Criminal case

Justices accept 4 cases

January 10, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court took four cases for the week ending Jan. 7, including a case in which a convicted child molester asked for his sentence to be reduced but ended up having it ordered to be increased due to a sentencing error.
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Man accused of planning to blow up courthouse sentenced

January 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Pike County man who was arrested by police after they discovered his plan to blow up that county’s courthouse was sentenced today after pleading guilty to a charge stemming from the incident.
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Court rules on farm tractor operation case

December 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Farm tractor drivers can’t be charged with driving with a suspended license, but they can be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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COA: Trial judges can't expand timetable on filing appeal notice

December 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
State trial judges do not have the power to expand the appeal filing timetable outlined by Appellate Rule 9, the Indiana Court of Appeals cautioned today.
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Panel criticizes late discovery introduction

December 28, 2010
Michael Hoskins
While recognizing that the state’s practice of allowing late introduction of evidence basically rewards attorneys who don’t prepare for trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals looked beyond that practice in a recent decison to how the rules still protect a person’s right to a fair trial.
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Justices sharply split on insanity defense case

December 23, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Faults in the state’s mental health system can’t be used to justify an insanity defense being rejected in favor of a different sentence that will keep a person locked up, an Indiana Supreme Court majority ruled.
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Justice's first ruling affirms murder convictions, life sentence

December 21, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David issued his first decision as a member of the state’s highest court, affirming a life without parole sentence in a murder case out of Hamilton County.
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Justices take 3 cases

December 20, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to three cases, including one of first impression involving Indiana’s victim-advocate privilege.
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Former Marion County prosecutor spokesman pleads guilty

December 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A former spokesman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge and been sentenced to jail.
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Judges: DNA admittance was harmless error

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time today the admissibility of DNA evidence when a defendant can’t be excluded from a possibly infinite number of people matching the crime-scene DNA.
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PCR 2 not available for probation revocation orders

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Post-Conviction Rule 2 is not available for belated appeals of probation revocation orders, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.
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Justices divided on firearm 'use' sentencing

December 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A divided Indiana Supreme Court has held that state statute dictates that the use of a firearm can be the grounds for a sentence enhancement that doesn’t constitute a double jeopardy violation.
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Justices: sentence shouldn't have been upped on appeal

December 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered that a man’s sentence be reduced after the lower appellate court increased it on appeal.
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COA divided on dismissal of OWI charges

December 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a defendant’s operating while intoxicated charges should have been dismissed because the charging information didn’t let the man know what vehicle he needed to defend against operating.
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Justices split on imprisonment for violating probation

December 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The state must prove a probationer accused of violating a term involving a payment by not paying did it recklessly, knowingly or intentionally. The burden is on the probationer to show an inability to pay, the Indiana Supreme Court decided in an opinion handed down Wednesday afternoon.
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Appellate court to hear arguments in Fishers

December 9, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals hits the road Friday to visit Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers for oral arguments in an interlocutory appeal involving the denial of a motion to suppress.
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7th Circuit: judge erred when sentencing man

December 2, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered an Indiana District Court to take another look at a man’s sentence because the judge cited incorrect information during sentencing.
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Judges: Officers lacked reasonable suspicion to stop and detain man

December 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man’s detention following a traffic stop wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his drug conviction today.
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Rule inapplicable as witness’s credibility not attacked

December 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial court didn’t err by not letting a defendant introduce evidence of his brother’s prior robbery because the defendant wasn’t attacking the brother’s credibility.
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Mendenhall gets 40 years for attack

November 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Augustus Mendenhall, the attorney who attacked an Indiana state representative last year, received a 40-year sentence today from a Hamilton County judge.
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Judges uphold OWI conviction

November 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today that even though a statute uses the word “and” when saying a driver’s actions, thoughts, and normal control of faculties must be impaired, the state isn’t required to prove all three were impaired in order to get a conviction of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
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7th Circuit: Drug convictions stand

November 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed drug convictions against two defendants, holding the lower court didn’t err in admitting a police officer’s voice identification testimony regarding one of the defendants.
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Judges remand securities fraud case on statute-of-limitation issue

November 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to reconsider whether it should discharge certain charges of securities fraud because the charges fall outside the statute of limitation.
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Dismissal of delinquency petition doesn’t endanger public

November 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A juvenile court didn’t err in dismissing a delinquency petition against a teen who was found to be incompetent to stand trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The judges also found dismissing the petition did not unduly endanger the public.
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No error in refusal to tender 'missing witness' instruction

November 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s drug convictions, finding the District Court didn’t err by refusing to give the jury a requested “missing witness” instruction.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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