District Courts

Ruling may hint at future of Indiana's marriage law

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Indiana attorney general both emphasize a federal judge’s temporary order that the state recognize the marriage of one same-sex couple is short-term and limited, the ruling has given gay marriage proponents hope that Indiana’s marriage statute will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional.
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Assertion of state’s rights may not support same-sex marriage ban

April 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana is contenting that states have the authority to define marriage, but the federal court and the ACLU of Indiana have given little merit to the state’s arguments for maintaining a ban on same-sex marriage.
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Hogsett: Machine gun case most ‘egregious,’ ‘dangerous’ he’s seen

April 22, 2014
IL Staff
Joe Hogsett on Tuesday announced the maximum penalty was warranted in a felony firearm case he called the most “egregious and dangerous” he’s seen during his time as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Employee defection sparks battle between brokerages

April 17, 2014
Chris O'Malley, IBJ Staff
Hylant Group says a former worker in its Carmel offices broke a non-compete agreement and poached clients for his new insurance-brokerage gig in Indianapolis.

 
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Attorneys now can hyperlink in e-filing in Southern District

April 15, 2014
IL Staff
Reference materials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana are now just a click away. Attorneys may now use active hyperlinks within e-filed documents.
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Senators seek candidate to fill Judge Barker’s vacancy

April 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats have begun the process for selecting a candidate to fill the vacancy coming to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Body shops sue insurers, allege push to drive down prices

April 14, 2014
Chris O'Malley, IBJ Staff
In a federal lawsuit, 14 Indiana shops accuse State Farm Insurance and competitors of extracting “unreasonable and onerous” concessions on vehicle repair costs.
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Northern District seeks magistrate for Fort Wayne division

April 11, 2014
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana is now accepting applications for a full-time magistrate judge in the Fort Wayne division. The Judicial Conference of the United States has authorized the appointment.
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Bankruptcy court addresses e-filing, weather issues

April 11, 2014
IL Staff
The United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Indiana has posted notice on its website as to how it will handle situations when the electronic case filing system is unavailable or weather creates access issues for customers.
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Judge grants temporary restraining order in same-sex marriage suit

April 10, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A same-sex couple’s plea that Indiana recognize their marriage was granted Thursday by a federal judge in Evansville, a significant ruling in one of the five separate lawsuits that are challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
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Indy club must pay BMI for DJ’s tunes

April 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
A downtown Indianapolis nightclub must pay a tab approaching $20,000 because the club and DJs failed to obtain public-performance licenses after repeated warnings.
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Senior status not likely to slow Judge Barker

April 9, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys and judges alike say whenever Judge Sarah Evans Barker is on the bench, there is no question who is in charge in that courtroom. This is a judge they universally describe as well-prepared, well-organized and authoritative, but not averse to occasionally introducing a little humor in the proceedings.
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Hearing on motion for TRO on marriage statute Thursday

April 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The multiple challenges to Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage are picking up steam with the federal court scheduling arguments regarding a temporary restraining order and the state filing a motion to dismiss one of the lawsuits.
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Same-sex couple’s bid for recognition expedited due to grave illness

April 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
The chief federal judge in Indianapolis quickly summoned lawyers to address a same-sex couple’s emergency request that Indiana recognize their Massachusetts marriage because one of the women is gravely ill.
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Court upholds Plymouth pay policy challenged by reservist

April 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
The city of Plymouth’s policy on longevity pay withstood a challenge by a police officer who unsuccessfully claimed he was entitled to the full benefit rather than a prorated share for time he spent deployed as a U.S. Air Force Reservist.
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Judge Sarah Evans Barker to take senior status

March 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
After 30 years on the federal bench, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has announced her intention to take senior status effective June 30, 2014.
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District Court properly handles expert testimony by non-expert witnesses

March 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although neither witness called to testify in a criminal trial was an expert, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the District Court did not err by barring the testimony of the defense witness while allowing the statements of the government witness.
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Rose-Hulman to honor Muncie native serving on federal bench

March 31, 2014
IL Staff

Federal Judge Robert L. Wilkins will receive an honorary doctorate of engineering degree during the 136th commencement ceremonies on May 31 at Rose-Hulman.

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Court won’t seal evidence in Spierer civil suit

March 21, 2014
Dave Stafford
Evidence in the federal civil suit against the last people believed to have seen missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer may not be covered by a broad order shielding exhibits and testimony from public view.
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Challenges to Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban piling up in federal court

March 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Friday filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, becoming the third such complaint lodged against Indiana in a week.
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Federal Bar Update: ND requires e-filing; SD launches hyperlink pilot

March 12, 2014
John Maley
Effective Feb. 24, all new complaints and removals in the Northern District of Indiana must be e-filed.
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Federal suit filed against Indiana marriage statute

March 7, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
While Indiana’s same-sex marriage amendment is on hold in the Legislature, a challenge to the state’s law banning same-sex marriage was filed March 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of motion to suppress search of car

February 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the denial of an automobile passenger’s motion to suppress evidence found in the car during a traffic stop, which led to his eventual pleading guilty to a heroin offense. The judges found no error by the District judge in crediting the testimony of the police officer who pulled the vehicle over because he believed the speed it was traveling and distance to the car in front of it violated Indiana law.
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Mom and pop store can’t proceed pro se in Coach trademark lawsuit

February 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
The owners of a southern Indiana general store accused in a federal lawsuit of selling knockoff high-end Coach-brand products may not represent pro se their incorporated general store named in the suit.
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No relief in sight for busy Southern District judges

February 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
Judges of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana are among the nation’s busiest. They have been for years, and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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