Indiana Trial Courts

Court video project exposes problems

April 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Supreme Court wanted feedback on a pilot project using an audio-video record as the official appellate transcript in three Indiana courts. Lawyers at a recent discussion on the topic appear to favor pulling the plug.
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Rise of the zombie house

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
When a bank files a motion to set aside a foreclosure judgment, often the courts consider the filing good news, assuming the lender and the homeowner have reached a settlement. But things aren’t always what they seem, and courts can be at risk of being duped.
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8 more claim abuses in suspended Clark County drug court

April 9, 2014
Eight new plaintiffs have been added to a federal civil-rights lawsuit claiming officials involved in Clark County’s suspended drug court program jailed participants for months without due process, conducted improper searches and made unauthorized arrests.
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New portable alcohol monitoring device gains favor in community corrections

April 9, 2014
Dave Stafford
Offenders ordered to forgo alcohol in order to stay out of prison now have a powerful incentive to stay sober – they hold the key to their freedom in their hands.
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Indianapolis pitches case for jail on former GM plant site

March 19, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s office is pitching a proposed criminal justice complex as an economic boon to near-west-side neighborhoods.
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Mayor recommends GM stamping plant site for justice complex

March 13, 2014
IL Staff
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's office said early Thursday afternoon that the former General Motors stamping plant site just west of downtown will be the location named in a request for proposals to develop the criminal justice complex. The project is meant to bring together and consolidate Marion County criminal courts, jails and related offices and agencies.
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City recommends GM site for Marion County justice complex

March 13, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
The former General Motors stamping plant west of downtown Indianapolis is Mayor Greg Ballard's preferred location for a new criminal justice complex.
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Copyright infringement spurs knife fight in Warrick County

March 12, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A copyright infringement dispute between two out-of-state companies has spurred criminal charges in Warrick County, a place where neither business has facilities, employees or quite possibly ever visited before these charges were brought.
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Indianapolis announces short list for creating justice complex

March 4, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
The city of Indianapolis Tuesday morning announced three development groups that will be invited to submit proposals for a new criminal justice complex.
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Proposed criminal justice complex draws 5 bidders

February 12, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
Five groups of developers have responded to Indianapolis' call for candidates to build a new criminal justice complex.
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Official declines to rule out airport location for Criminal Justice Complex

February 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior judges Monday heard an update on a proposed Criminal Justice Complex, and one asked if “we can put to rest” speculation that the courts and jail would move to a site at Indianapolis International Airport.
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Right to equal access at center of federal lawsuit

January 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A courtroom spectator’s persistent requests to two trial courts for an interpreter raises questions of how accessible Indiana courts should be for people who have disabilities as well as how much control the state judiciary has over local judges.
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Commission: Suspend Judge Kimberly Brown

January 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown circumvented the three-judge panel that heard her disciplinary case with a direct appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court, the presiding judge said in striking her last-minute apology and an affidavit in her support from former Justice Frank Sullivan.
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Remove Judge Kimberly Brown, special masters recommend

December 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown should be removed from the bench, a panel of three special masters has recommended to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Humvee maker, defense giant BAE wrangle over $277M judgment

December 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A dispute over the true cost of Humvee body armor rushed to the battlefield in the deadliest days of the Iraq war has resulted in a court battle that includes suggestions that one of the world’s top defense contractors may have serious business problems as it argues against posting full security for a $277 million judgment.
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Marion Superior Judge Brown’s discipline case likely one for the record books

November 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
The 47-count case against a Marion Superior judge appears to be the most voluminous judicial discipline proceeding in the state’s history, according to people familiar with the case and matters of judicial discipline.
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Courts to allow cameras for National Adoption Day

November 14, 2013
IL Staff
Selected courts around Indiana have been granted permission through an order of the Indiana Supreme Court to allow cameras to record and broadcast events in observation of National Adoption Day.
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Delayed jail releases common, says witness in judge’s discipline case

November 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
A senior judge who presided in a Marion Superior criminal court for more than a dozen years testified Friday that delayed releases of defendants from jail are a problem with the county’s entire judicial system and not limited to the court of a judge facing discipline for that and other charges.
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Judge denies Brizzi’s bid for gag order in malpractice suit

November 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge Tuesday denied former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi’s request for a gag order in the legal malpractice claim filed against him by defrocked Indiana Secretary of State Charlie White.
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Filings continue to drop, as does funding for Indiana courts

November 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
A sharp decline in infraction and ordinance-violation cases is among factors that resulted in courts around the state collecting considerably less revenue, according to data released in the annual Judicial Service Reports.
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County official puts Indiana's expungement statute on trial

November 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
Morgan County Prosecutor Steve Sonnega has heard the criticism that he’s on the wrong side of the law when he argues that Indiana’s expungement statute is unconstitutional. But he insists he’s right.
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Finney: Is trial technology a reasonable and necessary expense?

November 6, 2013
Deanna Finney
A recent decision from the Nevada District Court, Clark County, demonstrated that technology at trial is a valued component and not merely a dog-and-pony show. The dispute at hand centered upon unpaid expenses for trial technology that had been deemed as not a “reasonable and necessary” expense.
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Surrogate: Clients lost fees paid to attorney who fled

October 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
As many as 80 clients of a Kokomo attorney may have pre-paid for bankruptcy petitions that the attorney failed to file before leaving the country, according to the lawyer appointed to wind down the practice.
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Surrogate handling missing Kokomo attorney’s files

October 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Kokomo attorney Bradley Hamilton has been missing more than a month, leaving behind numerous unrepresented clients.
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Zoeller moves to strike Ritz’s suit against Board of Education

October 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Attorney General Greg Zoeller Thursday asked a court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz against the Indiana Board of Education.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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