Indiana Trial Courts

Lawyer accused of staging shooting avoids trial

July 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana attorney accused of staging his shooting a little more than a year ago will avoid a trial that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday. The attorney will enter a guilty plea next month, but attorneys involved with the case said they won’t disclose details.
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Bell/Gaerte: SCOTUS guides trial courts’ involvement in plea offers

July 3, 2013
James Bell, K. Michael Gaerte
In the last term, the United States Supreme Court, in Missouri v. Frye, 132 S. Ct. 1399 (2012), took a small step toward inviting trial courts into plea negotiations.
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Weinberger cases settle for $55M

June 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Hundreds of patients of a former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor serving a seven-year federal sentence for health-care fraud will be compensated for their medical malpractice claims through a $55 million settlement.
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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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  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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