Courts

Judge sees shift in 'constitutional jurisprudence' in protected speech cases

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A separate concurring opinion by a Court of Appeals judge describes what he calls "a fundamental shift in Indiana's constitutional jurisprudence."Judge James S. Kirsch made his statements in the unanimous, 3-0 opinion today in Latoya A. Blackman v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0610-CR-893, which involves a woman convicted of disorderly conduct in 2005 for yelling, swearing, and non-compliant behavior toward police officers during a vehicle narcotics search of the car in which she was riding.The court ruled that Blackman's arrest for...
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Supreme Court rules on emotional distress case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Spouses can recover damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress claims even when there is no physical injury or direct impact, but unmarried or engaged couples cannot, the Indiana Supreme Court said today.The state ;s high court also held in its opinion that such a claim requires the plaintiff to have learned of the incident by having either witnessed the injury or the immediate gruesome aftermath.Its unanimous opinion with a separate concurring opinion from two justices is the answer to a...
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Bad breakup leads to lawsuit between former associate, firm

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today on a case where a law firm sued its former associate who left, along with several other employees, to join a new firm. In Kopka, Landau & Pinkus v. Larry Hansen, et al., No49A02-0611-CV-987, Hansen's previous employer, law firm Kopka Landau & Pinkus, appealed two trial court orders -summary judgment in favor of Hansen and judgment in favor of Hansen on the counterclaims against KLP. Hansen worked as an associate attorney for KLP and...
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Supreme Court grants emergency writ for dairy farm case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted an emergency writ filed by a rural Huntington County dairy farm accused of contaminating local waterways with manure from 1,400 cows. An order issued Wednesday afternoon bars Huntington Circuit Judge Thomas Hakes from deciding on a preliminary injunction stopping the dairy owner, Johannes DeGroot, from spreading cow manure on nearby fields, until the state's high court can rule on a request for permanent writ of mandamus and prohibition. However, any previous orders issued by...
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COA rules on habitual-offender enhancement

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded a case involving the denial of a defendant's motion to correct an erroneous sentence. The court also considered whether the trial court dealt correctly with the defendant's habitual substance offender enhancement by treating it as a separate conviction and whether the trial court may properly suspend any portion of the sentence enhanced by the habitual substance offender finding. In Joseph Bauer v. State of Indiana, 92A05-0704-PC-229, Bauer filed a...
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Court rules on gun manufacturer suit

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals upheld a trial court's decision to deny handgun manufacturers' motion to dismiss a public nuisance suit brought by the city of Gary. The court determined Indiana's public nuisance statute is applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms for purposes of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. At issue in Smith & Wesson Corp. et al. & United States of America v. City of Gary, Indiana by its mayor, Rudy Clay, 45A05-0612-CV-754, was whether the...
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Court rules on self-defense statute

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's highest court says the phrase "reasonably believes" in the state's self-defense statute requires a person to have subjective belief that force was necessary to prevent serious bodily injury and that actual belief was one any reasonable person would have had under the circumstances.The Indiana Supreme Court issued its unanimous decision Wednesday afternoon in Philip Littler v. State of Indiana, No. 71S03-0704-CR-151, reversing a ruling by St. Joseph Superior Judge Roland Chamblee Jr.The case involves a gun and knife fight between...
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Justices grant 3 transfers, including dram shop case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted three transfers in three civil cases this week.Transfers come in Michael M. Cubel v. Debra A. Cubel, No. 32A04-0605-CV-268, American Fire & Casualty Co. v. Direction in Design Inc., et al., No. 29A05-0511-CV-681, and Rebecca Shaw v. LDC Enterprises, et al., No. 29A05-0511-CV-681.The Cubel appeal stems from a Hendricks County marriage dissolution case involving spousal maintenance and child support for college. In a memorandum opinion issued April 30, the Court of Appeals didn't find the...
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Senate sets Judge Tinder's confirmation hearing

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder in Indianapolis will face the Senate Judiciary Committee Sept. 25 for his confirmation hearing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.The 2:30 p.m. hearing in Washington, D.C., will be webcast at the Senate committee's Web site. The federal judge from the Southern District of Indiana received word from the White House in July that President George W. Bush nominated him for the job. If confirmed, Judge Tinder would be the first Hoosier jurist appointed to...
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Supreme Court will hear candidate certification dispute

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The candidacy of a Cass Circuit judge is now going before the Indiana Supreme Court - even though the candidate in question has been a sitting judge for this entire year.Justices have granted transfer in J. Bradley King, et al. v. Leo T. Burns, et al., 09A02-0610-CV-847, which questioned the candidacy of judicial office-seeker Leo Burns in last year's primary and general election.Burns, who was selected to fill the vacancy in the November 2006 ballot after the May primary, was not certified...
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E-ticket system to be unveiled

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is playing a key part in doing away with delays between police-issued tickets and that information arriving in the hands of courts and prosecutors.Indiana is receiving more than $2.4 million in federal grants to launch the system known as eCWS or the electronic Citation and Warning System. The system will give officers the ability to produce e-tickets in the field and relay that information to a central location for law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts to access -...
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Counties receive Family Court grants

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Eight counties are receiving grants from the Indiana Supreme Court to address the needs of families with multiple court cases.The high court announced Friday that the eight counties will receive a total $74,000 in grants, with amounts ranging from $2,000 to $19,000. Money can be used for numerous programs such as information sharing, facilitation and pre-trial conferencing, or affordable alternative dispute resolution. The funding is considered "seed money" and courts are expected to eventually become self-funding.Grant recipients are: Allen County $14,000,...
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Marion judges choose court administrator

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
    An Indianapolis law firm partner who has led three state agencies is the new administrator for Marion County courts. On Monday, the four-judge executive committee chose Glenn R. Lawrence to fill the spot, which has been vacant since the former administrator Ron Miller resigned in late March. Since then, Senior Judge Richard Good has been filling in as interim administrator. The county's four leading judges offered Lawrence the $93,500-salary job Monday afternoon, according to presiding Superior Judge Gerald Zore. Judges had...
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St. Joseph County approves adding public defenders

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Ten more public defenders are coming soon to St. Joseph County.The county council on Tuesday approved hiring the additional defenders for the second half of the year. Circuit Judge Michael Gotsch had asked council members for the changes described as a "revolutionary change" to the county system late last month.Judge Gotsch says the 10 public defenders are needed to keep up with increasing caseloads that are at higher levels than the state standard allows. The measures also establish a chief deputy...
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Court: child support can include medical costs

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Parents can be ordered to pay medical expenses for college students as part of child support obligations, even past age 21, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.All five justices agreed in Michael Cubel v. Debra Cubel, 32S04-0707-CV-283, which is authored by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and involves two conflicting rulings from the state's appellate court on this issue.The Hendricks County case involves the two parents who divorced in 2005, but have a daughter attending college in the state. She is currently...
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Court: federal suit should have been dismissed

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The federal District Court in Indianapolis should have dismissed a suit challenging Indiana's prerecorded telephone messages statute because a state court was already considering the issue and could have provided an adequate legal remedy, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.The three-judge appellate panel also chastised U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney for concluding last October that the then-approaching 2006 congressional election was a reason for urgent attention on this issue.The 7th Circuit decision came in FreeEats.com, Inc. v. State of...
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Blanket recusal comes in Vanderburgh child-support case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Every so often, judges find they must recuse themselves in certain cases. That's happening in Vanderburgh County, where all the superior judges have been recused from a case involving the child support matters of a magistrate's son.Suzanne Hebert Hamilton is waging the child support legal battle against her ex-husband, Richard Hamilton, who is son of Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Allen Hamilton. The couple separated in 2005 and finalized a divorce early last year. She lives in Florida with the couple's two children...
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SCOTUS deciding whether to hear teacher firing case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has asked for more information before deciding whether to accept a case involving a former Bloomington elementary school teacher fired over comments she made about the Iraq war during class.Deborah A. Mayer, who now teaches at an elementary school in Florida, lost her job after making comments to elementary students in early 2003 - just prior to the war's beginning - that she would "honk for peace" when passing war protests. Some parents later...
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Court: Collateral source rule applies in railroad award

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Contributions from a railroad company to a federal disability fund cannot be used to reduce the amount of a plaintiff's recovery, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed today.In a 30-page decision in CSX Transportation Inc. v. Robert D. Gardner, No. 49A02-0610-CV-917, the court affirmed a trial judge's decision to not allow the railroad company to use its $35,000 annual contributions to a disability and retirement fund to lower the jury-imposed amount of $605,500 in damages for Gardner's injuries.He was working as...
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Supreme Court suspends attorneys for unmet CLE

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court suspended 111 attorneys this week for failing to meet their continuing legal education requirements last year.Justices issued an order In the Matter of Failure to Comply with Continuing Legal Education Requirements on Tuesday. Though effective immediately, it stipulates that attorneys' proscription against practicing law begins at 11:59 p.m. June 11.A total 41 attorneys based out of state are suspended, followed by 26 in Marion County, eight in Hamilton County, five in Monroe County, four in Allen County, three...
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Suit: School district violating teachers' rights

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A federal suit filed this week in Indianapolis accuses a school district of violating teachers' constitutional rights by blocking access to two political Web sites relating to the board's actions and removal of the superintendent.This is the third suit lodged against the Perry Township School Board since November, when the board voted to place Superintendent H. Douglas Williams on paid administrative leave pending a review of his performance.Filed by Perry Education Association President Terry Rice and Southport Elementary School teacher Sherrie Williamson,...
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Commission interviews COA applicants

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Judicial Nominating Commission conducted its first round of interviews today for the Indiana Court of Appeals vacancy that will be created by Judge John T. Sharpnack's retirement in May 2008.Fifteen people from Indiana's legal community applied for the appellate court seat.Nine applicants sat before the commission this morning, including three trial judges, a senator, and the heads of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and Indiana Gaming Commission. Interviews started at 9 a.m. and ran until mid-afternoon, all conducted in a...
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Judges rule on New Albany land case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Debate over land once earmarked for the 1960s expansion of Interstate 64 through New Albany has gone to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled today in that case.The three-judge panel ruled in Donald Jensen, et al. v. The City of New Albany, et al., holding that a reversionary clause in a 1960 deed was unenforceable after land was transferred to the state more than four decades ago.Land in question was 5.82 acres known as the Fawcett property, which the original...
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Committee questions Van Bokkelen at confirmation hearing

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Northern Indiana ;s U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen faced the U.S. Senate ;s Judiciary Committee this morning in his confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship opening in Hammond this summer.President George W. Bush nominated Von Bokkelen to replace retiring Judge Rudy Lozano, who plans to take senior status in July.During the hearing, Von Bokkelen and three other nominees for judgeships: Debra Ann Livingston for 2nd Circuit judge, Roslynn Renee Mauskopf for district judgeship in the Eastern District of New York, and...
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Court affirms murder sentence

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court today affirmed the life sentence of a man convicted of killing a 10-year-old girl in Jackson County.A unanimous opinion in Anthony Stockelman v. State of Indiana, 36S00-0608-CR-285, affirmed the trial court was correct in weighing aggravators more heavily than proffered mitigators and that the sentence of life without parole was appropriate.Stockelman pleaded guilty to charges of murder and child molesting arising out of Katlyn Maria Collman's murder in Crothersville in January 2005. Following her disappearance, state police...
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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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