Criminal Case

Improper venue doesn't require acquittal

November 3, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the Hamilton Superior Court erred in concluding it was the proper venue for a felony child solicitation charge, the error doesn't warrant an acquittal of the conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. The case was remanded for retrial in the proper venue of Madison County.
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YouTube video prejudiced jury

October 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The use of a YouTube video during closing arguments as a demonstrative aid by the state warrants a reversal of a robbery conviction because it may have prejudiced the jury, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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No error in sanctions against state

October 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't clearly err when it dismissed drunk driving charges against a defendant as sanctions for the state's discovery violations, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA reverses dismissal of drug charges

October 21, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it sua sponte decided to exclude evidence from a warrantless search of a defendant's car and dismiss the drug charges against him as a result of that search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA: Destroyed tape doesn't make record silent

October 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The premature destruction of a tape of a guilty plea hearing by court staff doesn't render the record silent for purposes of Boykin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Supreme Court considers MySpace statement

October 15, 2009
Rebecca Berfanger
he Indiana Supreme Court today issued an opinion that affirmed a Kosciusko Circuit jury's conviction of a man who murdered his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter and the resulting sentence of life in prison without parole. The opinion also considered the defendant's novel question: whether statements from his social networking Web site, which were presented to the jury as evidence of his character, were admissible in court.
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Judges disagree on when escape occurs

October 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether inmates in a jail could be charged with escape if they never left the outer walls of the facility. The majority affirmed the dismissal of the escape charges against the six inmates, ruling the act was just a violation of prison rules.
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Testimony showed intent in identity deception

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
During a trial for identity deception, a court correctly admitted evidence under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) of the defendant's prior interaction with the victim of his identity theft and previous instances of using the victim's information, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA splits on cheek-swab requirements

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires reasonable suspicion only, not probable cause, under federal and state constitutions.
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Judges dissent on search after 'knock and talk'

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' view that a police "knock and talk" investigation didn't violate a man's rights under the Indiana Constitution, fearing the circumstances of the case could lead to a general distrust of law enforcement.
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Court split on if lab tech must testify

September 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The state's highest court was split in its ruling on whether the failure of a lab technician who processed DNA evidence to testify at a man's trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights.
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Circuit Court vacates drug sentence

September 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man's drug conviction, but vacated his sentence because it wasn't confident the District Court judge properly sentenced him.
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Supreme Court grants 6 transfers

September 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted six transfers Sept. 11, including a case of first impression involving a suit filed by a pathological gambler against a riverboat casino.
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Consent not defense in battery case

September 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because consent is not a defense to battery when a deadly weapon is used, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of felony and misdemeanor battery on his girlfriend after branding her with a hot knife and hitting her with a cord.
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Court erred in denying court-appointed counsel

September 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man's convictions because the trial court failed to adequately ascertain whether he was indigent for purposes of court-appointed counsel.
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Judges disagree on search validity

August 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
On remand from the Supreme Court of the United States to reconsider under a recent ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed the forfeiture of a woman's car following the arrest of her son for driving while suspended. One judge dissented because she believes the search of the vehicle was unreasonable in light of the recent ruling.
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Instant offense considered 'unrelated' per statute

August 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct in interpreting the state's habitual offender statute to include an instant conviction as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in the statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Justices: Appeal not available after guilty plea

August 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices agreed a man who pleaded guilty couldn't appeal the denial of his pre-trial motion to suppress. Yet one justice believed the plea agreement should have been honored according to its terms, which included reserving the right to object to the denial of the motion to suppress.
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7th Circuit affirms possible erroneous sentence

August 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because a defendant's attorney affirmatively waived any challenge to an Armed Career Criminal Act enhancement - despite the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals advisement that the enhancement may have been an error due to a recent Circuit ruling - the federal Circuit Court had no choice but to affirm the District Court.
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Trial court erred in denying motion to continue

August 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior trial court should have granted a woman's motion to continue the day of her bench trial because she had a constitutional right to present a defense to support her involuntary intoxication argument, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.
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No Brady violation in sex-sting case

August 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant failed to show there was a Brady violation in his trial for enticing who he thought was an underage girl he met on the internet, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.
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State's policy in court doesn't violate constitution

August 12, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The state's refusal to waive jury trials in one Marion Superior Court doesn't violate the constitutional rights of the mentally ill defendants who appear in that court, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA: Trial delays not defendant's fault

August 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a motion for discharge pursuant to Criminal Rule 4(C) because the court incorrectly attributed delays to the defendant.
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Court: Murderer not eligible for parole

July 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a man serving two life sentences for his 1975 murder convictions isn't eligible to seek parole under the laws in effect at the time the murders took place, but could seek clemency though the Indiana Parole Board.
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District Court erred in drug sentence

July 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a man's sentence for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine because the District Court failed to figure out the quantity of the drug reasonably attributable to the defendant.
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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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