed today; SEA...
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Allen County judge faces misconduct charges

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Allen County judge is facing disciplinary charges for what is being described as misconduct in a fellow jurist's courtroom that involved verbally berating members of a defendant's family after a sentencing hearing.Allen Superior Judge Kenneth R. Scheibenberger has been charged by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications with four counts of misconduct, filed Tuesday as a formal notice of disciplinary proceedings. The document can be viewed here.The filed complaint states that on Nov. 30, 2007, Judge Scheibenberger suspended his court...
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Appeals court affirms murder convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and the finding that he is a habitual offender. In Charles D. Boney v. State of Indiana, No. 22A01-0607-CR-310, Boney was connected to the murder of Kim Camm and her two children at home by her husband, David. Boney provided the weapon David used to murder his family and was at the Camm's home when the murder occurred. Boney raised several issues on appeal following his jury...
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Court reverses Pelley convictions

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the murder convictions of a Lakeville man accused of murdering his family almost 20 years ago as a teenager.But in doing so, the three-judge panel all but directly asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take on this issue of first impression and clarify an earlier ruling justices made. That ruling specifically refused to dismiss the case on Robert Pelley's argument that a delay between charging and trial dates conflicted with his due process of...
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SCOTUS denies 2 Indiana cases

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take two Indiana cases, including one that inspired the law requiring child molesters to register their addresses on a public database.In a list of certiorari denials released May 12, the nation's high court announced it wouldn't review the Hoosier cases Christopher Stevens v. Ed Buss, No. 07-7745, and Christopher J. Stephens v. Indiana, No. 07-9858. Both had been reviewed at the court's private conference last week.Stevens is the case that inspired Zachary's Law. He...
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Lawrence sworn in as District Judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Just days after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge William T. Lawrence took the oath Tuesday to become a judge in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana. Chief Judge David F. Hamilton administered the oath in Judge Lawrence's courtroom in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis.Judge Lawrence had served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Indiana since November 2002, and is the first magistrate judge in the...
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Circuit Court finds no age discrimination

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A doctor whose job was terminated as part of hospital restructuring didn't provide enough evidence to show he was let go based on his age, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. In Laverne Tubergen v. St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, Inc., No. 06-4304, Dr. Tubergen filed a discrimination complaint against St. Vincent under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. In an effort to streamline its operations and become more efficient, the hospital hired James Houser as...
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Mass. chief justice to speak at law school

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court Lecture, "Anatomy of Freedom: John Adams on a Global Scale," will feature as speaker the first female chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The lecture begins at 5 p.m. March 25 at the Wynne Courtroom at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. Margaret H. Marshall was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1999. Originally from South Africa, she came to the U.S. to pursue her master's degree at Harvard...
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COA: primary before true excess policies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana's "Lease Statute" can't be used to determine the priority of insurance coverage between a primary insurance policy and true excess policies, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today in a case of first impression. Old Republic Insurance appealed the trial court's decision in Old Republic Insurance Co. v. RLI Insurance Co., et al., No. 49A04-0709-CV-523, which determined Old Republic's policy had higher priority over other excess policies and that the Lease Statute didn't allow for ranking different types of insurance policies....
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Court: Girlfriend could consent to search

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's conviction of possession of ammunition by a felon, finding the defendant's girlfriend had the authority to consent to a search of the apartment by police when the defendant was not present. In United States of America v. Daniel Groves Sr., No. 07-1217, the Circuit Court had to determine whether Daniel Groves' girlfriend, Shaunta Foster, could allow police to search their apartment without a warrant in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case,...
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Suit challenges new sexually explicit retailer law

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Several Indiana arts and publishing organizations have joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in a suit challenging the state's new law that requires sellers of sexually explicit material to register and pay a fee to the state. The ACLU of Indiana, along with the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, Freedom to Read Association, Big Hat Books, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and other groups, yesterday filed the suit, Big Hat Books, Boxcar Books and Community Center Inc., et al....
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Justices address parental discipline

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A mother who spanked her 11-year-old son with a belt or extension cord didn't cross the line between parental discipline and abuse, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.In its 4-1 decision late Tuesday in Sophia Willis v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-0707-CR-295, the state's high court established a bright-line rule on parental discipline privilege that it hasn't addressed since the adoption of the Indiana Criminal Code.Sophia Willis was charged and convicted of battery as a Class D felony for spanking her...
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SCOTUS denies Evansville death penalty case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court won't review the case of an Evansville death row inmate who'd questioned the requirement he wear a stun belt during his eight-month capital trial for murdering three people in 1996.In a list of certiorari denials released today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it wouldn't review John Stephenson v. Indiana, No. 07-8237. He'd filed a petition for review in December, and justices decided at a private conference April 11 not to take the case.The denial...
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COA: Court lacked personal jurisdiction

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's denial of a biological mother's motion to set aside an adoption decree because the court lacked personal jurisdiction over her and her due process rights were violated. In In the matter of the adoption of D.C.; H.R. v. R.C., No. 22A01-0709-CV-425, the appellate court ruled the adoptive mother, R.C., did not do everything she could to contact H.R., the biological mother, about R.C.'s petition to adopt D.C. R.C., who married D.C.'s biological father,...
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Judge grants injunction for judicial candidates

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
For the time being, Hoosier judicial candidates can't be sanctioned for answering a questionnaire about their views because of a federal judge's decision today.U.S. District Judge Theresa L. Springmann in Fort Wayne issued a preliminary injunction earlier this afternoon, stopping Indiana from enforcing rules that prohibit judicial candidates from responding to surveys on their views.The 36-page order came in Torrey Bauer et. al. v. Randall T. Shepard et al., No. 3:08-CV-196-TLS. The non-profit Indiana Right to Life Committee filed the suit...
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COA cuts sentence for drug convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's drug convictions, but found the trial court erred in sentencing him. As a result, the appellate court reduced his sentence by 33 years. In Gary L. Williams Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 39A04-0708-CR-481, Williams appealed his convictions of and his 73-year sentence for dealing in cocaine, and possession of cocaine and marijuana. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Williams' convictions on two counts of dealing in cocaine as Class A felonies, possession of...
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Sexual misconduct case gets transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday in a case involving the liability of a township trustee for sexual misconduct of her employee. In Debra A. Barnett v. Camille Clark, Trustee of Pleasant Township, No. 76A03-0704-CV-182, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Camille Clark, who is also referred to as Camelia in the brief.Clark's husband, Donald, was the deputy township trustee. Debra Barnett went to the trustee's office and met with Donald...
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SCOTUS limits pro se rights

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that states may require a criminal defendant who suffers from a mental illness to have a lawyer rather than allowing that person to act as his or her own defense counsel, even when the individual is competent to be tried.Vacating an Indiana Supreme Court decision from more than a year ago, the nation's highest court today issued its 7-2 ruling in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208, holding that states can restrict pro se representation...
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Court: Company not negligent in trust demise

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a magistrate judge's ruling in favor of a Michigan company on claims that it was negligent in managing an Indiana trust that eventually collapsed. Magistrate Judge John Paul Godich, of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana's Indianapolis Division, granted summary judgment in favor of Benefit Actuaries on Indiana Funeral Directors Insurance Trust's claims that Benefit violated its fiduciary duty under ERISA, and negligently failed to provide competent advice while managing the trust.The...
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Leave act specific to alcoholism treatment

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana man sued his former employer for firing him on grounds that he missed too much work, arguing that he was covered by the federal medical leave act because he was getting treatment for alcoholism.But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined today that the Family and Medical Leave Act doesn't protect workers from being dismissed. Because he missed three days of work just prior to being admitted for alcoholism treatment and that time combined with previous absences was enough...
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COA: Duty to defend not triggered

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Frustrated with the parties involved in the litigation, the Indiana Court of Appeals April 17 reversed a trial court's ruling in a case involving public-access laws, fraud, and an insurer's duty to defend.In Allianz Insurance Company, et al. v. Guidant Corporation, et al., No. 49A05-0704-CV-216, Chief Judge John Baker wrote the unanimous opinion regarding the "monstrosity of a litigation that has crossed state lines" is a straightforward dispute about when and whether an insurer's duty to defend had been triggered. The judge cited the...
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  1. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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).

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