Judge Michael P. Barnes

COA upholds conviction, trims sentence in heroin case

May 18, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's conviction but reduced his sentence for dealing heroin even though he didn't actually participate in the transaction in one of the counts.
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Majority: Expungement applies to civil forfeiture action

December 31, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Thursday over whether a man’s civil forfeiture action that stemmed from a drug bust should have been expunged in addition to his criminal record in the matter.
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Signs of dissent in retention vote

October 24, 2012
Dave Stafford
Justice Steven David's Barnes opinion finding no right to resist unlawful police entry results in an unusual ouster effort on an otherwise quiet appellate judicial ballot.
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Questionable results of drug tests

March 14, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Attorney Fran Watson worries that people have been wrongfully convicted in Indiana, and findings released from a court-appointed task force show that she may be justified in having that fear.
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Judges uphold contempt order against attorney

September 6, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Morgan Circuit judge had jurisdiction to order a Unionville attorney to pay $75,000 to the county clerk after finding the attorney in contempt, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Man not prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance

August 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the decision to deny a man’s request for post-conviction relief, finding that although his attorney’s performance was deficient for not investigating whether a previous conviction attributed to the defendant was really his, the man couldn’t show he was prejudiced.
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Court could find juvenile must register as sex offender

August 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Montgomery Circuit Court had subject matter jurisdiction to order a juvenile to register as a sex offender for 10 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Judges examine estate case involving will, self-proving clause

July 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Deciding on an issue of first impression regarding the proper execution of a person’s will, the state’s second-highest appeals court has determined the Indiana General Assembly doesn’t want validly signed wills and self-proving clauses to be set aside lightly.
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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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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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Judges split on stalking conviction

April 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Friday in reversing a man’s conviction of stalking. The decision hinged on their interpretations of the term “repeated” in Indiana’s anti-stalking laws.
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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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Appellate court affirms arbitration on claims against college

March 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
With one judge frustrated that Indiana residents and students may have been “hornswoggled” by a college’s advertisements about being accredited, the Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld an order compelling arbitration on a claim that three students were fraudulently induced to enroll because of misrepresentation about that accreditation.
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Appeal questions 'enrollment,' self-supporting standards for emancipation

March 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
In tackling a child support case involving a teenager’s emancipation, Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagree on what state statute defines as “enrolled” in college. One judge believes the majority wrongly reweighed evidence in this case to come to its decision.
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Judges address first impression issue on attorney fees

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
For the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals addressed a contract that included a provision stating the signee is responsible for 40 percent in attorney fees if a hospital had to initiate collection efforts to recover amounts owed.
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COA: Juror bias should have been examined

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a surgeon accused of medical malpractice during a stem cell collection procedure in which the patient died, finding that the trial court didn’t follow protocol in examining a potential juror’s impartiality and deciding whether to strike that person from the jury pool.
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Judges order new PCR hearing on guilty plea issue

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in part the denial of a man’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief, holding the post-conviction court’s findings didn’t support its rejection of the man’s claim his plea was illusory or involuntary.
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COA: Man needed to submit claim under Wage Claims Statute

January 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An employee’s status at the time he or she files the claim is the relevant inquiry in determining whether he or she proceeds under the Wage Payment Statute or the Wage Claims Statute, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Judges uphold OWI conviction

January 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a man who was temporarily found incompetent was detained in a facility for a period longer than his sentence would have been if he was convicted of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of his motion to dismiss the charge.
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Court rules on artificial insemination issues

December 27, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals found that a man who donated sperm can be found to be the father of only one of the two children conceived by artificial insemination.
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Judges split on construction manager's duty to injured worker

December 14, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues’ majority holding, finding their ruling would “fundamentally alter contracts” dealing with safety on jobsites.
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Opinion regarding insurance company considers definition of ‘ever’

November 24, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel was split in an opinion released today that considered the definition of “ever” on a home insurance application when it came to whether the homeowners insurance coverage was ever “declined, cancelled, or non-renewed.”
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Court divides over injury claim under insurance policy

October 29, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a couple’s emotional distress claim constitutes “bodily injury” under their uninsured motorist coverage.
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Court affirms, denies challenge to DNA evidence, new mid-trial witness

October 6, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
The Court of Appeals today affirmed a man’s convictions and sentence for felony robbery despite his challenge to whether the trial court properly admitted DNA evidence and allowed the testimony of a witness discovered mid-trial.
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COA addresses inverse condemnation issues

August 20, 2010
Elizabeth Brockett
Inverse condemnation was the issue of the day for two Indiana Court of Appeals panels, with one case raising issues regarding fraudulent concealment and the statute of limitations.
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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