Indiana Lawyer Staff

7th Circuit agrees crack cocaine offender's sentence can't be reduced

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an issue involving crack cocaine sentencing Tuesday – whether a defendant sentenced under the career offender guideline, but with a downward departure for substantial assistance, is eligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2).
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Justices appoint pro temp judge for Marion County traffic court

February 22, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has appointed Indianapolis attorney Jane H. Conley as Judge Pro Tempore in Marion Superior Court, according to a Feb. 16 order posted on the court’s website this week.
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SCOTUS denies one Indiana case, sidesteps others for now

February 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States denied one prisoner lawsuit from Indiana today, while not saying whether it will address another case from this state on judicial speech. No decision was made on a third Hoosier case it heard arguments on more than a month ago addressing vehicular flight.
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Indiana man named Advocate of the Year

February 22, 2011
IL Staff
A Marion man will be honored in March by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association with the G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year Award. Frank West of CASA of Grant County will receive the award during the association’s 30th annual national conference in Chicago.
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Judges reverse summary judgment for agent, partner

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving a Bloomington real estate transaction required the Indiana Court of Appeals to decipher the statutes in question without the aid of previous interpretations because of a lack of previous caselaw interpreting them.
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Religious-worship burglary enhancement doesn’t violate constitutions

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a man who argued the enhancement of his burglary conviction to a Class B felony because he burgled a church violated the federal and state constitutions. In the first impression issue, the judges held the enhancement doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Poverty law event at IU-Indy March 1

February 21, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, and the Central Indiana Peace Corps Association are hosting a poverty law event that will discuss issues facing American families.
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Judges address first impression issue on attorney fees

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
For the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed a contract that included a provision stating the signee is responsible for 40 percent in attorney fees if a hospital had to initiate collection efforts to recover amounts owed.
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DCS to impose 5 percent reduction for reimbursement in 2011

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services and IARCCA, an Association of Children and Family Services, announced their agreement today in a dispute regarding reimbursement rate cuts. The dispute led to a lawsuit filed in late 2009 between the two organizations.
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Judge affirms retaining charges but finds criminal prosecution unjust

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge expressed concern that a woman’s criminal case may be affected by her admittance of violating several city ordinances after her dogs attacked two people.
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Book focuses on state's justices

February 18, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana Supreme Court history buffs have a new book to read. The Indiana Historical Society Press has published “Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court,” which explores the lives of the state’s 106 justices.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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Supreme Court hears arguments in victims' advocates subpoena case

February 17, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments today involving the subpoena of records from a domestic violence agency by a defendant who had been charged with two counts of Class A felony child molesting.
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Mandatory retirement, unified court bills still alive

February 17, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The bill that would end a mandatory retirement age for certain judges and the bill that would unify Clark County courts are ready for third reading in their respective houses.
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IU law school program in Egypt halted due to protests

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Students started classes in January but there is uncertainty when they will resume because of the unrest in the country.
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Emergency transfers by Supreme Court not common

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
What attorneys might consider an emergency legal issue may not draw the same urgency from the Indiana Supreme Court. In fact, it usually doesn’t.
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COA reverses and remands CHINS finding regarding stepfather

February 15, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
After the juvenile court adjudicated two minor children as children in need of services following their mother’s admission to allegations filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel today reversed and remanded that finding in favor of the stepfather, who denied the allegations and asked for a fact-finding hearing. One Court of Appeals judge dissented, writing that she disagreed that the trial court violated the stepfather’s right to due process in this case.
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Fair Finance trustee sues Indy attorney for $375,000

February 15, 2011
Greg Andrews
The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Co. has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis attorney Stephen Plopper and his wife, saying they defaulted on a 2003 loan from the defunct Tim Durham-owned business and now owe $375,000.
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Supreme Court suspends judge for 30 days

February 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A 30-day unpaid suspension begins next week for Marion Superior Traffic Judge William Young, though the chief justice expects the Indiana Supreme Court would have issued a lengthier sanction if a settlement had not been reached in the misconduct case.
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Court reverses class certification in hail-damage action

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the class certification granted by the District Court in a suit brought by unsatisfied homeowners following a 2006 hailstorm in central Indiana.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the denial of man’s motion to suppress, finding the traffic stop that resulted in his drunk driving arrest wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.
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High court takes 4 cases

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted four cases on transfer, including one in which they released an opinion on the matter the same day they granted transfer.
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CLE commission elects 2011 officers

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Commission for Continuing Legal Education has elected four officers to serve during the 2011 calendar year, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday.
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Supreme Court interactive event rescheduled

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has rescheduled its interactive drama “Bound for Freedom: The Case of Polly Strong,” which was postponed after a winter storm hit central Indiana earlier this month.
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Attorney reprimanded for charging unreasonable fees

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded a Hamilton County attorney for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a) by making agreements for and charging unreasonable fees.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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