DNA Evidence

Police allowed to test seized shoe without warrant

August 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday that police do not need to have a warrant before testing lawfully seized evidence, even if that evidence is unrelated to the crime for which the defendant is in custody.
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COA: State had no authority to bring paternity action

May 8, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in ordering a southern Indiana teen to undergo genetic testing to establish paternity of a stillborn child, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. It found the state, which filed the petition for paternity on behalf of the mother, had no authority to bring the action because there were no custody or support issues to be determined.
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DNA in glove at scene sufficient to uphold burglary conviction

April 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated a conviction vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court unanimously affirmed a conviction of Class C felony burglary with a habitual offender enhancement, finding a glove at the crime scene with the suspect’s DNA was sufficient for a jury to determine guilt.
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Divided high court affirms DNA unnecessary to establish paternity

April 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana Supreme Court justices split 3-2 in affirming that DNA evidence is not required to establish paternity.
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SCOTUS ruling emboldens lawmakers to expand DNA collection

June 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
This time next year, Indiana may join the majority of states that collect DNA samples from people arrested on suspicion of committing felonies, rather than only from those convicted. Lawmakers who’ve been stymied are encouraged by a Supreme Court of the United States decision upholding the practice.
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SCOTUS: isolated, naturally occurring DNA segment can't be patented

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A naturally occurring DNA segment is not eligible for a patent simply because it has been isolated, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled June 13. DNA that is not a product of nature may be patent eligible, however.
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Man who fled after hearing not entitled to discharge

June 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The motion for discharge under Indiana Criminal Rule 4(C) by a man charged in connection with a gun shop burglary in Morgan County was properly denied by the trial court, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. Much of the delay in bringing him to trial within a year was attributable to the appellant, including his decision to flee after a hearing.
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Trial court should have booted the bloody shoe, but conviction stands

April 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a convicted murderer that his bloody shoe should not have been admitted into evidence, but the judges did not overturn the conviction, ruling other substantial independent evidence supported the guilty verdict.
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Pair convicted in liquor store killing not entitled to DNA evidence

April 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
Two men sentenced more than 20 years ago for murder and Class C felony attempted robbery were not improperly denied post-conviction relief when they couldn’t obtain DNA evidence they said would prove exculpatory, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Senate defeats DNA collection bill

February 27, 2013
IL Staff
Legislation that would require every person arrested after June 30 for certain crimes to submit a DNA sample failed to pass the Senate Tuesday.
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Senate judiciary committee to look at abuse, DNA bills

January 22, 2013
IL Staff
The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday and has five bills on its agenda, including legislation that redefines child fatality committees in each county.
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Statute of limitations did not run out on charging man with attempted bank robbery

November 21, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana man’s conviction for attempted bank robbery stands after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the five-year statute of limitations to bring the charge began tolling under an exception involving DNA testing.
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Appeals court upholds rape conviction

July 13, 2012
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of rape based on DNA evidence and his admission that he had sex with the victim failed to prove to the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was denied a fair trial due to the admission of hearsay testimony and a sustained objection to an attempt to refresh the victim’s memory.
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DNA swab of juvenile is not fundamental error

May 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found police acted improperly in swabbing a teen’s penis to obtain DNA evidence and that the trial court erred in admitting this test into evidence, but that the error was harmless.
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Justices reformulate jury instruction

February 15, 2012
The Indiana Supreme Court upheld the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief claiming ineffective assistance of counsel. In doing so, the justices addressed the use and language of a jury instruction and rewrote it to make it clearer.
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Supreme Court rules on cheek swab case

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a 4-1 decision handed down June 30, the Indiana Supreme Court found a man's consent to the swab of his cheek for DNA was voluntary, so the swab didn't violate the Fourth Amendment.
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What's next for Indiana's death penalty?Restricted Content

May 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Unlike other states, Indiana has not abolished or suspended use of executions.
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Law school briefs - 4/13/11

April 13, 2011
IL Staff
Learn more about a lecture by a freed death row inmate, Valparaiso University School of Law's newly reconstructed Heritage Hall, and more.
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DNA expert to discuss wrongful convictions

April 8, 2011
IL Staff
A forensic geneticist who has worked on the exonerations of seven people will visit Indiana University April 15 to give a public lecture on how DNA is used to free people who have been wrongfully convicted and how informatics is being misused to pervert justice.
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Justices accept post-conviction relief case

March 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether a man convicted of murder and rape was denied effective assistance of appellate counsel.
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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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Wrongfully-convicted man sues for withholding evidence

October 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A man who spent nearly 18 years in prison for crimes from which he was later exonerated is now suing the City of Hammond and various police officers involved in his arrest.
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Court affirms, denies challenge to DNA evidence, new mid-trial witness

October 6, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Court of Appeals today affirmed a man’s convictions and sentence for felony robbery despite his challenge to whether the trial court properly admitted DNA evidence and allowed the testimony of a witness discovered mid-trial.
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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

December 11, 2009
IL Staff
The state's highest court has agreed to hear a case dealing with Indiana's habitual offender statute and another case involving the requirements for a cheek-swab DNA test.
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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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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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