Indiana Court of Appeals

Judges: Court should have questioned jurors

July 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed as to whether a man's murder conviction should be overturned because the trial court failed to investigate the impact of threats made against the jury. The majority determined the lack of action by the trial court resulted in a fundamental error that required reversing the conviction, but that he could be retried.
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COA: Dog sniff requires reasonable suspicion

July 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Analyzing the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals today determined reasonable suspicion is needed to conduct a drug-detecting dog sniff of a private residence. Even though the state didn't argue the police had reasonable suspicion, it established the officers relied on the warrant executed after the sniff in good faith.
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Judges: Town ordinance invalid

July 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declared today a Plainfield town ordinance authorizing the imposition of storm-water fees on properties outside of the town's corporate boundaries to be invalid because under Indiana Code, the town only has the authority to collect the fee within its corporate limits.
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Attempted murderer may adopt under statute

July 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Under Indiana statute for adoption, attempted murder isn't listed as a conviction that would prohibit a court from granting the adoption, but aggravated battery is.
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Township assessor loses appeal

July 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a township assessor who filed a suit last year after the General Assembly enacted a bill that eliminated her office and transferred her duties to the county assessor.
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COA: alternative murder sentence illegal

July 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a defendant is entitled to re-sentencing on his murder conviction since the trial court wasn't authorized to sentence him to death and to a term-of-years sentence if the death penalty was overturned.
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Judges don't agree candidate is 'qualified'

July 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed as to whether an elected at-large school board candidate was "qualified" under the Indiana Constitution to take office because his election caused three members from the same school district to be on the board.
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COA: Rentals not restricted by covenants

July 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined today the rental of cabins in a subdivision was allowed under its restrictive covenants because the rental property was for "residential use."
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COA: Home isn't allowed in marital estate

July 8, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a trial court believed a wife's testimony that her in-laws' purposefully kept her from receiving any money from the sale of the marital residence in the event of a divorce, the lower court erred by including the residence in the marital estate, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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First impression for habitual offender statute

July 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether a defendant's prior conviction for conspiracy to deal in cocaine qualified as a conviction for dealing in cocaine under the state's habitual offender statute.
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COA reverses rape conviction in cold case

July 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed a man's recent conviction for a murder he committed more than 20 years ago, but it reversed his rape conviction on insufficient evidence. The state failed to file a charge in which it had evidence to support a conviction of a sexual attack against the victim.
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Court: counties responsible for GAL, CASA fees

June 30, 2009
Michael Hoskins
In a significant opinion about the funding of child welfare cases, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that any guardian ad litem or Child Appointed Special Advocate fees associated with a child in need of services case must be paid by the county and not the state agency that lawmakers gave more oversight power to in the past year.
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Transfer sought in compulsive gambling case

June 29, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Arguing that common law should protect anyone intentionally harmed by someone else, an Evansville attorney is asking the Indiana Supreme Court to consider a case of first impression in which he contends a compulsive gambler was targeted and taken advantage of by a casino, resulting in her loss of $125,000 in a single night.
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Court tackles scope of 'frivolous'

June 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today used an inmate's appeal of the dismissal of his complaint to address the scope of the word "frivolous" in Indiana's Frivolous Claim Law. And even though this inmate has filed dozens of law suits since being incarcerated, it doesn't mean his suits can be automatically deemed frivolous by the trial courts.
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Judges rule on workers' comp billing issues

June 24, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Employers or their insurers - not health care providers - must prove when medical expenses for injured employees might be considered higher than what's allowed under the state's workers' compensation statute, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Judges differ on if 'property damage' occurred

June 23, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Court of Appeals judges affirmed summary judgment in favor of a homebuilder's insurance provider, insurance broker, and subcontractor's insurer, ruling the damage to the homes wasn't "property damage" as covered by the insurance policies.
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Court reverses conviction over letter

June 23, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A man's convictions of criminal mischief and operating while intoxicated were reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals because a letter he wrote while trying to negotiate a plea agreement - which was rejected - shouldn't have been admitted at his trial.
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Purse search violated Indiana Constitution

June 22, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a woman's conviction of possession of cocaine because the concern for the safety of police officers doesn't justify the warrantless search of every purse that is stretched in such a way it appears it could be holding a gun.
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Inmate loses 3 appeals

June 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Eric D. Smith, the New Castle inmate with the propensity for filing pro se suits, lost three appeals today with the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Court rules on incurred risk in malpractice suit

June 16, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that, in general, incurred risk isn't a defense to medical malpractice based on negligence or lack of informed consent.
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First impression on residential entry issue

June 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Since a man who had permission to be in his ex-girlfriend's garage did not have permission to be in her house, he committed residential entry as a Class D felony when he kicked in her locked kitchen door to use the phone.
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Opinion explains use of supplemental evidence

June 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In affirming a trial court's decision to uphold a board of zoning appeals' denial of a petition for a variance, the Indiana Court of Appeals also addressed the trial court's admission of supplemental evidence pursuant to Indiana Code Section 36-7-4-1009.
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Judges differ on pretrial credit award

June 12, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Each judge on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel weighed in with a separate opinion as to how much pretrial credit time a defendant, who pleaded guilty to one charge - other charges were dismissed - is entitled to, or if he is entitled to any time at all.
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Animal cruelty an exigent circumstance

June 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time in state courts, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided animal cruelty rises to the level of exigent circumstances to permit a warrantless search of curtilage. The decision came in a man's appeal of his dog fighting convictions.
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Suit based on church-member letter may go on

June 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A letter written by a church member and circulated through another member's work e-mail address contains some allegedly defamatory statements that can be considered secular, so a suit for defamation and invasion of privacy could continue on those statements, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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