Government

Indiana's e-ticket system nationally recognized

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court's e-ticket system has won an honorable mention in the 2008 Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards given by the Center for Digital Government. The court's electronic Citation and Warning System (eCWS) was honored in the Government-to-Government category. Winners were recognized for the strides they have made to implement better access and more efficient Web delivery of public services.The e-ticketing program allows law enforcement to use hand-held devices to scan a bar code on driver's...
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New family law conference seeks papers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A new Midwest family law conference is looking for a few good papers to kick off its inaugural meeting in Indianapolis. The conference, "Jazzing up Family Law," will be June 13 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. The Midwest Family Law Consortium founding members - Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, University of Missouri - Kansas City, and William Mitchell College of Law - are seeking papers and presenters for its family law conference. Papers can be submitted...
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High court to hear 3 arguments Thursday

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday in three cases involving different issues - the cleanup of hazardous material, a defendant sentenced to death, and a child-custody dispute. In the arguments scheduled at 9 a.m., the justices will hear The Indiana Department of Environmental Management v. Raybestos Products Co., No. 49A02-0609-CV-782, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Marion Superior Court decision granting summary judgment for Raybestos on the issue of breach of contract against IDEM. Raybestos filed a...
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Indiana lawyer helped reporter win in Africa

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
A case where an African country's government was accused of kidnapping and torturing a journalist was decided on June 5 in favor of the reporter and his family.Indianapolis attorney Dan Byron assisted the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa, which filed the suit on behalf of Chief Ebrima Manneh.Byron spent October and November in Africa and has remained in touch with the foundation's attorneys since then.In what Byron called a "good day for human rights and press rights in West Africa"...
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SCOTUS hears voter ID case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Arguments played out in the Supreme Court of the United States this morning on the legality of Indiana's voter identification law.The nine justices heard an hour of arguments at 10 a.m. in the combined Hoosier cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita, No. 07-25. Both challenge the state's three-year-old voter photo ID law that's been upheld by both U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Stakes are...
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Nominees sought for Indianapolis civic award

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indianapolis Mayor's Office is currently accepting nominations for the Charles L. Whistler Award.The award is named after a Baker & Daniels senior partner, Whistler, who gave his time and abilities to the Indianapolis community. At the time of his death in 1981, he was chairman of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee's Urban Growth and Revitalization Task Force, and the White River State Park Citizen's Advisory Committee. Nominations are open to anyone in Indianapolis except currently appointed government employees and public...
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Law student runs for human rights: IU Law - Indianapolis organization recipient of 3L's fundraising efforts

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The International Human Rights Law Society at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis will have more money to work with now than its $375 budget from the beginning of the school year, thanks to the organization's vice president. The IHRLS is the student group that has researched, written, and presented shadow reports to experts for the United Nations Human Rights Council. Funds for the organization bring international human rights experts to speak at the school, present movie nights that are...
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State trumps local red-light camera ordinances

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Cities and towns that want to use red-light cameras to catch traffic violators can't adopt an ordinance to implement the cameras because current laws allow only the state to regulate moving traffic violations, Attorney General Steve Carter said.Carter issued an official opinion Friday regarding whether a municipality can adopt an ordinance to use red-light cameras to determine whether a driver has violated traffic laws. Carter issued the opinion in response to an inquiry from Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary. The city of...
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Indiana has voice in Second Amendment case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. Supreme Court is testing the scope of the Second Amendment and could decide what "the right to keep and bear arms" means for the 21st century.Justices will consider the question Tuesday morning in District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290, which involves a citizen's challenge to a Washington, D.C., law banning him from keeping a handgun in his home.At issue is to what extent the gun rights amendment to the Constitution applies to...
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Circuit examines ministerial exception

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two former administrators of Salvation Army thrift stores in Indianapolis are appealing their lawsuit against the non-profit organization on grounds that they were wrongly denied overtime pay in violation of a federal labor law.But at issue in their federal case is whether they're classified as "employees" and whether a religious freedom exception barring courts from getting involved in church management can be applied to their employment law claims.The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in Steve and Lorrie Schleicher...
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Justices affirm search warrant, convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a defendant's convictions of dealing in cocaine and possession of marijuana because the initial search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause. One justice dissented, fearing the logic used by the majority to affirm the search warrant would invite more searches by the government that could violate both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. In Willie Eaton v. State of Indiana, No. 89S04-0802-CR-106, Willie Eaton appealed his drug convictions, arguing the initial search warrant wasn't supported by...
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Court: media ban does not pass test

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling there were genuine issues of fact as to why they denied death row inmates from giving face-to-face interviews with the media. In David Paul Hammer v. John D. Ashcroft, et al., No. 06-1750, Hammer sued Bureau of Prison officials, including then-Attorney General of the U.S., John Ashcroft, and former wardens of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Harley Lappin and Keith...
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SCOTUS defines money-laundering 'proceeds'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has defined money laundering and tossed out the convictions of an East Chicago man in a split decision today.The high court ruled on U.S. v. Efrain Santos, et al., No. 06-1005, which involved a money-laundering ring in East Chicago. This was one of two money-laundering cases decided by the court today; the other came in Cuellar v. U.S., No. 06-1456, which held that mere concealment of money during a transport is not enough to support...
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President signs new federal IP law: Legislation considers piracy issues, creates 'copyright czar'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The United States is stepping up to better protect intellectual property. If there was any doubt before, it's official now with a new law signed by President George W. Bush Oct. 13. Known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or PRO IP for short, the law is designed to strengthen existing copyright laws, create civil forfeiture clauses so equipment believed to be used in an IP crime can be seized, and establish a cabinet-level position...
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COA: State can't claim adverse possession

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The state can't obtain title to a disputed tract of land through adverse possession because the state can't satisfy the tax requirements in Indiana statute regarding adverse possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in a case of first impression.In State of Indiana v. Jeanette Serowiecki, No. 56A04-0710-CV-576, the state appealed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Jeanette Serowiecki on the state's complaint to quiet title to an 18.6-acre tract of land in Newton County. Serowiecki is trustee...
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Conference to address poverty, globalization

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
How the law and legal associations can lessen the impacts of poverty both at home and abroad will be the focus of a Law, Poverty and Economic Inequality Conference April 3 and 4 at Valparaiso University School of Law.Visiting professor Penelope Andrews organized the conference in response to the various ways globalization has affected poverty through job loss, diminishing labor rights, lower earnings, and an increase in private companies taking over the former responsibilities of governments. The event will consist of...
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U.S. allowed to join Indy case arguments

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the federal government to have a voice in arguments of an Indiana case later this month, testing the competency standards for pro se litigants in criminal cases.On March 14, justices of the nation's highest court granted a motion from the U.S. Solicitor General to participate in arguments as amicus curiae in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, 07-208, set for 10 a.m. March 26.At issue is what the Sixth Amendment dictates when determining whether someone found competent...
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Court: 'mistakes' in judge's sentence

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the sentence of man convicted of defrauding Medicaid because the District Court judge's sentencing transcript was "laced with apparent mistakes and misunderstandings." In United States of America v. William J. Higdon, No. 07-3951, William Higdon appealed his 60-month sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard Young of the Southern District, Evansville Division. Higdon pleaded guilty to defrauding the Indiana Medicaid program, and the judge and parties agreed the sentencing guideline was 18 to 24 months....
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Moving forward on merit selection: Judiciary, bar association support statewide change

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An effort that began more than 50 years ago is being resurrected and could eventually reshape how judges are selected throughout Indiana. Stars are aligning for a multi-faceted thrust toward merit selection and retention for all trial judges statewide, an endeavor that's been brewing behind the scenes for years but is now gaining more steam from the state's judiciary and largest bar associations. While no guarantee exists that lawmakers would even consider such a change, key players supporting the concept in...
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Grant available for Family Court Project

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A one-year grant of up to $40,000 is available to launch a Family Court Project. The grant is an opportunity for county governments to get funding for a project that provides judicial coordination of multiple cases involving the same family. Last year, only two new projects received funding for the 2008 year, so the Indiana Supreme Court had an extra $40,000 to include in the 2009 budget, said Loretta Olesky, Family Court manager. Typically, the grants run on two-year cycles; however,...
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Judge crosses out cell tower dispute

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal suit is going back to Jeffersonville to decide whether a wireless carrier can put up a cell tower disguised as a Baptist church cross.U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker Thursday remanded the case Sprint Spectrum v. City of Jeffersonville Board of Zoning Appeals, No. 4:05-cv-00154-SEB-WGH, issuing a final judgment and denying cross-motions for summary judgment from both parties. The nearly three-year-old suit was filed in the Southern District of Indiana New Albany Division.Sprint wanted to build a "stealth facility"...
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Courts can review public school financing

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier courts have the authority to review the state's school financing formula to determine whether Indiana is meeting a constitutional requirement to provide a quality public education for all students, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled May 2.A 2-1 ruling from the COA revives the public education financing case of Joseph Bonner, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 49A02-0702-CV-188, which presents an issue of first impression. Nine public school students and their families from eight different school systems throughout the...
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7th Circuit upholds convictionRestricted Content

December 26, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's conviction and sentence for selling a firearm to a felon, ruling the wording of his indictment did not require the government to prove he knew about the gun buyer's past convictions
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ACLU: Full court should rehear prayer case

November 15, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana wants the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a case involving legislative prayer.
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7th Circuit rules on garnished 'Sidewalk Six' moneyRestricted Content

September 5, 2007
Michael Hoskins
One of East Chicago's so-called "Sidewalk Six" convicts is the subject of a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling today, though the case more accurately centers on the $25 million in restitution he was ordered to repay and whether those garnishments should be considered marital assets during his subsequent divorce proceedings.
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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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