Criminal case

Jury not properly instructed at man's trial

April 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's convictions of battery and resisting law enforcement, and disorderly conduct because the jury wasn't properly instructed about the man's defense of the right to reasonably resist unlawful entry into his home.
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High court upholds life sentenceRestricted Content

April 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld a man's sentence of life in prison, noting the defendant's numerous opportunities to reform, but that he continued to commit crimes.
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7th Circuit affirms cross burner's convictionsRestricted Content

April 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found sufficient evidence to uphold a Muncie man's convictions stemming from his burning of a cross in front of the home of a family with biracial children.
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COA lengthens defendant's sentence

March 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals revised a defendant's sentence for rape and other convictions, but it may not have been what the man had in mind when he appealed. In a rare move, the Court of Appeals increased his sentence by 25 years.
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COA: no error in admitting no contest plea

March 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A plea of no contest can be admitted under Indiana Evidence Rule 803(8) as a public record proving the fact of a conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed today. The appellate court found no error in admitting a defendant's nolo contendere plea to a Florida murder as proof he was convicted of an offense qualifying him as a serious violent felon.
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Justices: Search didn't violate 4th Amendment

March 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A warrantless search of a probationer's property that is conducted reasonably and supported by a probation search term and reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, doesn't violate Fourth Amendment rights, the Indiana Supreme Court held today.
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COA: State didn't bring man to trial within 1 year

March 22, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Justices vacate life sentence

March 22, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Appellate court upholds murder conviction

March 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although the trial court erred in finding a police officer was a skilled witness uniquely qualified to assess a murder victim's truthfulness, it was a harmless error because his testimony was an admissible lay observation, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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7th Circuit: counsel assistance wasn't ineffectiveRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant didn't receive ineffective assistance of counsel when his attorneys failed to raise the issue of comments made by his victim's mother during the trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges disagree on chemical possession charge

March 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeal judges disagreed as to whether a defendant who stole anhydrous ammonia with the intent of selling it to a third party in the future to make methamphetamine, but who never actually sold the chemical, could be charged with possession with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
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High court rules on prisoners issues

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court handed down two opinions Wednesday in which the high court expressly adopted the "prison mailbox rule" and determined a majority of the Indiana Parole Board constitutes the full parole board when making final decisions.
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Defendant must prove inability to pay

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The defendant bears the burden of proving that he or she wasn't able to provide support at a probation revocation hearing for failing to support dependants, the Indiana Court of Appeals held today.
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COA split on impact of jury instruction omission

March 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
One Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' decision to grant a new trial based on the lack of a jury instruction on robbery because he didn't think the defendant was prejudiced by the omission.
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Prior misconduct negates self-defense claim

March 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Evidence of a defendant's prior alleged domestic violence incidents against his ex-wife shouldn't have been admitted to explain the ex-wife's animosity toward him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. However, the evidence was admissible because it was relevant to prove the ex-husband's motive to commit the domestic violence he was charged with in the instant case.
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Judges find search of car for gun not justified

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs found in his car during a search, but one judge believed the man's cooperation and respect toward the police officer shouldn't factor into their decision making.
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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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COA: Consent prevented constitutional violations

March 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of two defendants' motion to suppress evidence even though it wasn't reasonable under the Indiana Constitution because one of the men gave his consent to search the bag which held drugs.
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Judges find stop violated Fourth Amendment

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a defendant's stop by police and subsequent search of a wheelbarrow he was pushing - which led to convictions of burglary and theft - violated the man's Fourth Amendment rights. The Circuit Court ordered the defendant's petition for habeas corpus be granted.
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High court defines 'briefly'

February 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In two cases involving a statutory defense to possession or dealing of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, the Indiana Supreme Court defined the term "briefly" and ruled on whether the defendants were briefly near schools when they committed their crimes.
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Judges split on endangerment issueRestricted Content

February 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found the state proved a defendant had driven drunk, but the judges disagreed as to whether the state showed the man had endangered others with his driving.
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Proof of service is state's burden

February 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an invasion of privacy conviction today because the state didn't prove the defendant knew he was the subject of an active protective order. The appellate court also concluded that notice of a protective order should come from the state.
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State didn't prove man was drunk when driving

February 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's conviction of driving while intoxicated because the state failed to prove the man was intoxicated when he drove his moped.
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Majority affirms conviction despite no witnesses

February 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An appellate judge dissented from the majority's decision to uphold a woman's conviction of operating a car after her driving privileges had been forfeited for life, finding that confirming her conviction would break from precedent.
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Judges reverse theft conviction

February 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's conviction of theft because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on conversion as a lesser-included offense of theft.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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