Indiana Court of Appeals

Breach of contract suit to get new venue

August 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court should have granted the city of Lawrenceburg’s request to move a breach of contract lawsuit against it filed by Franklin County out of Franklin County, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Woman’s outburst politically ambiguous; disorderly conduct conviction stands

August 26, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Michigan City woman’s disorderly conduct conviction after finding the focus of her speech was politically ambiguous and the state acted rationally in impairing her speech while trying to serve an arrest warrant.
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Doctor’s profit sharing plan not recoverable by slain wife’s estate

August 25, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The estate of a woman whose husband shot and killed her and himself just hours after they married is not entitled to any funds from the husband’s profit sharing plan based on Indiana probate law, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday.
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Trust beneficiary’s complaint reinstated by COA

August 25, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit filed by a man who claimed the trustee of the irrevocable trust in which he is the beneficiary mismanaged assets will move forward after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed dismissal of the suit.
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COA calls for guidance on social media use during criminal trials

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In affirming that a man was not deprived due process when the media live tweeted during his murder trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted that it’s time for the judicial branch to address social media use concerns.
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Court divided over stop of man in movie theater

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
By a 2-1 vote, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of an Indianapolis man’s motion to suppress a handgun found on him after officers questioned him in a lobby of a movie theater. The majority ruled the officers had no reasonable suspicion to justify the investigatory stop.
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COA affirms officer’s stop of teen involved in mall ruckus

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop and search a teen at an Indianapolis mall on Black Friday last year whom was believed to be involved in a shouting match with another group of people in a department store, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA upholds restraining order against man who threatened mother’s caretakers

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A Clark County man’s behavior qualified as a credible threat of violence with respect to three employees of the assisted living facility where his mother lived, so the trial court correctly issued workplace violence restraining orders on their behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Promise to pay for broken nose breathes life into estoppel claim

August 23, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A young woman who suffered a broken nose trying to help law enforcement can have her estoppel claim move forward even though she did not file a timely notice under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
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DOC, trial court errors lead to reversal of parole revocation

August 23, 2016
Dave Stafford
A longtime criminal who was convicted of violating his parole on an attempted robbery sentence was deprived a hearing on a corrected record and therefore is entitled to post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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COA advice: Leave affirmation out of jury instructions

August 23, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man’s convictions of battery and disorderly conduct will stand, but the Indiana Court of Appeals cautioned trial courts that including law enforcement affirmations in jury instructions should not, calling the practice “undesirable and completely avoidable.”
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Split COA reverses sex conviction on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ grounds

August 22, 2016
The majority of a Court of Appeals panel reversed the conviction of a young man who claimed he was wrongly denied an opportunity to present Indiana’s “Romeo and Juliet” law as an affirmative defense to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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City owes man legal fees for ‘meritless, possibly frivolous’ case

August 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the city’s Office of Corporation Counsel pursued a ‘wholly meritless, possibly frivolous argument’ in a public-records case, the Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The city will pay the legal fees of a man who sued to obtain records after he was denied.
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Appeals panel overturns man’s trespass conviction

August 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man who had lived with his father with the consent of the senior apartment complex where he resided should not have been convicted of trespass after he was ordered to leave, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in overturning a bench trial verdict.
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Dissent: PO reversal ‘insulates’ domestic violence perpetrators

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
An ex-husband’s actions that prompted a woman to get a protective order against him did not constitute stalking or threatening behavior sufficient to warrant the court order, the majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday. A dissenting judge warned the holding “insulates perpetrators of domestic violence” who threaten friends or associates of former partners.
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Imam, Islamic Society entitled to fees from deposed member

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who was drummed out of the Islamic Society of Michiana’s board of directors filed a combative, confusing brief demonstrating bad faith when he appealed a trial court’s dismissal of his pro se suit seeking $5.2 million in damages. Now he’s on the hook for damages.
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COA: Live-in girlfriend asked to leave didn’t trespass

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
A woman who accepted a man’s offer to live in his home and who soon became his lover should not have been convicted of trespass for refusing to leave when he tried to kick her out, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA: No error in admitting post-accident reports at negligence trial

August 18, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Dealing with the question for the first time in a negligence case involving a fired truck driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided that a post-incident investigation is not an inadmissible subsequent remedial measure.
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COA blasts DCS’ lack of action in CHINS case

August 18, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a child in need of services case questioned why the Department of Child Services was able to not comply with multiple court orders and face no consequences from the juvenile court.
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Warrantless inventory search of vehicle not unreasonable, COA holds

August 17, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Despite a police officer’s failure to strictly follow relevant procedures for completing a written inventory of items found in an impounded car, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the warrantless search of the car was not unreasonable.
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Nurse to face criminal charges for prescriptions issued at drug clinic

August 16, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A registered nurse at a Wayne County clinic that treated those with addictions will face criminal charges for her role in handing out prescriptions prepared outside the usual course of professional medical practice. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of those charges that was based on the fact she was not a doctor.
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COA affirms conviction of man who used lawyer’s identity in jail

August 16, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Whether someone used another person’s identity for a lawful purpose is an affirmative defense to the crime of identity deception and not a material element of the crime, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a first impression matter.
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COA affirms woman in same-sex relationship legal parent of child

August 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a trial court’s conclusion that a lesbian couple who entered into a registered domestic partnership in California should be treated like married spouses. As such, the judges affirmed the award of joint legal custody and parenting time to the non-biological parent after the couple broke up.
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Patel decision restricts feticide prosecutions

August 10, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals holds the Legislature didn’t intend feticide charges for pregnant women.
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$25M verdict poses tough questions for COA

August 10, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Hearing arguments about a case that resulted in what may be among the largest awards for loss of consortium, the Indiana Court of Appeals repeatedly questioned what amount of damages is too much and when a jury’s decision should be overturned.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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