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Lengthy gun sentence affirmed in 2011 hotel standoff

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal prison sentence of more than 33 years was upheld Monday for a career criminal convicted of leading police on a chase, assaulting an officer until he lost consciousness and staging an armed, four-hour standoff at an Indianapolis hotel in August 2011.
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Appeals panel voids gun conviction, cuts child porn sentence

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man sentenced to 11 years in prison for possession of child pornography and a felony gun charge had his most serious conviction vacated and his sentence reduced to no more than four years.
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Court rules county may re-establish hospital building fund

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Jasper County was improperly denied the ability to establish a cumulative building fund and tax levy to enlarge and remodel a hospital, the Indiana Tax Court ruled.
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7th Circuit orders resentencing, muses ‘wine speaks truth’ in felon gun case

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart felon’s defense that he was drunk at the time he told police that guns they confiscated from his girlfriend’s apartment belonged to him failed to sway the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which did find another error and order him to be resentenced.
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Lawyer who emailed nude film clip to harm ex-intern suspended 3 years

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis attorney Arthur J. Usher IV’s rejected romantic advances toward a summer intern led him to have his paralegal email more than 50 attorneys a video clip purporting to depict the former intern nude in a film, according to the Indiana Supreme Court. Usher’s bid to discredit and humiliate her while she was seeking employment resulted in a three-year suspension on Friday.
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Judges restate: no guns in City-County Building

May 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 2007 order banning guns and weapons from the Indianapolis City-County Building that houses most of Marion County’s Circuit and Superior courts remains in force despite questions raised after the Indiana Legislature widely voided local gun regulations.
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Class A felony sentences not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B)

May 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Two convicted child molesters will spend more time incarcerated after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled their sentences were not inappropriate under Appellate Rule 7(B).
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Justices block Schiralli’s Lake County bench transfer

May 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court blocked the transfer of a judge who sought to replace former Lake Superior Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura after her appointment to head the Department of Child Services.
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Bailiff’s communication with juror leads to reversal of convictions

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The bailiff at a man’s trial for criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement improperly communicated with the jury foreperson regarding reaching a verdict, leading the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse Jason Lee Sowers’ convictions.
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COA: Man knowingly pleaded guilty to fraud charge

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court correctly denied relief to a man on his felony fraud conviction after determining that his felony failure to register conviction should be vacated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Anthony McCullough pleaded guilty to the separate charges in one agreement.
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Indianapolis law firm Stewart & Irwin closing

May 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis law firm with a broad range of representation and diverse clientele plans to close its doors after more than 90 years.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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US Chief Justice Roberts to speak at LaPorte alma mater

May 15, 2013
IL Staff
United States Chief Justice John G. Roberts will find himself in a familiar place later this month when he delivers the commencement speech at La Lumiere School in LaPorte. Roberts is a 1973 graduate of the school.
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Court reform grant applications due July 1

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Courts that would like financial help to implement recommended improvements have until July 1 to apply for grants from the Division of State Court Administration.
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Justices rule in favor of Vincennes Girl Scouts in dispute over camp

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 32-17-10-2 is unconstitutional as applied retroactively to a land-use restriction in a Vincennes Girl Scout organization’s deed requiring an Illinois Girl Scout group to use deeded land as a camp for 49 years.
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Convenience stores sue to be able to sell cold beer

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association has filed a complaint in federal court challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer. Convenience stores, pharmacies and groceries are unable to sell cold beer under current law.
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Justices: Punitive damages cap, allocation do not violate Indiana Constitution

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Marion Superior judge’s 2011 decision in a sex-abuse case that held the statutes that cap punitive damages and dictate their allocation violate the Indiana Constitution.
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Father’s testimony at molestation trial not fundamental error

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Lake County man’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting, rejecting the defendant’s claims that some of the victim’s father’s testimony at trial resulted in fundamental error.
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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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Carr’s formal swearing in as bankruptcy judge Tuesday

May 14, 2013
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will hold the investiture ceremony for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James M. Carr Tuesday at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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Justices take commitment case involving man with Alzheimer’s disease

May 13, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will take a case that divided the Court of Appeals: whether a trial court is required to have a man with Alzheimer’s disease committed once an incompetency finding is made.
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Governor signs JTAC, workers’ comp bills into law

May 13, 2013
IL Staff
The Division of State Court Administration’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee will see a temporary boost in funding for its Odyssey case management system under a new law signed by Gov. Mike Pence.
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Former Marion County deputy prosecutor agrees to plead guilty to bribery

May 13, 2013
Cory Schouten
The top deputy under former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge for his role in the early release of a woman convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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