Indiana Trial Courts

Hamilton County judge pleads guilty to reckless driving

April 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Longtime Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes pleaded guilty Monday in a North Carolina court, avoiding a drunken driving conviction for a lesser count of reckless driving that means a year of unsupervised probation.
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Court of Appeals dismisses Bren Simon's appeal

April 18, 2011
IBJ Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed Bren Simon’s petition seeking to reverse a lower court’s ruling that removed her as interim trustee of her late husband’s $2 billion estate.
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COA upholds convictions in Indianapolis Hamilton Ave. murders

April 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a man’s convictions and reduced his sentence to 421 years for his involvement in the gruesome robbery and murders of seven Indianapolis residents, including three children, in June 2006.
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Justices accept ordinance case

April 18, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether an Indiana town’s ordinance that would give the town the exclusive right to control, regulate, and sell water is actually invalid.
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Court splits on standard used to modify custody

April 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the trial court departed from established statutory procedures by using the “best interests” standard to modify physical custody, the majority of Indiana Court of Appeals judges affirmed the lower court’s decision.
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Suspended attorney pleads guilty to theft

April 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A suspended attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing $283,000 from his clients during dozens of transactions.
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Lawmakers resume debate on issues impacting state courts

April 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Both federal and state lawmakers seem to be letting the clock tick down to the final seconds.
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Evansville Bar Association to celebrate 100th anniversary

April 13, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The two-day celebration kicks off April 28 and will include a mock trial with area high school students.
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Company hit with class action suits

April 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Two class action lawsuits have been filed against an Indianapolis firm that had offered estate planning services to people. Now, the Indiana Supreme Court is considering what happens next against the company it found a year ago had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.
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Indiana courts take backseat on camera study

April 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
As yet another study concerning cameras in the courtroom is about to begin, Indiana doesn’t appear to be anywhere closer to allowing cameras in its state or federal trial-level courtrooms.
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Judges disagree on whether landowners are 'aggrieved'

April 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Jurists on the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed on an issue of first impression about what an “aggrieved” party is when it comes to filing a mandate or injunction against a water conservancy district under state statute.
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Judge dismisses civil forfeiture suit against state prosecutors

April 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has tossed a lawsuit against 78 county prosecutors being accused of breaking the law by not turning over seized assets from criminals to a school construction fund. In doing so, the judge expressed concern about the lack of reasoning and consistency demonstrated by prosecutors throughout the state.
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State won't immediately appeal IBM 'deliberative processes' ruling

April 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
At least for now, the Indiana Court of Appeals isn’t being asked to consider a Marion County judge’s decision that held a “deliberative process” privilege exists in Indiana.
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Case asks whether school board members can run for political office

April 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Lake Superior judge may not be breaking any new legal ground with an election-related ruling this week, but he’s set the stage for an appeal that could clear up confusion about whether nonpartisan school board members must give up their right to run for a public office that requires the candidate to declare their political party affiliation.
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Legal analysts use media to educate public about issues

March 30, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Lawyers and judges who eat, sleep, and breathe the law might find it easy to forget that not everyone understands the finer points of how the justice system works. This is where legal commentators – analysts of the inner workings of the legal system – come into play.
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IBM litigation explores executive privilege issue

March 23, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has ordered Indiana state officials to turn over thousands of documents relating to the state’s cancellation of a welfare system modernization, ruling on an issue of first impression about whether a “deliberative processes” executive privilege exists in Indiana.
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COA: Admission of prior convictions fundamental error

March 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a sex offender convicted of failing to register while having a prior conviction. The court ruled the evidence regarding his prior convictions for failing to register shouldn’t have been admitted at trial.
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Brizzi discipline case could set new prejudice standard

March 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission wants to set a new standard of “actual prejudice” for attorney misconduct. In making that argument, the validity of two high-profile murder convictions that Carl Brizzi secured during his time as prosecutor in the state’s largest county are being questioned.
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Porter County can't leave RDA

March 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A northwestern Indiana county can’t withdraw from a regional development authority created by lawmakers to facilitate economic development, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Competitor lacks standing for judicial review

March 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for judicial review from a liquor wholesaler who challenged the issuance of a wine and liquor permit to a competitor because the wholesaler lacked standing, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Court weighs needs when timing judicial suspensions

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When deciding that a judge must be suspended and determining when that time off the bench should be, decision-makers must maintain a delicate balance.
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Prosecution raises awareness of human trafficking

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
When it comes to human trafficking, most people who are unfamiliar with the crime visualize one person holding another hostage and giving them limited contact with the rest of the world. Some envision a basement in a dungeon-like setting with chains or other restraining devices, say advocates for victims of human trafficking.
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Change sought for 3rd murder trial

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Defense attorneys for former Indiana State Police trooper David Camm have asked the state’s intermediate appellate court to accept an interlocutory appeal and decide whether a special judge should have appointed a new prosecutor to preside over the man’s third trial.
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Governor appoints 3 judges

February 28, 2011
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels made three judicial appointments, filling vacancies in Howard, Jay, and Wells county courts.
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Walkout creates uncertainty in House

February 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
It’s been a controversial week at the Indiana General Assembly with the walkout by many Democrats in the House of Representatives killing several bills in their current forms as legislative deadlines hit.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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