Government

7th Circuit rejects denial of disabled woman’s benefits

September 5, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding repeated fault with the administrative law judge who denied a Chandler woman Social Security disability payments, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the Social Security Administration.
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Feds reach settlement for East Chicago cleanup

September 4, 2014
 Associated Press
The federal government has reached a proposed settlement under which two companies will pay for an estimated $26 million cleanup of lead and arsenic contamination in an East Chicago neighborhood.
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State can exclude fuel ethanol plants from ‘chemical process plant’ classification

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the decision by state environmental agencies to no longer consider fuel ethanol plants to be a “chemical process plant” under the Clean Air Act. By removing fuel ethanol plants from this classification, those plants may not be subject to stricter regulations.
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Divided 7th Circuit affirms dismissal of RTW challenge

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision by a federal judge in northern Indiana to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a union challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law. The majority concluded the law does not violate the union members’ rights under the U.S. Constitution nor is it preempted by federal labor legislation.
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Tax Court reverses reduction in school corp.'s exempt debt service fund levy

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court on Friday overturned the decision by the Department of Local Government Finance to reduce the Gary Community School Corp.’s exempt debt service fund levy for the 2011 budget year. Judge Martha Wentworth found the state agency had no authority to reduce the levy.
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Supreme Court recommends abolishing Marion County township courts

September 2, 2014
Dave Stafford
A report from the National Center for State Courts recommends the nine township small claims venues in Indianapolis transition into a unified section of Marion Superior Courts. The Indiana Supreme Court is asking lawmakers to abolish the current system and unify them with the Superior Courts’ Civil Division effective Jan. 1, 2016.
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Ex-Indiana elections chief starts politics website

August 27, 2014
 Associated Press
Former Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White's voter fraud conviction has taken him out of politics but hasn't stopped him from writing about it.
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Settlement reached in Nashville shocking case

August 27, 2014
 Associated Press
The southern Indiana tourist town of Nashville has reached a settlement with a Michigan man who accused a deputy marshal of shocking him with a Taser gun while he was having a seizure.
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Judge threatens to find Indiana mayor in contempt

August 27, 2014
 Associated Press
A judge threatened to find a central Indiana mayor in contempt of court over a dispute about pipes blocking a courthouse entrance.
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Hemp's growing pains in Indiana

August 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Industrial hemp was legalized in Indiana when Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill into law this year, but you still can’t grow the crop in the Hoosier State.
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Indiana joins other states challenging EPA regulatory authority

August 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana has joined 11 other states in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, taking the unusual tactic of challenging the federal government’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases rather than challenging the rule itself.
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Judges blast Indiana, Wisconsin gay marriage bans

August 26, 2014
 Associated Press
Federal appeals judges bristled Tuesday at arguments defending gay marriage bans in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to now-defunct laws that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.
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Duke can charge ratepayers for time construction delayed on Edwardsport plant

August 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed grant of Duke Energy Indiana’s request to include the amount spent during an 80-day delay in construction of the coal gasification plant in Edwardsport in a rate adjustment rider. Several parties intervened, claiming construction delays attributable to Duke should not be chargeable to ratepayers.
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Ong to head Southern District's criminal section

August 19, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal prosecutor with 25 years of experience has been appointed the interim head of the criminal division for the Southern District of Indiana.
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COA: Auditor complied with notice statutes in tax sale

August 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a 2013 order by a trial court that tax sale deeds be issued, agreeing that the Marion County auditor complied with the statutes dealing with notices surrounding tax sales.
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Sentencing panel to weigh economic crime penalties

August 15, 2014
 Associated Press
The federal panel that sets sentencing policy announced Thursday that it plans in the coming year to consider changes to sentencing guidelines for some white-collar crimes.
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DCS to fund state subsidies for adoptions from foster care

August 13, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services will fund state subsidies for children adopted from foster care for the fiscal year that began July 1. The announcement comes after a lawsuit claimed the state reneged on promises to provide the assistance to about 1,400 eligible families since 2009.
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Trial begins in South Bend police wiretapping case

August 13, 2014
 Associated Press
A federal judge will decide whether the South Bend Police Department violated the Federal Wiretap Act by recording the telephone conversations of some police officers.
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Second court knocks out Indiana's labor law on constitutional grounds

August 13, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Two years after Indiana’s right-to-work law fought its way out of the Statehouse, the measure has suffered another knockout blow in a state court. Plaintiffs have successfully convinced two courts that the Indiana Constitution has given the controversial statute a glass jaw.
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Column: ENDA would protect sexual orientation, gender identity

August 13, 2014
With same-sex marriage gaining momentum in Indiana and across the nation, it is no surprise that protection from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity is most likely on the horizon.
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Appellate panel upholds dismissal in bridge case

August 12, 2014
 Associated Press
The dismissal of a lawsuit over the $2.3 billion Ohio River bridges under construction at Louisville has been upheld.
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Indiana asks court to overturn gay marriage ruling

August 12, 2014
 Associated Press
Attorneys who want a federal appeals court to overrule a judge who threw out Indiana's gay marriage ban say there's no constitutional right to marry a person of the same sex.
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Special prosecutor to handle councilman's case

August 12, 2014
 Associated Press
A special prosecutor has been appointed to handle the case of a South Bend Common Council member who allegedly drove the wrong way on a highway while drunk.
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State Supreme Court to decide Indiana-IBM dispute

August 11, 2014
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The state Supreme Court will decide a dispute between the state of Indiana and IBM over the company's failed attempt to privatize public welfare services.
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Firm says DCS misled parents on foster adoption subsidies

August 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Department of Child Services misled parents adopting foster children by falsely claiming the agency lacked resources to provide subsidies while it returned hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, according to the Indianapolis law firm pursuing a class-action suit against DCS.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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