Courts

Panel to discuss race, death penalty

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Black Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington are sponsoring the program, "Intersection of Race and Jury Composition with the Death Penalty" April 1.Panelists for the program are: Marla Sandys, associate professor of criminal justice at IU - Bloomington; Paula Sites, Indiana Public Defender Council; and Jessie Cook, an attorney in private practice who has dealt with death penalty cases. In addition to discussing the issue of race and the death...
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Indiana State Bar Association files new trust mill suit: Indianapolis company accused of unauthorized practice of law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A decade ago, Vesser and Helen Davis met with an estate planning company representative about how to divvy up their assets and their Hamilton County farm. That representative drew on a flipchart, illustrated ways a partnership and corporation could be set up, outlined differences between wills and trusts, explained the probate process, and advised the pair how they could arrange their finances and establish a corporate structure for the family farm business. In the end, they paid thousands of dollars for...
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Indiana lawyer helped reporter win in Africa

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
A case where an African country's government was accused of kidnapping and torturing a journalist was decided on June 5 in favor of the reporter and his family.Indianapolis attorney Dan Byron assisted the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa, which filed the suit on behalf of Chief Ebrima Manneh.Byron spent October and November in Africa and has remained in touch with the foundation's attorneys since then.In what Byron called a "good day for human rights and press rights in West Africa"...
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Juvenile court to be featured in documentary

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A Lake County juvenile court will once again allow cameras in to capture the inner workings of the court for a nationally broadcast documentary.Indianapolis documentary filmmaker Karen Grau will have access to Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's courtroom in Crown Point to film and produce six, one-hour documentary programs. The goal of the series is to shed light on the issues facing the courts and children served by the court. Because of the nature of the documentary, the Indiana Supreme Court authorized...
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COA affirms dismissal of complaint

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson man who filed a complaint against the officers that arrested him and two police departments filed his civil action outside of the statute of limitation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled April 28.The appellate court agreed with the trial court in Jon S. Johnson v. Stephon Blackwell, et al., No. 49A02-0709-CV-759, that Johnson filed his four-count complaint against two detectives, the Madison County Sheriff's Department, and the Anderson Police Department after the two-year statute of limitations expired. After receiving a...
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COA affirms $17.9 million judgment against firm

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two years ago, a jury hit an Indianapolis law firm with a $17.9 million verdict after it found the firm liable for a failed health plan that left 8,200 Hoosier with unpaid medical bills.The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an appeal from that general jury verdict and judgment in favor of the state's insurance commissioner, Jim Atterholt. The 37-page opinion, which includes a two-page dissent from Judge Carr Darden, comes in Frederick W. Dennerline III, and Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe...
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Appeal likely in license-plate fee suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals will likely be asked to consider whether the Hoosier license plates proclaiming "In God We Trust" violate the state constitution regarding the fees not attached for motorists.Following a ruling released Thursday by Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana plans to appeal on behalf of a Fort Wayne man who sued over the plate a year ago. At issue in Mark E. Studler v. Indiana BMV, No. 49D05-0704-PL-016603, was the $15...
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SCOTUS hears voter ID case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Arguments played out in the Supreme Court of the United States this morning on the legality of Indiana's voter identification law.The nine justices heard an hour of arguments at 10 a.m. in the combined Hoosier cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, No. 07-25. Both challenge the state's three-year-old voter photo ID law that's been upheld by both U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Stakes are...
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COA sides with Lauth in casino suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indianapolis commercial developer Lauth didn't breach a joint venture contract or any of its duties with other parties by partnering with the Bloomington-based Cook Group on an Orange County riverboat casino project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In a unanimous holding in Lauth Indiana Resort & Casino LLC v. Lost River Development LLC, et al., 29A02-0710-CV-839, the court ruled on an issue of first impression about when a joint venture terminates in situations where the agreements contain no specific termination date,...
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Judge denies motion to reconsider

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge took some time this week to defend a previous decision that dropped Indiana as a defendant in a suit filed by a Fort Wayne man who accuses police, prosecutors, and the Allen Circuit Court of discriminating against him.Pro se plaintiff Derrick O. Martin asked U.S. District Judge Philip Simon, Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, to reconsider the court's ruling from earlier this year. The judge issued a three-page opinion Wednesday denying the request that claimed the...
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Court to consider juvenile detention funding

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals is considering a case this week that has statewide implications on who must pay to operate juvenile detention facilities - the state or individual counties.Arguments are set April 17 in Marion County and St. Joseph County v. State of Indiana, 73A01-0705-CV-238, a suit the counties brought after Indiana tried to recover about $75 million it spent in operating juvenile detention facilities in those two areas. The court will decide whether the trial court erred in entering a decision...
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Courts may modify custody upon relocation

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Trial courts are not required to order a change in custody upon a parental relocation under a 2006 Indiana statute, the Indiana Supreme Court decided today. The high court ruled trial courts are allowed to modify custody arrangements at their own discretion. In Valerie Raich Baxendale v. Samuel Raich, III, No. 64S05-0709-CV-372, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the Indiana Court of Appeals decision, finding the trial court's balancing of relevant considerations in granting physical custody of A.R. to Raich was not erroneous....
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Justices to hear 2 arguments

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear two arguments Thursday morning.At 9 a.m., justices will hear a direct appeal in David Camm v. State, No. 87S00-0612-CR-499, which comes from Warrick Superior Court and involves a former state trooper convicted two years ago of murdering his family.Camm is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole following his second conviction in the September 2000 murders of his wife and their two children, 7-year-old Bradley and 5-year-old Jill, in southern Indiana. The Indiana Court...
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SCOTUS denies Vanderburgh County case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court won't take a Vanderburgh County case decided last year by the Indiana Supreme Court, which by a split vote reinstated the death sentence for a man convicted of murdering his wife and two young children.At its weekly private conference March 28, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Paul M. McManus v. State of Indiana, No. 07-8435. After ruling in State of Indiana v. Paul M. McManus, No. 82S00-0503-PD-78, June 27, 2007, the Indiana Supreme Court denied a...
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School, student settle pledge suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Within a week of filing a federal lawsuit, a settlement has been reached on a case involving a high school student who was punished for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance.The Franklin Community School Corp. superintendent said the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has agreed to drop the lawsuit. The school district will pay the student's $1,000 in attorney fees, clear his school record, and not require participation by standing or any other way during the Pledge of Allegiance...
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Court rules on 2 water-related cases

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals decided two environmental cases today involving issues pertaining to lake levels and the rights lakefront property owners enjoy.In Center Townhouse Corp., et al. v. City of Mishawaka, No. 71A04-0612-CV-707, the court tackled an issue it hasn't specifically dealt with before and decided not to expand Indiana's riparian rights, or those privileges extended to waterfront property owners, to include the right of unobstructed view of the water.A group of eight townhome owners brought an inverse condemnation action against...
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SCOTUS set to start term

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Next week will be a big one for Indiana in the Supreme Court of the United States.The nation's highest court will hear six arguments next week, including a much-anticipated and publicized case involving Indiana's voter identification law, and another state's case that has Hoosier interest on the constitutionality of lethal injections.On Tuesday, the justices will take on a pair of Indiana cases. The combined cases are Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, No....
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Appeal moot, but attorney fees allowed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal as moot but awarded the defendant appellate attorney fees and costs because the plaintiff engaged in procedural and substantive bad faith during the appeals process. In Samuel Lesjak v. New England Financial, No. 29A02-0706-CV-499, Lesjak appealed the trial court's order that he arbitrate a claim filed against him by New England Financial in a forum other than the National Association of Securities Dealers. Lesjak worked for New England Securities as a broker/dealer. He registered...
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Chief public defender delays departure

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Expect to see David E. Cook's face at the Marion County Public Defender Agency a little longer than anticipated.The chief public defender is delaying for a month his departure - originally planned for Feb. 15 - to help make sure the agency has adequate leadership while its board of directors searches for a successor. Cook is stepping down after 12 years as the county's top public defender to work for immigration firm Gresk & Singleton in Indianapolis.Because the agency needed leadership...
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COA: Offender residency law not OK

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court's ruling that the state's law prohibiting violent and child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or public area where children congregate is unconstitutional.The ruling came in State of Indiana v. Anthony W. Pollard, No. 05A02-0707-CR-640. Judges heard arguments in the case March 31. The state argued that Indiana Code Section 35-42-4-11 was not considered ex post facto law as applied to Pollard, but the appeals court disagreed and...
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Restitution continues beyond probation period

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed today that trial courts must inquire about a defendant's ability to pay when they order restitution as a condition of probation or a suspended sentence and a restitution obligation continues beyond the end of a probationary period. However, in Jeffrey Pearson v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0712-CR-574, the high court affirmed the trial court's order for Pearson to pay at least $150 a month in restitution as a condition of his probation even though the trial court...
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Professor entitled to unemployment benefits

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
University professors who do not have their fixed-termed contracts renewed after the contract expires are entitled to unemployment benefits because their resulting unemployment isn't voluntary, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday. In Indiana State University v. William C. LaFief, et al., No. 93S02-0801-EX-17, William LaFief was hired by Indiana State University as an assistant professor for one academic year and was reappointed for the following year. After his second academic year at the university, LaFief was told by the school he would...
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Court allows relief under Crime Victims Statute

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Contract provisions that exempt a party from liability under the Indiana Crime Victims Statute are void when the party violates public policy, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. In The State Group Industrial (USA) Unlimited v. Murphy & Associates Industrial Services, No. 82A04-0703-CV-158, State Group appealed the trial court judgment denying the company's request for relief under Indiana Code 34-24-3-1, the Crime Victims Statute. The trial court awarded State Group actual damages, but denied relief under the statute based on a...
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Lawmakers pick summer study topics

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
State lawmakers have announced what topics they'll explore before the 2009 legislative term begins.On tap: immigration, administrative law judge powers, Indiana's alcoholic beverage laws, and a variety of other legal issues.The Indiana Legislative Council Thursday created multiple new interim study commissions that will meet this summer. What they recommend helps set the stage for the next session. Legislative leaders will appoint lawmakers to the panels in coming weeks, and most must make recommendations to the General Assembly by Nov. 1.One of...
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COA says how to admit DNA testing analysis

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's convictions of child molesting and used the opinion to establish how documents explaining the underlying analysis of DNA testing may be admitted at a criminal trial.In hearing the appeal of Richard Pendergrass v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0712-CR-588, the appellate court discovered after a thorough review of caselaw that there was no precedent in place to establish the admittance at a criminal trial of those documents. Richard Pendergrass appealed his child molesting convictions, arguing...
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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