Courts

Justices deny request for additional proceedings in case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied a request for successive post-conviction proceedings involving a man convicted of stabbing an elderly DeKalb County man more than two dozen times during a robbery in 1984.Issued Monday afternoon, the seven-page unanimous order states that David Leon Woods did not meet his burden of establishing a reasonable probability that he ;s entitled to relief based on claims he is mentally retarded and had a disagreement with his attorneys about strategy.A Boone County jury convicted Woods...
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Senate confirms Tinder for 7th Circuit

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday to confirm U.S. Judge John D. Tinder to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, meaning he's the first Hoosier jurist appointed to the federal appellate court in two decades.Senators voted unanimously 93-0 in favor of Judge Tinder's appointment shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, after a day of voting on federal spending, alternative tax, and debate on various other issues. Seven senators didn't vote and he gained support from everyone else, including both Indiana senators -...
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COA rules on anonymous juries

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case with a matter of first impression involving the use of anonymous juries and if they are reviewable under the harmless error analysis. In Carl A. Major v. State of Indiana, http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/09280701cjb.pdf 45A03-0610-CR-483, Carl Major appealed his convictions of murder in the perpetration of a robbery and aggravated felony, and his aggregate sentence of 175 years in prison, arguing the trial court erred in empanelling an anonymous jury and that his sentence is...
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U.S. Supreme Court accepts Indiana voter ID challenge

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States will decide whether Indiana's two-year-old law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls is constitutional. Justices accepted the pair of combined cases Monday and issued an order this morning. The court was considering about 60 potential cases, including two others from Indiana: Gilles v. Blanchard, et al., which involves religious speech on the public ground at Vincennes University; and Deb Mayer v. Monroe Community School Corp. involving a teacher fired for comments...
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Court overturns breach-of-contract ruling

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Marion Superior Court decision granting partial summary judgment in favor of the defendant on an issue of breach of contract, ruling a state agency couldn't approve a cleanup that didn't comply to federal standards. In Indiana Department of Environmental Management v. Raybestos Products Co., No. 49A02-0609-CV-782, IDEM appealed the trial court's grant of partial summary judgment to Raybestos on the issue of a breeched agreed order and a judgment of more than $16 million...
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Court grants visitation for partner in guardianship case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
When Patrick Atkins suffered a brain hemorrhage and subsequent stroke on a business trip in 2005, his partner of almost 30 years wanted to be there and visit.While Atkins' family didn't approve of the relationship, Brett Conrad was allowed to visit and have contact with his partner at first. But the family began cutting off that contact and eventually the two sides went to court over visitation rights and guardianship. Conrad lost in Hamilton Superior Court before Judge Steven Nation, who...
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Indiana Supreme Court won't review football death case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will not review a Marion County case involving a 17-year-old ;s death following football practice in July 2001.Justices denied transfer Thursday in Stowers v. Clinton Central, declining to vacate the Oct. 26 Court of Appeals decision that the school corporation, coaches, and athletic director were not negligent in the teenager ;s death. However, the ruling also stands that Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller erred by not including a jury instruction to describe the scope of school release...
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Federal judge lifts Marion County jail oversight

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis has ended a 35-year federal oversight period of the Marion County jail that resulted from a lawsuit by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1972.Judge Barker's June 8 order released Monday noted that jail and lockup expansions, court-ordered inmate releases, and the creation of a night court late last year show that legal requirements have been met and judicial supervision of the litigation is no longer needed. Dissolving the consent decree is "fair,...
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Supreme Court will hear 5 arguments this week

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A mobile home demolished more than a year ago is the subject of one of several oral arguments the Indiana Supreme Court will hear this week.Justices will hear three cases Tuesday, and two more are scheduled for Thursday, but the court has granted transfer in only two of those cases so far.The mobile home-related argument tomorrow is in Ernestine Waldon v. Donna Wilkins, 18A04-0604-CV-199, which comes out of Delaware County. After deciding a mobile home was unfit to live in, the...
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Court rules on discovery of trade secrets

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A tire making formula is considered a trade secret and doesn't have to be disclosed in discovery, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The unanimous 11-page ruling comes in a much-anticipated first impression case of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. v. Violet Mayberry, et al., No. 48A02-0504-CV-368, which stemmed from a fatal August 2001 accident in which a woman lost control of her vehicle on Interstate 69 after one of the tires came apart. Her family sued the tire maker; during discovery they asked for...
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Supreme Court operations find new space

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has reached an agreement to move some of its operations from the National City Center downtown to a property formerly occupied by Eli Lilly.The new, 10-year agreement is estimated to save taxpayers about $1 million over the course of the lease, and takes effect at the end of the year, said Justice Theodore Boehm, who has led the negotiations process for the state court.This agreement means divisions of the Supreme Court, such as the Indiana Judicial Center,...
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Sentence in murder-for-hire plot cut

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has slashed a sentence for an Anderson man convicted last year in a murder-for-hire plot of his wife and mother-in-law.Justices unanimously granted transfer and issued a five-page opinion Wednesday afternoon in Aaron Reid v. State of Indiana, 48S04-0711-CR-552, a case from Madison County that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in a not-for-publication opinion in May. Last year, Madison Superior Judge Thomas Newman gave Reid a maximum 50-year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. The case...
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Court affirms worker's comp dismissal

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a Full Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana decision to dismiss a claim against a former employer, citing statutory conditions have been met to release the employer from any liability. In William Pete Casper v. L.E. Isley & Sons, Inc., No. 93A02-0702-EX-179, Casper's wife, Janet, on behalf of William's estate, appealed the dismissal of the estate's claim against L.E. Isley for worker's compensation. Janet Casper argued the dismissal was premature. William Casper worked for Isley for more...
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Chief Justice speaking on judicial independence

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Judicial independence and accountability are the topics du jour for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.The state's top judge was the keynote speaker at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum this afternoon. The Center for Free Inquiry at Hanover College hosted the free program, "Politics and the Courts: Judicial Independence and Accountability," at the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum in Indianapolis.This topic arises as the role of courts in the U.S. has become a focus for criticism, including how the judiciary...
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Justices to hear 2 arguments

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday will consider two cases, delving into non-compete agreements, and the legal line between parental control and child battery.Justices will first hear arguments at 9 a.m. in Central Indiana Podiatry P.C. v. Kenneth J. Krueger, Meridian Health Group P.C., 29S05-0706-CV-256, which the Court of Appeals ruled on in January. The appellate court overturned a decision by Hamilton Superior Judge Daniel Pfleging and ruled he should have made the podiatrist, Dr. Kenneth Krueger, stop working pending trial after...
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Court of Appeals revises burglary sentence

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today revised a 40-year sentence handed down to a 19-year-old, citing inconsistencies between the trial court's oral and written sentencing statements. In Nathan D. Feeney v. State of Indiana, 79A02-0609-CR-823, Feeney appealed his cumulative 40-year sentence for convictions of 10 counts of burglary as a Class B felony, which consisted of four consecutive and six concurrent 10-year sentences, because he believed the sentences to be too harsh given the nature of his offenses and his character. At...
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IPBC exec director's last day Friday

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Friday will be Monica Fennell's last day as executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission - at least until she returns next August. Fennell will be in Washington, D.C., for a one-year fellowship with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Her replacement for a one-year fellowship of her own is Trischa Zorn-Hudson.Zorn-Hudson has already been working with Fennell, and her first full day will be July 23. "I know that the Pro Bono Commission...
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Amici briefs support Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Eleven parties have submitted amici briefs in support of Indiana's voter identification law, which goes before the Supreme Court of the United States in January.Parties had a Monday deadline to submit briefs in the pair of cases Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25), which the nation's high court will hear arguments on Jan. 9. Both challenge the law that took effect July 2005 and has been upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of...
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Tax Court sets arguments next month

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court will hear arguments next month on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the state's property tax assessment system.Arguments are set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Mel Goldstein, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., 49T10-0709-TA-00045. Indianapolis attorney John Price filed the suit earlier this month on behalf of 11 residents from around the state and seven citizens' organizations pushing for tax reform. The suit includes 14 counts relating directly to Marion County...
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Court rules in favor of municipal utilities

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The state's eminent domain statute allows Indiana municipalities to acquire operations of privately owned water and sewer utilities that serve recently annexed portions of that community, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The split 3-2 decision came in Utility Center, Inc., d/b/a Aquasource v. City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 02S04-0706-CV-248.This case from Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts involves Fort Wayne's initiation of condemnation proceedings against a company operating a competing public water utility in and around the city, which also owns its...
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Commission studies mental illness, death penalty

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana could be the first state to bar the mentally ill from being executed, two recognized legal experts told a legislative commission Friday.Of course, doing so would mean first agreeing on a definition for what "mentally ill" entails.That was the topic discussed during the first legislative meeting of the Bowser Commission, the legislative interim study committee designed to study mental illness as it relates to the death penalty. The group was formed in recognition of the late Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan...
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Indiana's GAL/CASA program receives $49,000

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A national grant will help pay for an Indiana Supreme Court program serving neglected and abused children whose families are in the court system.The state's highest court announced Wednesday that the Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate (GAL/CASA) Program is receiving $49,000 from the National CASA Association.Formed in 1990, the state court's program was the first in the nation last year to be certified for meeting standards. It also offers training and support for about 65 counties across the state -...
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Misconduct not inappropriate enough to alter trial outcome

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A prosecutor ;s request to call opposing defense counsel to the stand during a Pike County trial may have been inappropriate, but the Indiana Court of Appeals has determined it didn ;t rise to the level of misconduct that would have impacted the outcome.The appellate panel issued its decision today in Joshua J. Nolan v. State, which stems from a 2005 case leading to Nolan ;s conviction for criminal deviate conduct and residential entry. He raised three issues on appeal, but...
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High court rules on estate issue

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on a matter of first impression today regarding the disposition of an entire estate during life or death. In the Matter of the Guardianship of E.N., Adult,No. 88S01-0703-CV-121, deals with the issue of whether the guardianship estate planning statute authorizes dispositions of a protected person's entire estate, not just "excess" assets, as defined in the statute. In this case, E.N. married and had two children - Shirley and Marvin. He executed a will in 1983 and...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in three cases - David Michael Green v. State of Indiana; Beth Palmer Kopczynski and Alisha Palmer v. David B. and Peggy L. Barger; and Richard U. and Delores J. Pflanz v. Merrill Foster, et al. In Green v. State, 45A05-0612-CR-708, Green appealed his conviction and sentence for two counts of felony murder, claiming his victim's death was out of self-defense and an accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed the state presented sufficient evidence to...
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

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