Indiana Trial Courts

Innovative court programs get funding support from Indiana Supreme Court

September 4, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has awarded more than $450,000 in court reform grants for the 2013-2014 grant cycle.
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Shuai pleads guilty to lesser charge, is freed

August 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Chinese immigrant who tried to kill herself by consuming rat poison and was charged with murder and attempted feticide days later when her newborn daughter died pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor.
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Marion County probation ending transportation for community service work

August 2, 2013
Dave Stafford
Criminal defendants ordered to perform community service work will have to get to their destinations without a ride from the Marion County Probation Department as the result of a program change adopted Friday.
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No-phone zones might be called for in Indy courts

July 31, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judges in Marion County were rightly troubled recently by multiple instances of cellphone video taken in court winding up online, which included secretly recorded video of a criminal informant’s testimony.
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Dispute over bail bonds likely to produce a legislative solution

July 31, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Growing tension between the bench and bail bond agents has been shoved into the spotlight at the Statehouse and could be the subject of bills introduced during the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
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Judge issues gag order in Bei Bei Shuai case

July 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
The judge in the case of a woman charged with murder and attempted feticide in the death of her newborn daughter on Friday ordered prosecutors, defense attorneys and others involved in the case not to speak about it outside court.
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Judges formalize reaffirmation of City-County Building firearms ban

July 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion County judges on Friday formally reaffirmed a 2007 policy banning firearms from the City-County Building. Law-enforcement personnel and judicial officers are exempt from the prohibition.
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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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  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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)

  5. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

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