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Judges: Evidence proves scienter in fraud case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld fines against two men convicted of defrauding investors, finding a reasonable jury would have found them guilty of scienter even though the defendants didn't take the stand. In Thursday's ruling in United States Securities and Exchange Commission v. Melvin R. Lyttle and Paul E. Knight, Nos. 07-2466, 07-2467, Melvin Lyttle and Paul Knight appealed the $110,000 fines each got following a grant of summary judgment in favor of the SEC on a variety of...
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Justices affirm sentence in child torture case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
For the first time, the Indiana Supreme Court today affirmed a trial court's sentence of life without parole for a Lafayette mother who had pleaded guilty to torturing and killing her stepdaughter.In Michelle Gauvin v. State of Indiana, No. 79S00-0702-CR-65, the state's highest court ruled 4-1 in a direct appeal that Tippecanoe Superior Judge Thomas Busch correctly sentenced the Lafayette mother for murder, confinement, and neglect of her 4-year-old stepdaughter, Aiyana. The girl died from head trauma in March 2005 after months...
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Hammond to host appeals court arguments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels to Hammond April 7 to hear arguments in a case involving a dispute after the sale of real estate. Arguments begin at 10 a.m. CST in the Lake Superior Court, Civil Division No. 1 Courtroom, 232 Russell St., Hammond. In the case, Gladys E. Tobias v. Margaret and Thomas Mannella, No. 45A03-0708-CV-373, on appeal from Lake Superior Court, Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Margret Robb are asked to decide whether the trial court erred...
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Lawyers to debate police department control

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Marion County prosecutor's radio show, "Crime Beat," Sunday will address the current concern about whether Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, who took office earlier this month, or Sheriff Frank Anderson should directly manage the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.Anderson has overseen the IMPD since the merger of the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department Jan. 1, 2007, following an ordinance of the city-county council. Ballard has expressed the possibility of management of the police department going to the mayor...
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Applicants sought for $90,000 in grant funds

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The Heartland Pro Bono Council, which serves Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties in central Indiana, received a cy pres award of more than $65,000 late last year and the organization is looking to distribute the money in the upcoming months. That amount, along with other funds the HPBC has received in cy pres monies in recent years - totaling $90,000 - will be given in one grant or multiple grants sometime after June 5, 2008.Heartland is...
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Judge takes on death penalty decision

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
In the week ahead, an Evansville judge could be the first Hoosier jurist to hand down a death sentence since state law changed in 2002. Vanderburgh Circuit Judge Carl Heldt is scheduled to conduct a sentencing hearing Friday morning for Daniel Ray Wilkes, who jurors convicted last month on three counts of murder for the April 2006 slayings of an Evansville mother and her two daughters, ages 13 and 8.While they agreed on the guilt phase of the trial, jurors came...
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Law firm gives first pro bono award

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A recent graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington has been given the first Terry and Judy Albright Pro Bono and Public Interest Award. The law firm Baker & Daniels has sponsored the award in honor of the couple. Alex Kornya received the award for the significant work he's done in pro bono and public interest areas. Kornya served as a student advisor and co-director of the Protective Order Project and worked with other anti-domestic violence organizations. He also...
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Court rules on environmental cleanup case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the statute of limitations on a claim for contribution toward cleanup costs doesn't begin until the owner is ordered to clean up the property, regardless of whether the owner should have known about the contamination earlier. The issue in Richard U. Pflanz and Delores J. Pflanz v. Merrill Foster, individually, Merrill Foster d/b/a/ Friendly Foster's Service, and Sunoco Inc. (R&M),  No. 36S01-0710-CV-425, is when the 10-year statute of limitations began on a claim for...
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Suspended attorney gets 3 more months

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis attorney is getting one last warning from the Indiana Supreme Court before being suspended indefinitely from practicing law.Attorney Wilburn G. Lowry of Marion County received an additional 90 days on his suspension handed down nearly a year ago, with the court specifically noting in its Jan. 11, 2008, order that "any future suspension for failure to meet CLE or dues requirements shall result in an indefinite suspension."In the order In the Matter of Contempt of the Supreme Court of...
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Indy lawyer gets good news from China quake

January 1, 2008
The earthquake that devastated so much of southwestern China this month hit close to home for Baker & Daniels attorney Calvin Ding. Ding, who focuses on international law, has a 9-year-old cousin who was in a school leveled by the 8.0-magnitude quake. The school was in Dujiangyan, a city near the epicenter in Sichuan province. Ding got a call last week to inform him that, aside from scrapes and bruises, the girl was OK. Yin Ding managed to crawl out of...
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Test run for SCOTUS arguments

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana case goes up to the U.S. Supreme Court in the final week of March to determine whether a man who's been found competent to stand trial is competent to represent himself in those court proceedings.Before that happens, though, the defense team representing the Indianapolis man is at the University of Illinois College of Law in Chicago getting a test run today in a mock argument of Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208, which will go before the nation's highest court...
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Magistrate up for nomination vote

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Thursday morning on whether a federal magistrate in Indianapolis should be elevated to district judge for the Southern District of Indiana.A nomination vote for Magistrate William Lawrence is on the committee's agenda for the 10 a.m. meeting. The Indianapolis magistrate, who's been on the bench since 2002, went before the Senate committee in early May for his confirmation hearing. The president had selected him in February for the seat.If affirmed by the...
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Settlement may be largest of its kind: State agency resolves federal lawsuit that began with legal malpractice claim

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis law firm has been holding its breath for two years. Ever since getting hit with a potentially devastating $17.9 million jury verdict on a legal malpractice claim in state court, the 45-year-old law firm Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe hasn't been able to put the focus on its daily client business without acknowledging that dark storm cloud hovering overhead. Now, the storm cloud has dissolved. In what may be the state's largest-ever liquidation return of its kind, the Indiana...
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Committee approves Great Lakes bill

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Senate's Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee Wednesday unanimously approved Senate Bill 45, which endorses Indiana's involvement with the Great Lakes Compact.The compact would help determine across-the-board regulations of the use and security of valuable waterways that make up 20 percent of the world's fresh water sources. It would include eight states that border the Great Lakes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Currently, each state has its own regulations.The waterways were...
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Indiana has voice in Second Amendment case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
For the first time in 70 years, the U.S. Supreme Court is testing the scope of the Second Amendment and could decide what "the right to keep and bear arms" means for the 21st century.Justices will consider the question Tuesday morning in District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290, which involves a citizen's challenge to a Washington, D.C., law banning him from keeping a handgun in his home.At issue is to what extent the gun rights amendment to the Constitution applies to...
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Judicial nominees submitted to governor

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The St. Joseph Superior Court Judicial Nomination Commission submitted five names today to Gov. Mitch Daniels to fill an upcoming vacancy after St. Joseph Superior Judge William T. Means retires Sept. 30.
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Federal magistrate faces Senate committee

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal magistrate nominated to become a Southern District of Indiana judge went before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday afternoon.Magistrate William Lawrence from Indianapolis faced committee members in Washington, D.C., to discuss why he should be promoted within the federal court's ranks. President George W. Bush selected him in February to succeed Judge John D. Tinder, whom the Senate confirmed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Magistrate Lawrence was appointed in November 2002 but had worked at...
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Law firms strut their mutts, names

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A handful of law firms made their way to the Indianapolis Humane Society's annual Mutt Strut on Sunday, showing off some clever team names and getting some exercise with their pets.Unofficial figures show that about 4,000 pet owners came to the 2008 event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including seven teams from Indianapolis law firms. Those firms were:•Baker & Daniels - Baker's Dozen•Barnes & Thornburg - Barnes & Terrier•Bingham McHale - Bingham Bulldogs•Findling Garau Germano & Pennington - The Tails of...
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Justices split on rental restriction case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
In a ruling that could be the first of its kind in the nation, a divided Indiana Supreme Court Thursday afternoon reversed a lower court's ruling that a Kokomo subdivision's covenant restricting rentals violated the federal Fair Housing Act because of potential racial implications.The state's highest court has been quiet on the issue since hearing arguments in October 2006, but it simultaneously decided to grant transfer and issue an opinion in the case of Villas West II of Willowridge v. Edna...
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SCOTUS hears pro se competency case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments this morning in its third Indiana case in the past six months, pondering whether defendants found competent to stand trial maintain a right to represent themselves.In its first case of the morning at 10 a.m., justices took on Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208, delving into what the Sixth Amendment dictates regarding competency standards for pro se litigants. Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher argued for the state and shared his time...
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COA travels to Muncie, Oakland City

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will make stops this week in Muncie and Oakland City to hear arguments in a public intoxication appeal and a negligence suit.On Tuesday, the appellate court visits Pruis Hall at Ball State University to hear arguments in Melissa Christian v. State, 49A02-0803-CR-272, in which Melissa Christian is appealing her Class B misdemeanor public intoxication conviction. She argues that because she was found by police in a parking area adjacent to a private residence, there is insufficient...
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Court affirms probation revocation

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the revocation of a man's probation and imposition of a 12-year sentence for his probation violation even though the trial court erred in not allowing him to explain why he missed his mandatory drug screenings. In Brian Woods v. State of Indiana, No.49S04-0808-CR-469, the court examined the concept and implications of a "strict compliance" probation, which Woods was on after previously failing to make mandatory drug screenings. The trial court warned him that if he violated his...
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Justices: Arrest was valid

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has reversed a Marion County judge's ruling that officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department don't have arresting authority because they didn't take an official oath following a merger.A unanimous ruling came today in State v. Cheryl Oddi-Smith, 49S00-0710-CR-396, which stems from Marion Superior Judge Rueben Hill's decision involving a three-car accident and subsequent drunk driving arrest a year ago. He ruled that Oddi-Smith's arrest was illegal because the arresting officer was not sworn in after the Jan....
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Justices rule on 'workplace bullying' case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The phrase "workplace bully" was applicable to a plaintiff's claims of assault and is an entirely appropriate consideration in determining issues before a jury, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court April 8. However, the court did not define in the opinion what makes a "workplace bully." The majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices affirmed the trial court jury verdict of $325,000 and judgment on a claim for assault against a surgeon.In Daniel H. Raess, M.D., v. Joseph E. Doescher, No. 49S02-0710-CV-424, Dr. Raess...
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Circuit examines ministerial exception

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two former administrators of Salvation Army thrift stores in Indianapolis are appealing their lawsuit against the non-profit organization on grounds that they were wrongly denied overtime pay in violation of a federal labor law.But at issue in their federal case is whether they're classified as "employees" and whether a religious freedom exception barring courts from getting involved in church management can be applied to their employment law claims.The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Wednesday in Steve and Lorrie Schleicher...
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