Indiana Court of Appeals

Juvenile reversal sets new conditional admissions standard

May 21, 2013
Dave Stafford

A Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday reversed a ruling in a juvenile case and set a new standard for how juvenile judges must handle conditional admission agreements when probable cause is disputed.

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'Pleading the Fifth' not the same as admitting to criminal act

May 20, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A reference made during a trial to “pleading the Fifth” is not an admission of a crime and, therefore, by itself is not grounds for a mistrial, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Appeals panel voids gun conviction, cuts child porn sentence

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of child pornography and a felony gun charge had his most serious conviction vacated and his sentence reduced to no more than four years.
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Bailiff’s communication with juror leads to reversal of convictions

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The bailiff at a man’s trial for criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement improperly communicated with the jury foreperson regarding reaching a verdict, leading the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse Jason Lee Sowers’ convictions.
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COA: Man knowingly pleaded guilty to fraud charge

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court correctly denied relief to a man on his felony fraud conviction after determining that his felony failure to register conviction should be vacated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Anthony McCullough pleaded guilty to the separate charges in one agreement.
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Father’s testimony at molestation trial not fundamental error

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Lake County man’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting, rejecting the defendant’s claims that some of the victim’s father’s testimony at trial resulted in fundamental error.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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State not trying to circumvent adverse ruling in refiling charges

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s felony cocaine dealing conviction, finding the state, when originally dismissing charges and then later refiling them, was not trying to avoid an adverse ruling that barred testimony of a confidential informant.
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Denial of post-conviction relief upheld by COA

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even if the Indiana Court of Appeals was to assume that a defendant’s trial counsel performed below prevailing professional norms by not explaining the potential immigration consequences of his guilty plea, the judges ruled the defendant wasn’t prejudiced because the trial court explained those consequences.
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COA to trial judges: enter restitution orders at sentencing

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals sent a case in ‘procedural limbo’ back to trial court to enter a restitution order within 30 days, which will allow the defendant to appeal his aggravated battery conviction. The appellate judges also advised trial courts on the pitfalls of postponing ordering restitution when ordering a sentence.
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Woman who used FedEx to send med mal complaint didn’t timely file

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Third-party carriers are not included in the statute regarding filing proposed medical malpractice complaints with the Indiana Department of Insurance, so a woman’s complaint that was sent via FedEx within the two-year statute of limitations – but not stamped until after the limitations expired – is not considered timely filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges reverse teen’s gang-related adjudication

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state was unable to prove that a 14-year-old Indianapolis boy committed criminal gang activity when he and several other juveniles followed another teen after a party, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA: More proceedings are needed on parents’ ITCA compliance

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Richmond parents’ complied with the Indiana Tort Claims Act notice provision when filing a lawsuit after their severely disabled daughter died at school, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that issue to go before a jury.
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National fraternity not entitled to summary judgment in wrongful death case

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The national organization of a Wabash College fraternity where a freshman pledge died after a night of heavy drinking is not entitled to summary judgment on the student’s parents’ claims arising from his wrongful death, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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On the road, jurists give public access to appellate cases

May 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
It’s no accident that on a college campus in Richmond recently, the Indiana Supreme Court heard a case that involves allegations of hazing and potential liability for an incident at a Wabash College fraternity.
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Entering a guilty plea is not a mitigating factor, COA rules

May 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a Shelby County man successfully argued that signing an “Advisement of Rights and Waiver” document did not bar him from appealing his sentence, he failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court abused its discretion when sentencing him.
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Court erred in barring expert witness in decade-old software suit

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred when it excluded the expert testimony of a witness who sought to address damages for a software company whose former employees allegedly violated non-compete clauses.
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COA affirms mom’s termination of rights despite ‘clean screen’ given to judge

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis mother with a history of drug abuse and domestic violence failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the termination of her parental rights, even though she introduced herself to the presiding judge after oral arguments and had a student deliver to the judge evidence of a clean drug screen taken a day earlier.
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Store owner’s ‘Spice law’ prosecution may proceed, COA rules

May 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
The state may press criminal charges under the state’s synthetic drug law against a Hamilton County defendant who unsuccessfully argued to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the law was vague and represents an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the Board of Pharmacy.
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Clothing labels and security tags not considered hearsay evidence

May 2, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that clothing from the store H & M that bore the company name and security tags attached to the clothing could be admitted at a woman’s trial for theft from the store on Black Friday.
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COA: Successive Prosecution Statute not applicable to theft case

May 2, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Howard Superior judge properly refused to dismiss theft charges against a man because, despite the defendant’s arguments to the contrary, the Howard County charges were not previously prosecuted in Miami County.
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State must seek EPA approval before reclassifying ethanol plants

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the Environmental Protection Agency changed a rule to exclude ethanol plants from the category of chemical process plants which would affect emissions permitting, Indiana had to seek approval from the federal agency before it could reclassify the ethanol production facilities.
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Evidence does not support CHINS finding

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s determination that an infant is a child in need of services after finding the parents have improved their living situation that led to their three other children being removed. 
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Judges affirm dismissal of city’s counterclaim without prejudice

April 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a dismissal based on the failure to provide an appraisal with an offer to purchase property for road work improvements was not an adjudication on the merits, allowing a city’s counterclaim for appropriation of the property to be dismissed without prejudice.
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