Justices/Judges

Indiana courts contemplate response to potential juror apathyRestricted Content

August 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Kelly Scanlan can’t understand why people don’t want to serve on juries or why some don’t even respond to questionnaires and show up when called.
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Appeals court: Federal judge should decide on state law claims

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has sent a case back to an Indianapolis judge, saying she didn’t properly weigh whether the case should be prolonged on remand to Hamilton Superior Court instead of her deciding on the issues that have already been fleshed out in federal court during the past year and a half.
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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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Judge reduces death sentences to life without parole

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
If he’d had the ability more than three years ago to factor in a jury’s deadlocked view on the death penalty, a southern Indiana judge says he would have imposed life without parole rather than the death penalty for a man convicted of triple murder.
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Judge: Students’ off-campus Internet photos protected by First Amendment

August 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has ruled that a northern Indiana school district shouldn’t have disciplined two high school girls who posted racy online photos of themselves posing with phallic lollipops and simulating sexual acts because the pictures were outside of school and are protected by the First Amendment.
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South Bend attorney to investigate allegations of misconduct in Northern District

August 11, 2011
IL Staff
South Bend attorney Joseph D. Bradley has been appointed by Chief Judge Philip P. Simon to serve as special counsel to investigate allegations of attorney misconduct that are pending before the Attorney Grievance Committee for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Judges won’t revisit associational standing issue on same case

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Finding it had already ruled on an associational standing question six years ago in the same case, the Indiana Court of Appeals has denied an electric utility's attempt to re-litigate that issue based on the law-of-the-case doctrine.
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COA: Suit against sewer district isn’t a public lawsuit

August 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Spencer Circuit Court erred in finding a lawsuit filed by property owners challenging the requirement they connect to a new sewer system is a public lawsuit and the property owners must pay $9 million in bond to proceed with the suit, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Court rules on duty of care for healthy trees in residential areas

August 9, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reiterated its stance that urban or residential area landowners have a duty to take reasonable precautions regarding their own trees, healthy or otherwise, and make sure they don’t harm a neighbor’s property based on the size and where they are planted.
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COA applies sports injury conduct rule

August 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Less than three months after the Indiana Supreme Court issued a decision about sports injury cases, the state’s intermediate appellate court is now applying the new rule regarding how liability should be determined.
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AG: DCS out-of-state placements shouldn’t be reviewable by courts

August 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana Supreme Court decision upholding three statutes relating to juvenile judges’ authority on out-of-state placement cases created what the state attorney general’s office calls too much confusion, and the justices should revisit the ruling it made a little more than a month ago.
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Judges order hearing on unemployment benefits

August 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A man, whose request for a continuance in a hearing regarding his unemployment benefits was denied by an administrative law judge, is entitled to a hearing on the matter, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Looking back on rulings

August 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Looking in the rearview mirror on judicial precedent is a task that every judge on every court faces.
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Former clerks recall a judge who gave support and kindness

August 3, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Hon. Robert H. Staton achieved many professional milestones in his lengthy career. But after his death on July 18, what people seemed to remember most about him was his enduring positive influence in their lives.
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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
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Longtime Kosciusko County judge dies

July 22, 2011
IL Staff
A former judge in Kosciusko County died Wednesday. Hon. C. Robert “Bob” Burner was 81.
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Former appellate court judge dies

July 21, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Hon. Robert H. Staton, who was an Indiana appeals court judge for nearly 30 years, died July 18. He was 86.
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7th Circuit finds remand to be unreviewable

July 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals looked at the issues of removal and remand in the context of bankruptcy in a case July 21 and found the bankruptcy court’s decision to remand a case to state court is unreviewable.
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Justices reduce sentence of man found asleep in office

July 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Four of the five Indiana Supreme Court justices decided that the man found asleep in the waiting room of a dental office – who had an empty handgun on him – should only be sentenced to 20 years for the crime instead of 40 years.
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Fight over judicial salaries raises separation of powers questionsRestricted Content

July 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Questions arise as to whether legislative or executive branch tinkering with judicial salaries interferes with the courts’ constitutional duties and infringes on judicial independence.
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Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.
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Judge: Man did not commit attempted child exploitation

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a man committed attempted child exploitation when he tried to take pictures up teenagers’ skirts at a mall using a camera attached to his shoe.
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Search didn't violate driver's rights

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The smell of burnt marijuana on a person alone may constitute probable cause to support an arrest and search incident to arrest, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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COA: Evidence supports dealing conviction

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s conviction of dealing in methamphetamine, finding that pill dough created while making the drug could be used to count toward the three grams needed to charge someone with Class A felony dealing.
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Judge blocks Medicaid fee cut to pharmacies

July 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has temporarily blocked the state from cutting the fees it pays to pharmacists for dispensing Medicaid prescriptions.
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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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