First impression

7th Circuit: No plain error in not applying 'safety valve' in sentencing

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Whether firearms belonging to co-conspirators in a drug ring attributed to a defendant for purposes of the firearm sentence enhancement can be considered for a two-level reduction in her offense level under the so-called “safety valve” for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders is a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the judges declined to address the issue because the woman failed to raise it at sentencing.
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Judge urges legislators to clarify Castle Doctrine statute

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a case of first impression reversed a man’s conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer after finding he exercised reasonable force under I.C. 35-41-3-2(i)(2), the statute revised in response to a 2011 Supreme Court holding that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to battery or another violent act on a police officer. But one judge asked the Legislature to take another look at the statute for public policy reasons.
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Lack of post-verdict motion dooms fired employee’s appeal

February 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit court of Appeals quickly affirmed a jury verdict against a former employee in the Lake County Auditor’s Office who claimed she was unlawfully terminated for political reasons. The ex-employee failed to file any post-verdict motions, a necessary first step for the appeals court to review the case.
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COA interprets Uniform Premarital Act for first time

February 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A premarital agreement entered into by a pregnant teenage girl and her future husband who was twice her age was unconscionable when the agreement was executed in 1995, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday in an issue of first impression.
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Defendant must try to prevent crime discovery for statute of limitations to toll

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In dealing with an issue of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court found a robbery charge should be dismissed because it was filed outside of the statute of limitations. The state argued the defendant had concealed evidence of the crime, thus tolling the five-year statute of limitations.
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Trial court lacked authority to order dad to pay for child’s college

October 31, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Tackling an issue of first impression involving a request for payment of post-secondary education expenses, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a child support order under I.C. 31-16-6-6 refers to the parties’ most recent order concerning support.
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Justices rule on ‘exhaustion rule’ issue

October 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court tackled issues of first impression Wednesday involving peremptory challenges and removing jurors for cause. The justices held that parties satisfy the “exhaustion rule” the moment they use their final peremptory challenge – regardless of whom they strike.
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Defendant’s breach of plea agreement allows state to back out

October 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed an issue of first impression Thursday: whether the state can withdraw from a plea agreement after the trial court has accepted it. The state was allowed to withdraw its agreement with a defendant after the man refused to testify at his co-conspirator’s trial, which was part of the deal.
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Justices order in camera review of report to determine if material is privileged

September 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court tackled two issues of first impression Wednesday in a dispute involving a family business and claims the company president caused a significant decrease in shareholder value.
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Mail not hearsay, COA rules in affirming drug, gun convictions

August 26, 2014
Dave Stafford
A Fort Wayne man’s convictions on multiple cocaine-dealing and felony weapons charges were affirmed Tuesday after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on an issue of first impression, indicating that he was not prejudiced by mail. Lamont Carpenter asserted the trial court abused its discretion when it admitted mail containing his name and address because it was hearsay.
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Split court upholds man’s conviction for conspiracy to commit robbery

July 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Citing an issue of first impression, the majority on the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday concluded that a man could be convicted of Class A felony conspiracy to commit robbery even though the targeted victim was not robbed or harmed in any way.
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State can’t prove teen stole television he owned with his mother

July 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression involving the statutes defining Class D felony theft, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a teen’s adjudication of theft for removing a television that he and his mother purchased together from his mother’s home over her objection.
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COA affirms order mother attend psychotherapy

June 12, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s decision to impose psychotherapy in a marital dissolution and custody order.
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COA orders trial over 1 issue in contaminated development land suit

June 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial on the issue of whether the known loss doctrine would bar coverage of an insurance policy held by the owner of land sold for a housing development that later was found to have been contaminated with toxic waste. A builder sued the landowner, claiming he knew of the potential contamination and failed to inform the builder.
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Judges find court should have granted expungement

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the word “shall” in Indiana Code 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s petition to expunge his 2004 misdemeanor sexual misconduct with a minor conviction.
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COA tackles 2 issues of first impression

March 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed two new issues in a child solicitation and prostitution case regarding authenticating emails and text messages and whether the defendant’s actions actually constituted a crime.
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Medmal claim sent via FedEx before deadline was timely filed

March 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A medical malpractice complaint was timely filed when an attorney delivered it to Federal Express a day before the statutory deadline, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled, reversing lower court orders and remanding the complaint to the trial court.
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Admission of return of service did not violate Confrontation Clause

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a return of service on a protective order is not testimonial, so its admission at trial did not violate a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.
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Ex-wife allowed to enter QDRO 20 years after divorce

December 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression regarding when a qualified domestic relations order must be filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a woman who waited 20 years after her divorce to have her ex-husband sign a QDRO for division of his pension may still be able to submit it.
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Justices: Trustee of revocable trust serves self

November 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted a revocable trust case to answer the first impression question: While a trust is revocable, whom does the trustee serve? The justices concluded that an Indiana woman, as trustee, served herself.
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Gun seizure case presents first impression issue

September 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose 51 guns were ordered seized by a judge who determined him dangerous after his behavior alarmed Bloomington police near the site where missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer was last seen is asking the Indiana Supreme Court to return his firearms.
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7th Circuit addresses 'khat' convictions for first time

July 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on many types of drug cases, but was presented with a new drug to consider for the first time: “khat,” a popular drug among the Somali community.
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COA addresses first impression issue regarding education under civil rights law

May 29, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals – with one judge reluctantly doing so – affirmed a decision by an administrative law judge that found a religious organization unlawfully retaliated against a family by expelling them from the homeschooling group. The expulsion occurred after the family sought a dietary accommodation for their teenage daughter at a social event and later filed a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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COA says argument over wording of robbery statute is issue of first impression

April 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
An argument over the wording of the state’s robbery statute gave the Indiana Court of Appeals pause but ultimately did not sway its ruling in affirming a conviction of conspiracy to commit robbery resulting in serious bodily injury.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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