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Renovation bids open for Vanderburgh County courthouse

January 21, 2015
 Associated Press
Vanderburgh County officials have begun reviewing bids for the renovation of the third floor at the 126-year-old courthouse in downtown Evansville.
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House committee to hear magistrate bills

January 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Bills that would provide magistrates for three circuit courts in Southern Indiana are scheduled to be considered Jan. 21 by the Indiana House of Representatives Courts and Criminal Code Committee.
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Court of Appeals modifying opinion and order format

January 20, 2015
IL Staff
Beginning Monday, opinions and orders issue from the Indiana Court of Appeals will look different.
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Woman loses claim for additional retroactive retirement benefits

January 20, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A retired teacher is not entitled to an additional six months of retroactive retirement benefits from the Indiana Public Retirement System, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. Indiana law limits an INPRS member to only six months of retroactive retirement benefits.
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US Supreme Court rules for bearded Muslim inmate

January 20, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court is siding with a Muslim prison inmate in Arkansas who sued for the right to grow a short beard for religious reasons.
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Meijer tax ruling may reverberate statewide

January 20, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, Kathleen McLaughlin
Big-box retailers could see their Indiana property-tax bills slashed in half because of a recent court decision that favored Meijer over Marion County.
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Chicago law professor to give Valpo’s MLK lecture

January 19, 2015
IL Staff
A DePaul University College of Law professor, well-known as a scholar in the areas of employment and labor law and voting rights, will be the featured speaker at Valparaiso University Law School’s Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture Thursday.
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ILAS annual fundraising campaign nearing goal

January 19, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indianapolis Legal Aid Society is making a final push in its 2014 holiday dollar campaign, hoping to entice late donors and surpass the record amount donated during the 2013 effort.
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Lawyers sought for Lung Association stair climb benefit

January 19, 2015
Dave Stafford
The central Indiana legal community hopes to reach new fundraising heights in the fifth annual American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb Law Firm Challenge.
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US Supreme Court sets stage for historic gay rights ruling

January 19, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court is getting back in the marriage business. The justices agreed Friday to decide a major civil rights question: whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.
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Pence's $51M prison expansion proposal met by skepticism

January 19, 2015
 Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence's proposal for expanding two state prisons is drawing skepticism from some legislative leaders as it comes just months after Indiana's criminal sentencing laws changed in part to reduce the need for more prison space.
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Defendant in deadly Indiana explosion agrees to plea deal

January 19, 2015
 Associated Press
One of three people charged in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion has reached a plea agreement, prosecutors said Friday — something an outside defense attorney said could mean a stronger case against the other two.
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Service of process fees increase under proposal in Senate

January 19, 2015
Dave Stafford
Fees sheriffs collect to serve parties in civil lawsuits would nearly double under a bill that cleared a Senate panel last week.
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Strong smell of marijuana makes strip search justified

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the man was arrested for a misdemeanor, the strong odor of marijuana that engulfed him gave law enforcement officers justification to conduct a strip search and did not violate his constitutional rights.
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Justices toss attempted murder conviction due to jury instruction

January 16, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Anderson gang member convicted of attempted murder will get a new trial after the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the judgment because jurors received erroneous instructions.
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14-year-old Indianapolis firm recreates itself with addition of name partner

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Hoover Hull founding partners John David Hoover and Andrew Hull, along with Wayne Turner, former chair of the litigation group at Bingham Greenebaum Doll, announced Friday that they are creating a new law firm focused on business litigation.
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Regional mock trial and moot court competitions need volunteer judges

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Volunteers are needed to serve as judges for the moot court and mock trial competitions to be held as part of the Midwest Black Law Students Association’s conference next month in Indianapolis.
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Nativity lawsuit brings new county ordinance

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a “public forum ordinance” this week in response to the ongoing lawsuit over a nativity scene displayed on the county’s courthouse lawn during the holiday season.
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Appeals panel affirms CHINS adjudication

January 16, 2015
Dave Stafford
Two children were properly adjudicated in need of services, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded in affirming a trial court.
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Federal courts warn of threatening jury duty scam calls

January 16, 2015
IL Staff
Federal courts are warning residents of scam phone calls threatening prosecution for failure to comply with jury service, according to an alert released Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Justices uphold convictions in second trial after partial deadlock

January 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday upheld the convictions of a man involved in a fatal drunken-driving crash. The defendant was retried on all charges after a jury convicted him on some counts and deadlocked on others.
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$1.8M verdict against Walgreen for pharmacist’s data breach stands

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected Thursday several claims raised by Walgreen Co. on rehearing, holding that the company and its pharmacists are liable for damages sustained by the plaintiff after the pharmacist divulged her prescription records to a third party.
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Counsel’s ‘risky’ trial strategy is not considered ineffective

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial attorney who decided to pursue a trial strategy in a theft case that did not request a jury instruction on the lesser-include offense of criminal conversion did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA reverses sentence based on a ‘suspect enhancement’

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a judge was clearly influenced by a jury’s not-guilty decision on another drug charge when he sentenced a defendant for cocaine possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the man’s sentence reduced.
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Full 7th Circuit declines to rehear right-to-work appeal

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An even split among all of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges as to whether to rehear an appeal challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law means that its previous affirmation of the law will stand.
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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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