Elkhart County

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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COA remands parental rights case

March 8, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Finding that a trial judge and Indiana Department of Child Services didn’t follow the law before involuntarily terminating parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has sent the case back to Elkhart Circuit Court.
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Man gets 326 months imprisonment, lifetime supervision for child pornography

December 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
U.S. Judge Robert Miller Jr. sentenced an Elkhart man to 326 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release after his guilty plea to sexually exploiting children.
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High court questions whether transactions are leases or security interest sales

June 21, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Examining whether a transaction between two businesses is a lease or a sale subject to security interest, the Indiana Supreme Court has adopted an approach used in Colorado. The court held that various factors, such as the economy, must be considered in each situation to decide that question.
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Bicycling barristers

April 27, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Lawyers say fitness and networking are among the perks of traveling to the office on two wheels.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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