Criminal case

Court divided over consent to 5-person jury

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges split on the issue of whether a defendant agreed to allow a five-member jury to decide her case after one juror fell ill, with the dissenting judge believing the defendant – not her counsel – must consent to the five-person jury.
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Victim's statements to nurse allowed, but judges reverse convictions

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a victim’s statements detailing her physical attack and identifying her attacker were admissible in court and were nontestimonial, so the defendant’s confrontation rights weren’t violated. However, the judges reversed the man’s convictions because the trial court shouldn’t have admitted prior misconduct evidence involving the defendant and the victim.
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Judges uphold theft charge against man

August 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to dismiss his theft charge in Jay County because he caused the delay in the case by absconding. The case brought up the issue of whether knowledge by jail officials on the whereabouts of the defendant can mean that the judge and prosecutor were sufficiently notified.
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Court could find juvenile must register as sex offender

August 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Montgomery Circuit Court had subject matter jurisdiction to order a juvenile to register as a sex offender for 10 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Judge reduces death sentences to life without parole

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
If he’d had the ability more than three years ago to factor in a jury’s deadlocked view on the death penalty, a southern Indiana judge says he would have imposed life without parole rather than the death penalty for a man convicted of triple murder.
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Man's convictions upheld despite court's use of inadmissible evidence

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial judge abused his discretion in admitting portions of a defendant’s out-of-court taped police statements, but the appellate panel determined that error was harmless and not reason to reverse the man’s multiple rape and sexual conduct convictions.
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COA divided on whether 'bully' comments require new trial

August 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split in affirming a man’s drunk-driving conviction, with the dissenting judge finding the prosecutor’s questions to the jury and repeated reference to the defendant as a bully at trial made a fair trial impossible.
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Lawmakers may consider sentencing options for children waived to adult courtRestricted Content

August 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Within a six-month period, one Indiana county prosecutor faced two situations where he had to make one of the toughest types of decisions – whether a child should be tried in juvenile or adult court based on the brutality of a crime and age of the offender.
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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
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'Notario' pleads guilty to tax evasion, illegal law practice

July 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has sentenced an Indianapolis woman who offered illegal immigration services without a law license and evaded paying her income taxes through that business.
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Circuit Court affirms admission of drugs, sentence

July 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his past conviction of vehicular flight isn’t a crime of violence, citing a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court on that matter.
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Justices reduce sentence of man found asleep in office

July 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Four of the five Indiana Supreme Court justices decided that the man found asleep in the waiting room of a dental office – who had an empty handgun on him – should only be sentenced to 20 years for the crime instead of 40 years.
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COA rules man is not guilty by reason of insanity

July 20, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Examining the issue of whether a defendant’s mental disease brought on by years of drinking could support an insanity defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the man’s psychosis was a mental defect under Indiana Code and he should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
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Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.
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Judge: Man did not commit attempted child exploitation

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a man committed attempted child exploitation when he tried to take pictures up teenagers’ skirts at a mall using a camera attached to his shoe.
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Attorneys to get big cut of $300K OmniSource settlement

July 15, 2011
Cory Schouten
An OmniSource executive says the company wouldn't have made the settlement with the Marion County prosecutor if it knew more than a third of the cash wouldn't be going to Indianapolis police for training programs.
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Court decides 2nd marijuana-odor case in 2 days

July 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Continuing a line of holdings during the past decade, the Indiana Court of Appeals has clearly stated that the odor of raw marijuana can be enough for police to search someone during a valid traffic stop.
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Search didn't violate driver's rights

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The smell of burnt marijuana on a person alone may constitute probable cause to support an arrest and search incident to arrest, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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Circuit Court upholds $500,000 restitution order

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A man who waived his right in plea negotiations to challenge his sentence or an order of restitution may not appeal the imposition of $533,000 in restitution to a victim depicted in child pornography, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held July 14.
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COA: Evidence supports dealing conviction

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s conviction of dealing in methamphetamine, finding that pill dough created while making the drug could be used to count toward the three grams needed to charge someone with Class A felony dealing.
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COA sides with pro se defendant in murder case

July 8, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a trial court erred when it accepted a man’s guilty plea to murder, because the defendant had at the same time claimed his innocence.
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$405,450 award aimed at improving state-funded criminal justice

July 7, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis research center is receiving a $405,450 award from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to study and help improve the effectiveness of state-funded criminal justice initiatives.
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Court examines 'entry' of guilty plea withdrawal motions

July 7, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Court of Appeals has ruled that a man convicted of not paying more than $22,000 in child support wrongly interpreted state law about withdrawing his guilty plea, and that the trial judge correctly prevented the man from doing so because he didn’t file a request in writing or justify the withdrawal.
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Court orders new arson trial

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted of arson because the trial court erred in letting the state amend the charging information after it had read the original charges to the jury.
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High court divided on revising molester's sentence

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two justices dissented from their colleague’s decision to reduce a child molester’s sentence more than 50 years, believing the opinion “blurs the guidance” given in a 2008 opinion regarding sentence reviews.
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