Elkhart County

Reporter may need to testify, interview notes remain private

May 6, 2015
 Associated Press
A northern Indiana judge has ruled a newspaper reporter does not have to turn over notes and recordings from an interview she conducted with a man accused of murder and the suspect's mother. But Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker said she does have to be available to testify as a rebuttal witness.
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Elkhart teens, amici seek appeal of murder convictions

October 20, 2014
Dave Stafford
The felony murder convictions of two Elkhart County teens that splintered the Court of Appeals should be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court, the defendants and amicus filers say.
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Felony murder convictions upheld in Elkhart home invasion, but sentences amended

September 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The appeals of three teens involved in a daytime home invasion that turned fatal gave the Court of Appeals a chance to examine the felony murder statute and its application for juveniles.
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Goshen attorney appointed as city court judge

September 11, 2014
IL Staff
Gov. Mike Pence has named Bodie J. Stegelmann as judge in Goshen City Court. Stegelmann currently is a partner at Yoder Ainlay Ulmer & Buckingham LLP, where he practices real estate law.
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Indiana partnership aids domestic violence victims

July 29, 2014
 Associated Press
An Indiana county attorney's office and a community advocacy group have partnered in an effort to help victims of domestic violence.
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Some Indiana clerks refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses

June 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A federal judge’s ruling declaring Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional doesn’t trump a clerk’s religious convictions in one county. Elsewhere, county clerks are being instructed that it’s up to them whether they issue licenses to gay couples.
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Professor shares music's power at detention center

June 13, 2014
 Associated Press
Musician Nayo Ulloa has been teaching kids to play instruments for years, but his newest class at the Elkhart County Juvenile Detention Center is unlike any other he has ever encountered.
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Elkhart attorney suspended for ‘lack of respect’ for clients and courts

February 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended an Elkhart County attorney for at least two years after finding he committed numerous violations of the Indiana Professional Rules of Conduct, including throwing away client files that contained confidential information.
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Amish advocates

October 9, 2013
It is rare that members of northern Indiana’s Amish communities have a need for legal representation. When they do, they turn to a neighbor they know and trust.
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Suspect’s disheveled appearance, not GPS, led to drug discovery

October 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A suspect’s attempt to pull up his unbuckled and falling pants as he stepped from his car negated any taint on the evidence caused by local law enforcement placing a GPS on his vehicle.
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Justices: Meth arrest of man at rental storage unit violated Fourth Amendment

September 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction and 45-year sentence on a meth charge cannot stand because the police search at a rental storage unit that led to his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protections, a majority of the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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COA rules in favor of tax sale bidder in dispute over property

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that tax deeds be reinstated and reversed summary judgment and a decree of foreclosure in favor of a bank in a combined appeal over foreclosed property in Elkhart County.
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Aid rises for those wrongly convicted

April 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Prosecutors and police helped clear more than half of those exonerated in 2012, according to a report by the National Registry of Exonerations.
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Appeals court tackles sex offender use of social media

March 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Two months after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state’s law prohibiting sex offenders from using certain social media sites, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana Code 35-42-4-12 violates an Elkhart County man’s First Amendment rights.
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Judges dismiss state’s appeal regarding juvenile delinquency petition

March 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the state has no statutory right to appeal a juvenile court’s decision to rescind an order approving the filing of a delinquency petition against a teen accused of molesting two children.
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Justices order new trial for man tried in absentia

February 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A North Carolina man who was convicted of two counts of Class C felony neglect of a dependent by an Elkhart Superior Court while the defendant was on a bus on the way to court will get a new trial, the Indiana Supreme Court concluded Tuesday.
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COA orders trial on drug charges

February 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s denial of an Elkhart County man’s motion to suppress evidence police seized from him and his residence while investigating possible drug dealing.
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Bales defense: Elkhart deal was a 'scheme to help'

January 29, 2013
Cory Schouten
Facing a looming deadline to find suitable office space for the state Department of Child Services and the prospect that abused or neglected children in Elkhart County could go without services, real estate broker John M. Bales and partner Bill Spencer in 2008 dipped into their own pockets to help close a difficult lease deal, their defense attorneys contend.
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Judges uphold drug possession conviction, reverse habitual offender enhancement

January 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was arrested and charged with Class B felony possession of cocaine because he was within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex in Elkhart had his conviction upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday. But the judges reversed a habitual offender enhancement because the state didn’t prove that John F. Harris III had more than one dealing offense.
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COA: ‘Appalling character’ of deadbeat dad merits 10-year sentence

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County father whose child support arrearage neared $57,000 lost his second appeal of a case that already has gone to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices order modification of sentence of convicted child caseworker to comply with plea agreement

December 17, 2012
Dave Stafford
A former child protective services caseworker convicted of sex crimes in Hamilton and Elkhart counties should have his sentence modified to comport with his plea agreement, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered.
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Trial court has no authority to alter man’s conviction

August 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
An Elkhart Superior judge was correct in determining that he couldn’t reduce a man’s Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor a year after the original judgment was made, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Appeals court affirms dismissal of suit against Nappanee in near-drowning

June 6, 2012
Dave Stafford
The city of Nappanee was not negligent and didn’t breach its duty of care when a 5-year-old boy required CPR after lifeguards rescued the child as he floated face-down in a city pool, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Appeals court upholds motion to correct error, voiding Elkhart tax deed

June 1, 2012
Dave Stafford
An Alabama company that purchased a property at a tax sale in Elkhart but subsequently failed to pay property taxes did not receive adequate notice that the city was seeking a tax deed on the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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7th Circuit remands Section 1983, wrongful death suits

March 20, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the trial court to take another look at two cases combined on appeal, which stem from the death of an inmate at the Elkhart County jail.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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