Courts

Judges go back to school

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
If your local judge wasn't on the bench the latter part of the week, it may be that he or she took some time to go to judicial school. The 2008 Spring Judicial College was Wednesday through today, offering jurists statewide a chance to brush up on certain areas of law or particular issues of interest. An estimated 250 Hoosier jurists converged on Indianapolis, coming and going for some or all of the annual college, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said."It's...
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Judges affirm juvenile adjudication case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A 17-year-old male drove by the Indiana State Fairgrounds in a sports car last year with DVD-recorded nude and sexually explicit scenes playing on a video screen visible from the rearview window.Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his adjudication as a delinquent juvenile for disseminating matter harmful to minors, an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult. The court held that minors had visible access to the videos and that was sufficient evidence.In M.S. v. State...
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State must arbitrate with tobacco companies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
States involved in a settlement agreement with certain tobacco companies to recover health care costs for smoking-related illnesses must participate in a single, national arbitration panel when arbitrating issues, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today. In State of Indiana, ex rel., Stephen R. Carter, Attorney General of Indiana v. Philip Morris Tobacco Company, et al., No. 49A02-0706-CV-494, the state appealed the trial court order requiring Indiana to arbitrate with Philip Morris and other tobacco companies the decision of the independent auditor...
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Famous Civil War trial re-enactment March 4

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A famous Indiana Civil War trial that remains particularly relevant is being re-enacted on March 4, which is President Benjamin Harrison Day.About 250 middle and high school students are expected at the Indiana Statehouse for the educational re-enactment of the case, Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866), which involved citizens and military tribunals. A resident of Huntington, Ind., Milligan was sentenced to death by a military tribunal for his outspoken opposition to President Abraham Lincoln's Civil War draft. Several famous...
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COA footnotes: more past delays found

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Examples are still surfacing about how files had been delayed in getting transmitted to the Indiana Court of Appeals, although the Appellate Clerk's office has been backlog-free for about a month and these instances only highlight what had happened in the past.Two opinions in the past week show cases that were not transmitted from the clerk's office for eight months and almost two years, respectively. Both included footnotes explaining the situation, recent reforms, and advice to counsel about keeping tabs on...
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Law firm pays $50,000, ending $18M nightmare

January 1, 2008
An Indianapolis law firm has paid $50,000 to the Indiana Department of Insurance in a deal that extricates it from an $18 million jury verdict stemming from the collapse of a health insurance trust. The department released Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe from the massive judgment that a Marion County jury handed down against the law firm two years ago. In return, the firm transferred to the department the bad-faith claims it is pursuing against its malpractice insurer, Alabama-based ProNational Insurance...
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St. Joseph County seeks judicial applicants

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Any St. Joseph County attorney who wants to be a trial court judge can now apply for that opportunity.The county's Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications until 5 p.m. Aug. 29 for the judicial vacancy when St. Joseph Superior Judge William T. Means retires Sept. 30. The commission, which will recommend candidates for consideration to the governor, met last week to set a schedule for the application process.Interviews for applicants will be Sept. 12 in South Bend.According to state law, the...
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Justices affirm search warrant, convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a defendant's convictions of dealing in cocaine and possession of marijuana because the initial search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause. One justice dissented, fearing the logic used by the majority to affirm the search warrant would invite more searches by the government that could violate both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. In Willie Eaton v. State of Indiana, No. 89S04-0802-CR-106, Willie Eaton appealed his drug convictions, arguing the initial search warrant wasn't supported by...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to three cases that involve amending charging information after the omnibus date, police questioning about drugs during a routine traffic stop, and consolidating a preliminary injunction hearing with a trial on the merits without notice. In Michael Hill v. State of Indiana, No.49A02-0701-CR-110, the appellate court affirmed the trial court didn't err by allowing the state to amend the charging information to add the attempted sexual misconduct with a minor charge after the omnibus date....
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Court: media ban does not pass test

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling there were genuine issues of fact as to why they denied death row inmates from giving face-to-face interviews with the media. In David Paul Hammer v. John D. Ashcroft, et al., No. 06-1750, Hammer sued Bureau of Prison officials, including then-Attorney General of the U.S., John Ashcroft, and former wardens of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Harley Lappin and Keith...
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Hoosier bankruptcy filings among highest

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Bankruptcy filings have increased so much in Indiana that some U.S. trustees handling Chapter 7 proceedings may want to add an extra session each month to hear new cases.Attorneys statewide are seeing more clients from an uptick in filings, and as a result are not surprised to hear that federal filings across the country surged 38 percent in 2007. Nor are they surprised that Indiana ranked fourth highest in the nation overall and top in the country for the number of...
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Morgan County Courthouse damaged, closed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Morgan County Courthouse is closed today as a result of damage sustained by high winds from Tuesday's storm, and a courthouse disaster plan mandated by a new state rule has been kicked into gear for the first time.North and west sides of the courthouse's roof were heavily damaged in the storm. One half of the roof has been blown completely off, including the tresses and some of the brick wall it was attached to, said Jeff Neal, director of Morgan...
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Inmate matters, court provisions signed into law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Bills about the discharge of long-term inmates, judges' pensions, and various provisions concerning courts were among the remaining 33 bills sent to the governor's office that were signed into law yesterday.SEA 258 deals with the discharge of long-term inmates, GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders, and the conditions for probation or parole of a sex offender.SEA 329 allows full-time magistrates on or after July 1, 2010, to become participants in the judges' 1985 benefit system; increases the court administration fee from...
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Evening visits don't count toward credit

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Overnight visits must take place overnight in order to be used in a claim for parenting time credit under the child support guidelines, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Aug. 19. In Marla K. Young v. Timothy S. Young, No. 09S05-0803-CV-136, the high court addressed whether evening visits could be credited as overnight visits when calculating child support. Timothy Young was awarded 104 overnights, including 52 which were for two additional evenings per week he spent with their kids. But evening visits shouldn't...
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Courts weigh in on sex-offender restrictions

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A city's law prohibiting registered sex offenders from visiting parks or recreation areas is likely on its way to the Indiana Court of Appeals in what a civil liberties attorney said could be the first appellate case of its kind in the country.A ruling from Hendricks Superior Judge Robert Freeze March 14 upholds a Plainfield ban of sex offenders in parks and recreational areas, finding the six-year-old local ordinance constitutional and not in violation of any guideposts established by the state...
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SCOTUS sets date for second Indiana case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear its second case this term from Indiana on March 26, considering whether a defendant found competent to stand trial should also be allowed to represent himself.Justices granted certiorari in December for Indiana v. Edwards, No. 07-208, which follows an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in May 2007. The case stems from a July 1999 downtown Indianapolis incident in which Ahmad Edwards was caught on surveillance tape stealing shoes. He ultimately shot at police multiple...
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Justices grant five transfers

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted five new cases. At its weekly conference Aug. 28, justices granted transfer in two civil cases, two criminal cases, and a tax court case. • Brenda and Darren Wagner v. Bobbi Yates, et al., No. 22A01-0710-CV-474: An underinsured motorist policy case from Floyd County. The Court of Appeals in April affirmed the lower court's granting of a motion for summary judgment in favor of American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, the Wagners' automobile insurer. The court ruled that American Standard can set...
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Indiana District Courts amending local rules

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has published the amendments made to its Local Rules. After considering the proposed amendments and comments received, changes have been made to several rules including Rule 5.1 - General Format of Documents Presented for Filing, Rule 56.1 - Summary Judgment Procedure, and Rule II - Discipline Imposed by Other Courts. To view all of the changes, visit the District Court's Web site and click on the "Notice of Amendments to...
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SCOTUS defines money-laundering 'proceeds'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has defined money laundering and tossed out the convictions of an East Chicago man in a split decision today.The high court ruled on U.S. v. Efrain Santos, et al., No. 06-1005, which involved a money-laundering ring in East Chicago. This was one of two money-laundering cases decided by the court today; the other came in Cuellar v. U.S., No. 06-1456, which held that mere concealment of money during a transport is not enough to support...
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State's justices set record together

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court made history this week.The current five justices reached a record-setting milestone Feb. 24 in the number of days they've served together on the state's highest court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Ted Boehm, Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker, and Frank Sullivan have been together for 3,040 consecutive days, according to the Appellate Clerk's Office.To be clear: They've been together since Justice Rucker joined the court Nov. 19, 1999.The previous record goes back to 1985. Justices Alfred Pivarnik, Dixon...
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Settlement reached in equal pay suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A day before a multi-million dollar class action suit was supposed to go to trial, attorneys reached a settlement in the state employees' equal pay case that is expected to give every plaintiff what they asked for.The class - made up of as many as 15,000 former state employees - wanted compensation for hours they worked between 1973 and 1993 and didn't receive equal pay of fellow workers, who had only worked 37 1/2 hours compared to their 40 hours a...
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COA reverses contempt finding

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order finding a father in contempt of court for not complying with orders stemming from post-dissolution proceedings, ruling the father did comply with an order requiring he update his ex-wife with documents regarding a trust for his children's education. In David L. Bartlemay v. Nancy Witt, f/k/a Nancy Bartlemay, No. 89A04-0802-CV-50, David Bartlemay appealed a 2007 trial court order that he was in contempt of court for violating previous orders following the dissolution...
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Indiana General Assembly back in session

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana General Assembly reconvened today with property tax issues consuming much of the focus of the 2008 short session. Also receiving much attention are issues regarding sex offenders, education, and the environment. Another bill of interest to the legal community is House Bill 1045, which introduces a courthouse preservation advisory commission and courthouse preservation fund, and requires the commission to provide assistance for courthouse related projects. Grandparent visitation rights are dealt with in Senate Bill 48, which allows for a...
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High court grants 4 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted four transfers last week, though one was remanded to the state's Court of Appeals while another came with a significant ruling about community rental restrictions.In taking the cases, justices now have a chance to weigh in on the denial of post-conviction relief regarding a habitual offender enhancement and driving an ATV while drunk on private property.On May 13, the high court granted transfer in State of Indiana v. Adam L. Manuwal, No. 50A05-0703-CR-182, which asks whether the...
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President signs new federal IP law: Legislation considers piracy issues, creates 'copyright czar'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The United States is stepping up to better protect intellectual property. If there was any doubt before, it's official now with a new law signed by President George W. Bush Oct. 13. Known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or PRO IP for short, the law is designed to strengthen existing copyright laws, create civil forfeiture clauses so equipment believed to be used in an IP crime can be seized, and establish a cabinet-level position...
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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