First impression

Judges: DNA admittance was harmless error

December 17, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed for the first time today the admissibility of DNA evidence when a defendant can’t be excluded from a possibly infinite number of people matching the crime-scene DNA.
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Sale to trust creates first impression

December 6, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A sale of a home to a trust that included disputed errors in a sales disclosure form presented an issue of first impression for the Indiana Court of Appeals Monday.
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COA: Summary judgment wrong in foreclosure suit

November 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A mortgagee’s compliance with federal mortgage servicing responsibilities is a condition precedent that can be raised as an affirmative defense to the foreclosure of a Federal Housing Administration insured loan, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today for the first time.
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DOC violated religious rights in denying kosher meals

November 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has found the Indiana Department of Correction was wrong to stop serving kosher meals to those whose religious practices required them to eat the specially prepared meals.
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High court grants 6 transfers

October 25, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court took six cases last week, including two cases of first impression before the Indiana Court of Appeals involving attorney’s fees under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute and the modification of a felony conviction to a misdemeanor.
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Judges define 'courthouse' for first time

October 14, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide if a courthouse means a particular building or may be any place that houses the trial courts. Their decision would impact a woman whose home was sold in a sheriff’s sale.
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COA rules on military benefits to former spouses

October 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a military spouse may not, by a post-decree waiver of retirement pay in favor of disability benefits or combat-related special compensation, unilaterally and voluntarily reduce the benefits awarded to the former spouse in a dissolution decree.
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Pre-trial ID of attacker allowed at trial

September 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court didn’t err in allowing a victim’s pre-trial identification of his attacker, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a matter of first impression.
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First impression case on mouthpieces as 'foreign substance'

September 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, a portable breath test mouthpiece isn’t a foreign substance that will act to invalidate the results of a blood alcohol content Datamaster chemical breath test, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA: Judge could raise affirmative defense on behalf of pro se defendant

September 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A small-claims court may decide a case based upon the statute of limitations even if a defendant didn’t raise or mention it at trial but the issue was discussed during trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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Child must show she is born out of wedlock to inherit

August 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the plain language of Indiana Code Section 29-1-2-7 requires a child to show she is born out of wedlock for inheritance purposes.
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Look-alike offense counts as controlled-substance offense in sentencing

August 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A previous conviction for a “look-alike” offense constitutes a controlled-substance offense for sentencing purposes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the first time Tuesday.
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Court rules on first impression FLSA issue

August 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In denying summary judgment for either party in a dispute involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. District judge noted the issue appears to be one of first impression in the 7th Circuit.
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Federal identity theft statute includes use of deceased's identity

August 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A person can be convicted of aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. Section 1028A for using the identity of a person who is dead or alive, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in an issue of first impression.
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COA addresses equine statute for first time

August 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the state’s Equine Activity Statute for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the statute barred a woman’s claim for injuries during a horse competition.
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Majority overturns enticement of minor conviction based on error

July 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Addressing for the issue for the first time, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the “ostrich instruction” in context of 18 U.S.C. Section 2422(b) was not appropriately given to the jury in an enticement of a minor trial.
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Attorney fees not recoverable under adult wrongful death statute

July 20, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Indiana Court of Appeals today disagreed about an issue of first impression regarding recovery of attorney fees under the adult wrongful death statute.
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Court rules on first impression 'alibi' witness issue

July 13, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred in excluding testimony of a defendant’s witnesses on the ground they were alibi witnesses, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in an issue of first impression.
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7th Circuit rules on attorney withdraw brief practicalities

June 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Ruling on an issue of first impression, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today extended the logic of an eight-year-old case to how criminal defendants challenge their supervised release and revocation penalties and what must be discussed in attorney withdraw briefs on those issues.
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COA upholds eviction action

April 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court properly treated a couple's action against the man who agreed to purchase a house from them as an eviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. The court also analyzed for the first time the nature and effect of a pre-closing possession agreement like the one in the instant case.
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Tax court rules on inheritance issue

April 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In Indiana, a person adopted pre-emancipation can't be considered a Class A transferee beneficiary for inheritance tax purposes, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Thursday afternoon in an issue of first impression.
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COA rules on first impression railroad issue

April 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded a Federal Employer Liability Act claim premised on unsafe ballast isn't precluded by Federal Railroad Safety Act regulations of ballast in a man's suit for injuries he sustained while employed with a transportation company.
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Judges disagree on retroactive support issue

March 31, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, a panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges couldn't agree on whether an initial support order can be retroactive to a date preceding the filing of a petition for resolution. The judges disagreed as to whether a court has the authority to reach into an intact marriage and order a party to pay child support to the other.
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COA: no error in admitting no contest plea

March 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A plea of no contest can be admitted under Indiana Evidence Rule 803(8) as a public record proving the fact of a conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed today. The appellate court found no error in admitting a defendant's nolo contendere plea to a Florida murder as proof he was convicted of an offense qualifying him as a serious violent felon.
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

March 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted three transfers Wednesday, including a case of first impression on sentence enhancements.
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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