Courts

Stefaniak to become new Lake County juvenile court judge

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judge Thomas Stefaniak will take over the juvenile court in Lake County, ending a months-long dispute over the judgeship that involved the intervention of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Convenience store association says cold beer ban discriminatory

June 5, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Along with the usual reasons including giving consumers more options, providing price competition and sparking new investment in the state, Indiana convenience store owners have added a new argument to their push to sell cold beer – it’s their constitutional right.
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Lawsuit claims Indiana’s high-risk insurance pool hoards cash

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Health care providers who’ve been rejected by private malpractice writers turn to a state-run insurer that typically charges two to three times more for coverage. A class-action lawsuit claims the high-risk pool owes its policyholders a $31 million surplus.
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Disciplinary Actions - 6/5/13

June 5, 2013
IL Staff
Read who's been suspended recently by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Statement in tort claim does not prevent woman from trying to recover for injuries

June 4, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Even though a woman originally stated she did not suffer any injuries after her vehicle was rear ended by a police car, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled she can file a subsequent complaint against the municipality and the police department for personal injuries.
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Appeals court tosses 3 of man’s 5 molestation convictions

June 4, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of five counts of molesting an 8-year-old girl on repeated occasions should only have been convicted of two counts, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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More than 300 lawyers suspended for CLE, fees, IOLTA violations

June 4, 2013
IL Staff
More than 300 attorneys have been suspended from the practice of law for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements, failing to pay registration fees or failing to submit interest on lawyer trust account certifications.
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7th Circuit finds meth dealer was acting like a merchant, not a manager

June 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an Indiana man determined how much and how often his buyers received methamphetamine as well as pressured them to sell, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded his sentence should not have been enhanced because his actions were not coercive.
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Divided COA adds to difference of opinion on partial consecutive sentences

June 3, 2013
Dave Stafford

The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 opinion Monday that further deepened an appellate divide on whether judges may impose partially consecutive sentences.

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Justices take grandparent visitation, divorce cases

June 3, 2013
Dave Stafford
Cases involving grandparents’ visitation rights and modification of parental custody orders have been added to arguments that will be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Jurors may be asked mental health, suicide questions in Shuai case

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
Potential jurors in the high-profile trial of a Chinese immigrant charged with murder for the death of her newborn daughter won’t have to disclose their religious or political views, but they will be asked whether they or people close to them have been treated for mental health issues, suffered the loss of an infant or attempted suicide.
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Justices rule defendant’s confession came under ‘increasing coercive pressure’

May 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Incriminating statements made to detectives during an early morning interrogation in the county jail have been thrown out by the Indiana Supreme Court because the defendant had invoked his right to counsel at an interrogation two days before.
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Contempt conviction for failure to testify affirmed

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A woman who refused to answer questions about another criminal defendant after she was granted immunity was not wrongly convicted of contempt of court, an appellate panel ruled Friday.
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Appeals court tosses 1 of man’s 6 drug convictions

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man found guilty of multiple drug charges will have one conviction vacated because he was subjected to double jeopardy, the Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Appeals court reinstates trucker’s wrongful death suit

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment for an axle manufacturer sued by the estate of a contract truck driver who died when a load fell on him in an accident that occurred while the facility was closed.
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Justices vacate transfer in pot bust case heard in Merrillville

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided appellate court ruling upholding a marijuana conviction resulting from a tip that led to a traffic stop will stand after the Indiana Supreme Court vacated transfer.
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Judge sets hearing on Conour bond revocation bid

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge Thursday set a hearing to determine whether former personal injury attorney William Conour will remain free pending his federal wire fraud trial.
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Judge’s opinion keeps colleague in suspense

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner had a fellow judge on the edge of his seat Thursday waiting to see how the opinion in a murder case would be decided. The court upheld a prisoner’s conviction of first-degree murder of the prisoner’s cellmate.
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COA: Social worker able to testify as expert witness

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A social worker who testified about a parenting assessment at a termination of parental rights hearing was properly allowed to testify as an expert witness, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the Indiana Rules of Evidence control. The judges affirmed the termination of a mother’s parental rights to her two young sons.
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Ephedrine database allowable under business record hearsay exception

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday that a National Precursor Log Exchange report documenting the purchases of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine by a defendant are allowed into evidence under the business record exception to the hearsay rule.
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Aromatherapy distributors challenge new 'look-alike' synthetic drug law

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Four companies that sell novelty items, aromatherapy products and other items have filed a lawsuit against Indiana’s prosecutors, alleging a newly enacted law that makes it illegal to possess or deal “look-alike” synthetic drugs is unconstitutional.
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Insufficient notice voids tax deed

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a Carroll County man should be allowed to make a redemption payment to obtain five parcels of real estate owned by his mother that were put in a tax sale. The failure to comply with the statutes governing tax sales and redemption rendered void a tax deed on the properties assigned to someone else.
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Man ineligible to bring belated appeal

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because his guilty plea included a fixed sentence, a man who pleaded guilty to a drunken-driving charge is precluded from challenging his sentence by direct appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. This also prevents him from challenging his sentence under Ind. Post-Conviction Rule 2.
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First Merchants Bank accused of overdraft fee violations

May 29, 2013
Chris O'Malley
A lawsuit alleges that Muncie-based First Merchants Bank manipulated the timing of customers’ transactions to cause their checking accounts to bounce more frequently, generating millions of dollars in overdraft fees.
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COA addresses first impression issue regarding education under civil rights law

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals – with one judge reluctantly doing so – affirmed a decision by an administrative law judge that found a religious organization unlawfully retaliated against a family by expelling them from the homeschooling group. The expulsion occurred after the family sought a dietary accommodation for their teenage daughter at a social event and later filed a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
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