Latest News

7th Circuit overrules decades-old precedent, orders more proceedings on benefits case

August 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal by a federal judge of a woman’s petition for judicial review of the decision to deny rehearing her request for Social Security disability benefits. In doing so, the judges overruled a 1980 7th Circuit decision with similar facts.

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Supreme Court denies blogger’s petition for rehearing

August 5, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will not reconsider its decision affirming Daniel Brewington’s intimidation convictions, which arose from inflammatory posts on a blog that threatened a judge.
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Judges reverse 8 forgery convictions based on fake ballot signatures

August 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A St. Joseph County man charged with multiple counts of forgery after falsifying signatures on an election ballot petition for Barack Obama in 2008 was not prejudiced when the state was allowed to amend the charging information at the end of his trial. But, the Indiana Court of Appeals held the evidence only supports convicting him of one count of forgery, not nine.
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Ex-US Attorney Hogsett eyes Indy mayoral run

August 5, 2014
 Associated Press
Former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett says he's considering a 2015 run for mayor of Indianapolis.
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First responders support gay marriage in Indiana

August 5, 2014
 Associated Press
Dozens of Indiana firefighters, police officers and emergency medical workers say a federal appeals court should uphold same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin for the sake of the families of gay first responders, a spokeswoman said Monday.
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Plea deal rejected for ex-Indiana county auditor

August 5, 2014
 Associated Press
Lawyers are reworking an agreement under which a former county auditor in southern Indiana was expected to plead guilty to criminal charges of wrongly paying personal expenses with county-issued credit cards.
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Death row inmate denied relief by 7th Circuit

August 4, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
An Arkansas man on death row in Indiana for killing a woman in Texas nearly 20 years ago was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that he should not be put to death. Bruce Carneil Webster argues he is mentally retarded and has new evidence that would affect his sentence.
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IU Maurer IP clinic joins select U.S. Patent Office pilot program

August 4, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The intellectual property clinical program, established earlier this year at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, has been certified for pro bono practice before the U.S. Patent Office.
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Indiana ethics cases find frustration in lack of disclosure

August 4, 2014
 Associated Press
The three major ethics cases involving Indiana officials this year have one thread that ties them together: frustration from ethics watchdogs over a lack of disclosure and transparency.
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Change to public employee annuities spurs exodus in Porter County

August 4, 2014
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A northwestern Indiana judge will lose a combined 67 years of experience this month when all three of his employees retire.
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Testimony properly authenticates video

August 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A video showing two brothers outside a home where a drug deal occurred was properly authenticated for trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Ex-officer says he was fired for whistle-blowing

August 1, 2014
 Associated Press
A former police officer and council member in an Ohio River city said in a federal lawsuit that he was fired for blowing the whistle on public corruption.
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Two promoted in state attorney general's office

August 1, 2014
 Associated Press
Former Chief Deputy Attorney General Gary Secrest will take over as assistant attorney general, a new post. Deputy Attorney General Matt Light will succeed Secrest as the chief deputy attorney general.
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District courts warn of new juror scam

August 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Once again, the federal courts are warning of a juror scam designed to trick unsuspecting people into giving their personal information.
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Minkler promoted to acting U.S. Attorney

August 1, 2014
IL Staff
Josh J. Minkler, 51, was named Friday to lead the federal prosecutor’s office for the Southern District of Indiana. As acting U.S. attorney, Minkler replaces former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, whose final day on the job was Thursday.
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State courts open bidding for e-filing manager

August 1, 2014
IL Staff
The Indiana Division of State Court Administration is soliciting competitive bids for a statewide electronic filing manager to assist with the coming requirement for electronic filing in trial courts.
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Distinguished Neutrals create Indiana chapter

August 1, 2014
IL Staff
The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals has launched an Indiana chapter with 17 attorneys and former judges as charter members.
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Opinions July 31, 2014 ILD

July 31, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals
Marlon D. McKnight v. State of Indiana (NFP)
20A03-1308-PC-333
Post conviction. Affirms denial of petition for post-conviction relief.

Tobin Pettiet v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1312-CR-510
Criminal. Affirms three-year sentence for pleading guilty to domestic battery, a Class D felony.

Joshua W. Sanford v. State of Indiana (NFP)
82A01-1312-CR-552
Criminal. Affirms conviction of theft, as a Class D felony.

Ronald Williams v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A03-1311-CR-451
Criminal. Affirms conviction of murder and executed sentence of 65 years.

Terry Lee Carr v. State of Indiana (NFP)
90A05-1311-CR-548
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class D felony theft.

Robert Hubbard v. State of Indiana (NFP)
02A05-1312-CR-622
Criminal. Affirms six-year aggregate sentence for pleading guilty to Class D felony residential entry and Class D felony invasion of privacy and status as a habitual offender.

Justin Stephens v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1312-CR-598
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication.  

Mark McCoy v. State of Indiana (NFP)
49A05-1310-CR-531
Criminal. Affirms convictions for three counts of child molesting, Class A felonies, and one count each for criminal confinement, intimidation, and child molesting, all Class C felonies.

The Indiana Supreme Court and Tax Court posted no opinions by IL deadline. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued no Indiana decisions by IL deadline.  
 
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Appeals panel: Trust’s real property bequeath by later writing invalid

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a mother’s specific gift of real property incorporated into trust documents was an invalid method of willing it to heirs.
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Absence of a plan foils development proposal

July 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A plan commission did not overstep its authority when it turned down a proposal to build a 300-unit apartment complex, in part, because the developer did not submit a preliminary plan for the project.
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Asset forfeiture dispute divides appeals panel

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An order transferring to the federal government money seized from a criminal defendant was deemed proper by the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday, though a dissenting judge said the defendant didn’t even know the order had been issued until nearly two years later.
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7th Circuit remands denial of request for crack cocaine sentence reduction

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for his role as a Gary gang member who sold large quantities of crack cocaine will have a new shot at a sentence modification, as will the judge who wrote that the defendant may have been linked to several gang-related murders.
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COA tosses in absentia conviction of Army private

July 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A 20-year-old U.S. Army private had his conviction for underage drinking overturned because Hendricks Superior Court denied his motion for a continuance and held the trial while he was deployed in Afghanistan.
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Former Marion Superior court administrator takes UIndy post

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
The former administrator of Marion Superior Courts has taken a key position directing the growth of the University of Indianapolis.
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Venue change granted for Indy house blast suspect

July 31, 2014
 Associated Press
A judge granted a change of venue Wednesday for the trial of one defendant in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion after prosecutors dropped their objection.
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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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