Courts

Court examines master commissioner statutes

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Footnotes in at least two recent Indiana Court of Appeals decisions show how the appellate court sees state statutes governing the authority master commissioners have in carrying out trial court business.In a published opinion issued today in Denia Baniaga v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0801-CR-21, the three-judge panel led by Chief Judge John G. Baker attached a footnote to the first page of the case from Marion Superior Judge Steven Eichholtz and Master Commissioner Patrick Murphy. The master commissioner heard the...
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Delayed COA appeal declared moot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by an election board and political candidates who challenged a candidate's ability to run as an Independent because the candidate had already lost in the election when the appeal finally made it before the appellate court. The appeal, Lake County Board of Elections and Registrations, Myrna Maldonado, Richard Medina, and Juda Parks v. Anthony Copeland, No. 45A04-0710-CV-560, came before the Court of Appeals after the November 2007 election because of an error in the...
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Judge pleads guilty, receives suspension

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Allen Circuit Judge Thomas J. Felts pleaded guilty today in Marion Superior Court to operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. Marion Superior Judge William Nelson sentenced the judge to one year probation and suspended his driver's license for 90 days, starting tomorrow. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office asked the judge to immediately suspend Judge Felt's driver's license, but Judge Nelson allowed for a one-day delay so that Judge Felts could drive home to Allen County, said Marion County Prosecutor's...
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Chief justice to give annual address

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard will give his annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday.Next week will mark the 21st time Chief Justice Shepard will give the address since assuming the court's top position in 1987, two years after joining the appellate court. The hour-long annual address starts at 1:30 p.m. in the chambers of the Indiana House of Representatives in Indianapolis.His address typically includes a discussion of the state courts' ongoing projects, accomplishments in the past year, and future...
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High court grants transfer in molestation case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in a case to determine whether a defendant's convictions were unfairly affected by taped interviews played at trial. In Brian Tyler v. State of Indiana, No. 69A04-0702-CR-120, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Tyler's convictions of vicarious sexual gratification and two counts of felony child molesting, as well as finding his sentence was appropriate. Tyler had exposed himself to five children in his care and touched one of the young girls. He also had the...
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Hospital duty to patients case granted transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to a case in which judges were split on the duty a hospital owed to patients to prevent possible harm by refusing to release them to a suspected abuser.The high court agreed to take Ava McSwane and Danielle Hays v. Bloomington Hospital and Healthcare System and Jean M. Eelma, M.D., No. 53A04-0705-CV-243, to decide what duty Bloomington Hospital owed to Ava McSwane's daughter, Malia Vandeneede, once it suspected Vandeneede came to the hospital with injuries...
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Chief PD: No one forced me out

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The top public defender in Marion County said he wasn't forced to leave the agency for any reason, though he does worry that politics could play into the naming of his successor.Indiana Lawyer put the question to David E. Cook after reading a posting on Ruth's Blog, a Web log devoted to news and commentary. The posting claimed that Cook was forced from his job for political reasons.While Cook is cognizant that his position is a political one and attempts have...
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COA to travel to Wabash College

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments Feb. 26 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Melissa May will hear the appeal from Monroe Circuit Court of H.D., et al. v. BHC Meadows Hospital, Inc. at 3 p.m. In this appeal, the court is asked to decide whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act requires a juvenile and his or her parents to bring claims from a breach of patient confidentiality before a medical review panel prior...
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Conspiracy, false statements convictions stand

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the convictions of participating in a price-fixing conspiracy and making false statements to federal law enforcement of an Indianapolis man involved in a concrete price-fixing scheme. In United States of America v. Christopher A. Beaver, No. 07-1381, Beaver appealed his convictions, arguing the government failed to prove at trial a price-fixing conspiracy existed, that he joined the conspiracy, or that he made false statements. Beaver, as operations manager of Beaver Materials Corp., was one of...
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Appeals court to visit Marion, Vigo counties

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals continues to travel around the state this month, making stops in Marion and Vigo counties Tuesday. Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Margret Robb will hear arguments in Gary and Katherine Hoesman v. Daniel Sheffler, et al., No. 77A01-0708-CV-385, at 10:30 a.m. in the Cecilian Auditorium in the Conservatory of Music Building at the St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Vigo County. In this case, a trust's beneficiaries discovered the trust administrator had converted funds for her personal...
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District Court didn't err in Franks hearing

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's drug conviction following a Franks hearing, affirming the U.S. District Court's decision to reconsider one of its findings and to not compel the government to identify the confidential informant in the case. The case of United States of America v. Antone C. Harris, No. 07-1315, made its way back to the 7th Circuit after the federal appellate court originally remanded the case to the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis...
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Aspiring attorneys general face off: Other campaigns get the spotlight, but this one deserves a closer look

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
With at least two very closely watched races in Indiana - governor and president - and multiple political theories about how either race will go, there's bound to be less attention paid to some of the other candidates. But with Republican Gregory Zoeller and Democrat Linda Pence up for the attorney general post and the incumbent Steve Carter not running, this race is worth another look. At stake is the oversight of the state attorney general's office, basically a very large...
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Federal judge won't overturn jury verdict

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Ruling on his first jury trial as a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen declined to overturn a jury verdict in favor of a fired East Chicago worker who'd claimed she lost her job for political reasons.In an eight-page ruling on Aug. 1 in Blanca I. Camacho v. George Pabey, et al., No. 2:05-cv-456, Judge Van Bokkelen ruled that a reasonable jury had evidence to find in favor of Camacho and award her $250,000.Camacho was a restaurant inspector when...
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Social Security doesn't go toward threshold

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Social Security benefits can't be counted toward the threshold amount of benefits that a person has to get in order to be eligible for benefits from Indiana's Second Injury Fund, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.The court tackled the issue of first impression in James Kohlmeyer v. Second Injury Fund, No. 93A02-0711-EX-1000, in which James Kohlmeyer argued Social Security benefits he received after becoming permanently totally disabled as a result of a work accident should count toward the threshold dictated under...
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Justices: Act doesn't allow interest

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Interest may not be calculated on workers' compensation benefits, including past-due medical bills, because Indiana legislation doesn't expressly allow for it, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today. In Christopher R. Brown, D.D.S., Inc. v. Decatur County Memorial Hospital, No. 93S02-0711-EX-561, Dr. Christopher Brown appealed the decision by the full Workers' Compensation Board that he was not entitled to interest on past-due medical bills incurred from his treatment of a patient who was receiving workers' compensation benefits from Decatur County Memorial Hospital. Indiana's...
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COA mulls 'fraud' in paternity affidavit statute

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A man's paternity cannot be revoked three years after he and the child's mother fraudulently signed an affidavit establishing that he's the legal father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.The court's unanimous ruling paves the way for a possible Indiana Supreme Court interpretation of this particular state statute, which this appellate panel believes was designed to protect a man's paternal rights in the event he was defrauded - not when he was the one doing the deception along with the...
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Lawyer suspended for conversion, lying

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court suspended a Vanderburgh County attorney today for at least three years for committing what the court describes as the most serious of ethical breaches.The court came to its decision In the matter of: Douglas W. Patterson, No. 82S00-0402-DI-90, as a result of Douglas Patterson's conversion of client funds, deceit in concealing his misconduct, and dishonesty with the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.Patterson was an associate at a law firm which maintained a trust account. In 1999, Patterson and...
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Judges disagree on registration by homeless

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today in an opinion in which the majority ruled that a man who claimed he was temporarily homeless should be charged with violating the Indiana statute that requires registered sex offenders to provide their new address to authorities within seven days of a move. One judge dissented, saying their ruling would make homelessness a crime.Judges L. Mark Bailey and Ezra Friedlander affirmed Daniel J. Milliner's conviction for failing to register as a sex offender and...
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Head Start considered a school

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Teachers who work for a federally funded program to help children prepare for kindergarten are not eligible under Indiana statute for unemployment during summer breaks, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In South Bend Community School Corporation v. Linda D. Lucas, No. 93A02-0705-EX-387, the majority of judges agreed with South Bend that Head Start institutions should be considered schools under Indiana statute and therefore, its teachers are not allowed to collect unemployment during the summer. Lucas works as a teacher at...
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License revocations stayed for now

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked the state from revoking driver's licenses that don't match Social Security records.The preliminary injunction came June 6 in a case challenging the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles' invalidations of licenses or identification cards on the sole basis of mismatched records.The decision comes in Lyn Leone, et al. v. Indiana BMV Commissioner, No. 49A02-0804-CV-00377, which is currently pending in the state's second highest appellate court and is at the briefing stage...
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State files suit against mortgage lender

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter has filed a lawsuit against mortgage lender Countrywide Home Loans Inc. for questionable practices, making Indiana the fifth state to take action against the largest lender in the country. The suit, No. 76C01-0808-PL-652, was mailed to Steuben Circuit Court Aug. 22 and filed the same day. The suit, which includes Countrywide's parent company, Countrywide Financial Corporation, alleges the company engaged in deceptive and misleading practices that put borrowers in potentially risky and costly loans. Carter's investigation...
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High court clarifies evidence designation

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a defendant and also clarified the designation of evidence in regards to Indiana Trial Rule 56(C). In Idan (John) Filip and Valaria Filip v. Carrie Block and 1st Choice Insurance Agency, No. 75S05-0704-CV-149, the Filips filed a suit against Block and 1st Choice, alleging negligence in the selection of insurance on an apartment building they purchased in 1999. Block was the insurance agent of the previous owner,...
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Justices: 'Three Strikes Law' unconstitutional

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A four-year-old state statute aimed at limiting frivolous lawsuits filed by prison inmates is unconstitutional because it effectively closes the courthouse doors altogether for certain people, a split Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.Three of the five justices - Justices Theodore Boehm, Robert Rucker, and Brent Dickson - agreed that the state's 2004 "Three Strikes Law" violates the Indiana Constitution's Open Courts Clause. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan disagreed and observed their colleagues' decision means many Hoosier litigants...
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AG won't appeal sex-offender law ruling

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Office of Indiana Attorney General won't appeal a federal court's decision last month that ruled a law requiring sex offenders to allow for blanket consent of computer and home searches is unconstitutional. Instead of appealing, Attorney General Steve Carter said in a press release Thursday that the office will work with legislators this fall to create a law that will protect children from Internet predators but would not violate the Constitution. Carter also cited the cost to taxpayers as a...
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Judges: Dispute can be arbitrated

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A union and the owner of the facility the union wants to organize can proceed to arbitration to decide whether the facility is a covered workplace under an agreement requiring neutrality, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. In United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union v. TriMas Corporation, No. 07-1688, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW) brought an action in federal...
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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