District Courts

Protective order issued in National Guard suit

March 26, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A magistrate judge has issued a protective order to preserve and maintain the confidentiality of certain documents in a lawsuit filed by members of the Indiana National Guard against a contractor working in Iraq.
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Finalists chosen in court mural competition

March 26, 2009
IL Staff
Four finalists have been named in a competition to design and execute new murals at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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SCOTUS denies cert in Indiana case

March 23, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court has declined to take an Indiana case asking whether a prisoner suing under the Prison Litigation Reform Act has the right to a jury trial on any debatable factual issue relating to a failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
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Federal judiciary: 1 new Southern District judge

March 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Judicial Conference of the United States Tuesday adopted a revised Code of Conduct for judges and released its recommendations for new federal judgeships.
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Judge Hamilton nominated for 7th Circuit

March 17, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis federal judge could be the next to take a spot on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Military-leave suit targets law firm

March 17, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Department of Justice says an Indianapolis law firm wrongfully refused to re-employ a staff attorney who'd returned from serving in Iraq as a member of the Indiana Army National Guard.
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Magistrate: Uniroyal not liable for cleanup costs

February 27, 2009
Michael Hoskins
As a federal magistrate judge puts it, "All good things must come to an end."
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High-profile federal trials slated for early 2009

February 16, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The first half of the year is shaping up to be a time of high-profile trials for Indiana's federal courts.
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Judge allows class action in hail damage suit

February 9, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
A U.S. District judge is allowing certain State Farm insurance policy holders to proceed in a class action suit against the company as a result of how the insurer handled roof claims following a 2006 hail storm in central Indiana.
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Courts celebrate Black History Month

February 9, 2009
Rebecca Berfanger
The chair of the Department of Africana Studies and associate professor of history at Notre Dame University will speak to children and the general public in a lecture titled "Forging the Children of the Sun: The Human Spirit and Jim Crow," a Black History Month program Feb. 20 at the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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Court: Church program at school should end

February 4, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A church-owned religious education program held on school grounds in Huntington County should be terminated because it violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, a federal magistrate has ruled.
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Letter not covered by attorney-client privilege

February 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A Southern District magistrate judge has decided a letter between the city of Madison's mayor and city attorney isn't protected by attorney-client privilege in a civil action seeking damages over strip searches of three women.
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Snow closes some federal, county courts

January 28, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The foot or more of snow dumped on the southern two-thirds of Indiana hasn't stopped some attorneys from making it to their offices today, but it has closed some courts around the state.
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Court sanctions school corporation a third time

January 26, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A Northern District magistrate judge has issued sanctions for the third time against Gary Community School Corp. for its lack of cooperation in a suit involving a transgender student.
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Lilly must produce files from noose incident

January 21, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Eli Lilly & Co. must produce documents related to the handling of a noose being found in an area its employees frequent for discovery in a separate suit alleging discrimination in the company.
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Court dismisses photograph suit

January 21, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A man's pro se prisoner suit against the public information officer of a correctional facility and a reporter that he claimed are responsible for his shooting injury was dismissed Tuesday by a U.S. District Court judge.
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Judge: No attorney discipline needed

January 13, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has decided disciplinary actions aren't needed against a handful of attorneys relating to their conduct in a clean air trial last year, though he hasn't changed his mind about setting aside the jury verdict and holding a new trial as a result of the behavior of in-house counsel.
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Comment sought on magistrate reappointment

January 13, 2009
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is seeking comments from bar members and the public as to whether Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker should be reappointed to a new eight-year term.
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Magistrate denies any pre-bench wrongdoing

January 9, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A newly appointed federal magistrate in Indianapolis denies any misconduct or knowledge of wrongdoing that a judge says happened during a clean air trial last spring prior to her taking the bench.
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Court certifies exotic dancer suit as class action

January 8, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Anyone who danced in the past three years at one Indianapolis strip club embroiled in a lawsuit over minimum wage may be able to collect on unpaid wages, ruled a District Court judge Wednesday.
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Court rules in transgender discrimination case

January 6, 2009
Jennifer Mehalik
A District Court judge today granted summary judgment in favor of a convenience store company that was being sued by a transgender employee for sex discrimination after she was fired.
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Judge: Attorney can't sue using pseudonym

December 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Northern District magistrate judge has again denied an attorney's motion to proceed with a lawsuit under a pseudonym, finding the type of injury the attorney may suffer as a result of suit doesn't rise to the level to justify anonymity.
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Federal court dismisses suit against judge

October 30, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit against an Allen Circuit judge because the judge was entitled to judicial immunity in a suit filed by a pro se plaintiff disgruntled about a small claims ruling.
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Court offers free CLE on judicial restraint

October 30, 2008
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will conduct a free CLE event next week in New Albany regarding judicial restraint.
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Event to discuss court history

October 24, 2008
IL Staff
A new annual event has been created by the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to focus on past and present legal issues, part of the group's shift from project-focused events to membership focused efforts.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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