Indiana appellate judges

Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.
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Judge: Man did not commit attempted child exploitation

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a man committed attempted child exploitation when he tried to take pictures up teenagers’ skirts at a mall using a camera attached to his shoe.
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Search didn't violate driver's rights

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The smell of burnt marijuana on a person alone may constitute probable cause to support an arrest and search incident to arrest, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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COA: Evidence supports dealing conviction

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s conviction of dealing in methamphetamine, finding that pill dough created while making the drug could be used to count toward the three grams needed to charge someone with Class A felony dealing.
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Court examines 'entry' of guilty plea withdrawal motions

July 7, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Court of Appeals has ruled that a man convicted of not paying more than $22,000 in child support wrongly interpreted state law about withdrawing his guilty plea, and that the trial judge correctly prevented the man from doing so because he didn’t file a request in writing or justify the withdrawal.
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Court of Appeals dismisses termination-order appeal

June 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Because the parents of six children who were removed from their home did not timely initiate the appeal of termination of their parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed their appeal.
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Appellate court divided over trust liability

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split Monday in a probate suit involving whether trustees failed to distribute a portion of the trust corpus in a timely manner. The majority upheld finding the trustees liable, but ordered a re-evaluation of compensatory damages and attorney fees.
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COA splits on reversing convictions for Batson violation

June 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant’s convictions, including attempted battery with a deadly weapon, finding the state’s explanations for striking the only African-American from the jury were pretextual and purposeful discrimination.
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Appellate court upholds motion to suppress after traffic stop

June 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge that a police officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver believed to be intoxicated.
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COA reverses worker's comp board on prescription drug denial

June 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a finding by the state Worker’s Compensation Board that a woman’s employer isn’t responsible for providing a specific prescription drug to her, noting that the board only focused on one possible reason why the drug is prescribed.
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COA: Statute of repose doesn't bar woman's complaint

June 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a woman’s negligence complaint isn’t barred by a statute of repose.
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Touched by controversy

June 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
In the history of court controversies, a recent ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court has created public outcry and calls for change in ways that few others do.
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COA: man doesn't have to testify for self-defense instruction

June 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted of murder because the trial court erred by refusing to instruct the jury on self-defense without the defendant’s testimony.
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Insurer not entitled to rescind home insurance policy

May 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The failure to disclose true value in a real estate insurance context doesn’t give rise to a rescission claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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Court reverses feticide convictions on double jeopardy grounds

May 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The man who shot a pregnant teller during a bank robbery, which led to the death of her twins, had his two felony feticide convictions vacated by the Indiana Court of Appeals because of double jeopardy violations.
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Panel orders lower court to enforce protective order

May 24, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Highlighting a bias in state statute relating to protective orders, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that an accuser’s request for a civil contempt hearing against someone alleged to have violated a protective order can’t be tied to any other criminal or civil proceedings under way or available in the future.
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COA rules in favor of mother in contentious custody battle

May 24, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s decision awarding a mother primary custody of her child, after a joint custody arrangement between the mother and father deteriorated.
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Mother's rights at issue in COA reversal

May 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a paternity ruling from Vanderburgh County, finding that the judge should have taken a second look at the case after a mother wasn’t given a chance to be properly heard on custody of her child.
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COA: Tractor sale contract not enforceable

May 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals says it’s against public policy to uphold any civil contract that’s based on an illegal action, and so the court says it won’t create a rule allowing that transaction agreement to be enforced.
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Judges split on mortgage issue

May 17, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression between a lender and the mortgagee on record, the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided as to whether the mortgagee on record had an enforceable right under a mortgage.
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Perry County only preferred venue for wage suit

May 12, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue with no clear precedent regarding statutory interpretation with respect to the Wage Claims Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a trial court didn’t err in concluding Perry County was the proper venue for a suit filed by the Commissioner of Labor under the act.
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COA affirms remanded sentence

May 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s remanded sentence of 44 years, finding that his previous drug conviction could serve as both the basis for his consecutive sentence for a firearm conviction and to enhance his sentences for his other convictions.
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Judges order modification of dissolution decree

May 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial court abused its discretion when it didn’t consider a $160,000 change in value of a property when calculating marital assets and distributing marital property.
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Landlord sent itemized letter on time

May 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed judgment in favor of a tenant in a security deposit dispute, ruling that the landlord did deliver an itemized damages letter within statutory deadlines.
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Pinched nerve causes chief justice to miss arguments, Evansville event

May 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard is dealing with a painful pinched nerve in his neck but is working on managing the pain and has not been hospitalized as a result of the condition, said Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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