Indiana Trial Courts

Magistrate judge appointed to Allen Superior Court

June 24, 2013
IL Staff
Allen Circuit Magistrate Judge Craig J. Bobay has been appointed to Allen Superior Court by Gov. Mike Pence, the governor’s office announced Monday. He will fill a vacancy created when Civil Division Judge Daniel G. Heath transferred to the Family Relations Division following Judge Stephen Sims’ retirement in April.
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Marion County seeks plan to handle expungement requests

June 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion County courts expect a flood of requests for expungement of criminal convictions and charges after a new law takes effect July 1. Judges on Friday agreed for now those requests should be heard by the judges in courts where the convictions were entered or charges brought.
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Judges consider cellphone restrictions after court video hits Facebook

June 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
Disturbed by recent incidents in which video of open court has found its way online, Marion County judges on Friday discussed restricting cellphones in court.
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Defendant in trial over concert hall defects tries to halt repairs

June 7, 2013
Andrea Muirragui Davis
Attorneys for the Michigan contractor being sued over construction defects at Carmel’s Palladium concert hall have asked a Hamilton County court to halt repair work immediately to preserve evidence in the case.
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Stefaniak to become new Lake County juvenile court judge

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judge Thomas Stefaniak will take over the juvenile court in Lake County, ending a months-long dispute over the judgeship that involved the intervention of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Lawsuit claims Indiana’s high-risk insurance pool hoards cash

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Health care providers who’ve been rejected by private malpractice writers turn to a state-run insurer that typically charges two to three times more for coverage. A class-action lawsuit claims the high-risk pool owes its policyholders a $31 million surplus.
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Jurors may be asked mental health, suicide questions in Shuai case

May 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
Potential jurors in the high-profile trial of a Chinese immigrant charged with murder for the death of her newborn daughter won’t have to disclose their religious or political views, but they will be asked whether they or people close to them have been treated for mental health issues, suffered the loss of an infant or attempted suicide.
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State seeks contempt against East Chicago casino group

May 23, 2013
IL Staff
Principals of a politically connected East Chicago group that received $16 million in casino revenue intended to benefit the city should be held in contempt if they continue to fail to disclose what happened to the money, the state argued in court Thursday.
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Convicted ex-coroner hits Brizzi with legal malpractice suit

May 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Hancock County coroner Tamara Vangundy paid for negligent legal advice on her plea deal in a drunken-driving and official-misconduct case that ended her career as an elected official, she alleges in a legal malpractice claim filed against former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi.
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Seeking an exclusion for innocent co-insured

May 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A LaPorte County woman who lost her home to a fire allegedly started by her estranged husband is at the center of a legal dispute with her insurance company that could set precedent.
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Man gets 90 years for murder of girlfriend

May 14, 2013
IL Staff
St. Joseph Superior Judge Jerome Frese sentenced a South Bend man to 90 years for murdering his girlfriend in October 2009. This is the second time Brice Webb has been convicted and sentenced for Cherlyn Reyes’ death.
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Sullivan: Mediation between Lake County judges, magistrates fails

May 9, 2013
IL Staff
Mediation ordered by the Indiana Supreme Court failed to settle a dispute among Lake County judges over a juvenile court vacancy, according to a report filed Wednesday by the former justice who tried to resolve the matter.
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Trial set in Carmel's complaint on Palladium construction

May 1, 2013
Andrea Muirragui Davis
Mediation is scheduled for May 21 in a 2-year-old lawsuit the city of Carmel brought over defects discovered during construction of its signature Palladium concert hall.
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Officer pleads not guilty to new drunken-driving charges

May 1, 2013
IL Staff
David Bisard, the suspended Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer who was charged Monday with misdemeanor drunken-driving charges while on bail awaiting trial for his role in a fatal accident, pleaded not guilty in Marion County to the new charges.
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Marion County Odyssey transition may cause delays

April 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
Civil filings in Marion Circuit and Superior courts could experience delays after Friday when the JUSTIS case management system will go offline pending a transition to the Odyssey CMS. Odyssey is slated to go live in the civil courts May 13.
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Rat poison not yet linked to Shuai newborn death

April 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
Prosecutors acknowledged Thursday they could not currently provide a witness who would definitively testify that rat poison Bei Bei Shuai ingested was the cause of her newborn’s death, for which she stands charged with murder.
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Follow-up support needed for mediation success

April 24, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic launches new three-phase program that also incorporates education.
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Humvee maker wins $277M

April 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defense subcontractor marked up kits, resulting in millions of dollars in armor overcharges.
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Lake County bench brawl

April 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
Mediation is ordered as the fight over Bonaventura vacancy goes public and exposes strife.
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Pence appoints Hostetler to St. Joseph bench

March 28, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday that he has selected Steven L. Hostetler to replace St. Joseph Superior Chief Judge Michael P. Scopelitis when he retires June 3.
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Supreme Court blocks Lake Superior judge’s transfer bid

March 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon issued an emergency order preventing a Lake County judge from taking over the vacancy created when a fellow judge was tapped to lead the Department of Child Services.
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5 finalists named for St. Joseph judgeship

March 19, 2013
IL Staff
The St. Joseph County Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission has selected the five finalists to fill an upcoming vacancy on the court when Chief Judge Michael P. Scopelitis retires in June.
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Gerdt Furniture owners embroiled in $4M court fight

March 14, 2013
Scott Olson
A family dispute involving the owners of Gerdt Furniture & Interiors Inc. has led to a lawsuit accusing them of owing nearly $4 million in unpaid rent and loans.
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Spotlight: Change of venue case requires planning, preparation and packing

March 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Moving a trial from one court to another can be cumbersome and brings with it logistical matters that have to be worked out so the lawyers can focus on presenting their case. Transporting office supplies, reserving hotel rooms, securing conference rooms and learning the demographics of the community before selecting the jury are among the tasks that have to be addressed.
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2 Indianapolis attorneys charged with felonies

March 8, 2013
IL Staff
Two Indianapolis attorneys are facing criminal charges after the Marion County prosecutor filed charges in unrelated cases.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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