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Professor testifies about recusal

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
A professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommitee on Courts and Competition.Professor and judicial ethics expert Charles G. Geyh told the committee that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey serves as a wake-up call to state and federal courts to begin taking judicial disqualifications more seriously. Geyh gave a general outlook on judicial disqualification, noting the challenges in having sitting...
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Jefferson courts relocate, salvage documents

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Jefferson Superior and Circuit courts have relocated in Madison and are working to get their offices up and running to handle emergency matters. The courts were forced out of the Jefferson County Courthouse after a fire May 20. Circuit Court has moved to the Venture Out business center at 875 Industrial Dr. on the hill in Madison. Circuit Judge Ted Todd said the court is still trying to set up and is using folding tables and chairs until they can...
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Indiana Northern District judge dies

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp in the Northern District of Indiana died at his home Friday, ending more than 30 years on the federal bench. He was 77. A notice of his death was posted on the Northern District of Indiana's Web site Friday. Appointed to the federal bench Oct. 11, 1973, by President Richard Nixon, Judge Sharp took the bench that following month and served until taking senior status in November 2007. He was the fourth longest-serving active District judge in...
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COA: 'Serious deficiency' in treating mentally ill

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion today to highlight what it considered a "serious deficiency" in the statutes for the treatment of developmentally disabled and mentally ill people in the state's criminal courts. "Simply said, the Indiana statutory framework allows courts to recognize the mental illness of a criminal defendant only in terms of guilt for the crime alleged, rather than as a condition that prevents the defendant's ability to form a punishable intention to...
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BREAKING: COA says voter I.D. law unconstitutional

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's 4-year-old voter identification law is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. Finding that the statute regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial, a unanimous appellate panel has reversed and remanded a Marion Superior judge's decision and declared the statute void. The decision comes in League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40.This story will be updated.
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Justices: Attorneys must consult with clients

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended for three months a longtime attorney who prepared wills for clients without ever personally consulting with them.Issuing an order In the Matter of Paul J. Watts, No. 60S00-0809-DI-510, the justices ruled 4-1 that Spencer-based attorney Paul J. Watts, who's been practicing since 1974, should be suspended for 120 days starting Jan. 29, 2010. The order was posted online today and is dated Dec. 22.The case stems from a previous disciplinary action involving Bloomington attorney David...
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SCOTUS urged to not take Indiana case

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General's Office wants the nation's top jurists to reject a Hoosier case posing Fourth Amendment questions about police searches, valid search warrants, and probable cause.
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Judges reverse insurance double credit

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it issued a mother two health insurance credits instead of one, which led to a miscalculation of the child support owed between the parents, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In D.W. v. L.W., No. 20A04-0907-CV-375, father D.W. paid child support to his ex-wife L.W. for his three minor children, who lived with their mother. The mother paid nearly $57 a week in premiums for health insurance covering the three kids. One of the children...
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Judges disagree on intent issue in rape trial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed as to whether a defendant in a rape case put his intent at issue during trial by attempting to show his victim consented to sex with him.
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COA first court to join 'green' ABA program

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has been named as a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. The appellate court is the first court in the country to join the program.
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Judge questioned again for nomination

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
 U.S. District Chief Judge David F. Hamilton of Indianapolis appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon for a rare second hearing on his nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Lawmakers convened the second nomination hearing following complaints from Republican senators in early April about a lack of preparation time for the first hearing, which happened April 1. That hearing was just days before the Senate's two-week break before Easter, and Hamilton answered questions before senators about his 14 years...
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BREAKING: Senate Judiciary delays nomination vote

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed voting on the nomination of U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals because some senators are concerned about the Indianapolis jurist's record on the bench. Senators agreed during an executive business meeting this morning to hold over the nomination vote to the next meeting, which hasn't yet been set. Committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said the delay was because the new ranking Republican committee member, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,...
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SCOTUS: Lab techs must testify

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A decision today from the Supreme Court of the United States will have an immediate impact on Indiana, where state justices are considering at least two cases about whether lab technicians who've tested evidence in a case must appear on the stand.
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Merit-selection override a possibility

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's top executive has rejected the idea of scrapping merit selection in St. Joseph County, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will attempt to override that veto during a special session.On the final day he had to take action, Gov. Mitch Daniels used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected House Enrolled Act 1491, which called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges for six-year terms. It also called for the creation of...
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President picks prosecutor for Northern District

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The veteran federal prosecutor who's filled in three times as interim chief has been chosen for the permanent role as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the White House announced this morning. David Capp, who's been a federal prosecutor for 24 years, has been the acting U.S. Attorney in the Northern District since July 2007, filling the spot after Joseph Van Bokkelen's confirmation to the District Court. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh nominated Capp for the job from several...
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Hoosiers see holiday activity on nominations

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's legal community got a mixed bag of gifts on Christmas Eve, as one former Hoosier attorney received Senate confirmation for an ambassadorship, a federal prosecutor in Hammond learned he might be promoted, and a Bloomington law professor got what amounts to a lump of coal as senators declined to act on her nearly year-old nomination.The flurry of activity started late Dec. 23 and carried over into Christmas Eve, with Sen. Evan Bayh announcing first that David Capp would be the...
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U.S. judge sanctions Indianapolis law firm

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has sanctioned an Indianapolis law firm that employed a few attorneys he says helped abuse the discovery process, failed to correct misleading or false statements made by its client, and didn't properly turn over to the court or opposing counsel key documents relating to an environmental contamination case out of Southern Indiana.In a 66-page order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana determined that Bose McKinney & Evans should be sanctioned for...
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COA: Man didn't waive right to appeal sentence

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court may have made confusing remarks at a man's guilty plea hearing indicating he "may" have waived the right to appeal, only to later inform him of his right to appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the defendant hadn't waived that right to appeal. The appellate court did affirm the defendant's 30-year advisory sentence for dealing in cocaine, finding he failed to prove it was inappropriate. In Luis Ruiz Bonilla v. State of Indiana, No. 20A05-0902-CR-85, the...
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Update: Bose McKinney cuts lawyers, paralegals

January 1, 2009
Elizabeth Brockett
The fifth largest Indianapolis law firm is laying off 10 attorneys, two paralegals, and 13 support staff because of the tumultuous economy.Bose McKinney & Evans managing partner Ken Crook, who announced the layoffs today, told Indiana Lawyer that all the cuts were in the downtown Indianapolis office. The layoffs affected employees in the litigation, business, real estate, and intellectual property practice groups. Crook said the recession continues to affect the firm's clients and therefore certain practices within the firm. He added,...
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UPDATE: Court suspends indicted judge

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court released an order this afternoon suspending LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe following her indictment on a charge of felony attempted obstruction of justice. Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A), the high court shall suspend a judge with pay if he or she is indicted on a felony charge. The suspension takes effect at midnight May 11 and will continue until further order of the court. As a result of Judge Koethe's suspension, the Supreme Court...
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Judge's nomination vote set - again

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
  The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote June 4 on U.S. Judge David Hamilton's nomination for the 7th Court of Appeals. The panel had postponed the vote originally planned for May 21 to give some members more time to review the judge's record. An agenda shows the executive business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and be webcast live.
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Former Justice Richard Givan has died

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Richard Givan has died, according to a news release from the court. He was 88. Justice Givan was elected to the court in 1968 and served continuously until his retirement in December 1994. He served as chief justice from November 1974 to March 1987. He received an LL.B. from Indiana University in 1951 and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1952. A fourth generation lawyer, his great-grandfather, Noah S. Givan, was a circuit...
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Court sanctions Indianapolis attorney

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis attorney has received a public reprimand in the third and final leg of a yearlong disciplinary triangle, which has led to a Marion Superior judge's suspension and a commissioner's resignation and banishment from the bench.
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Governor: merit-selection 'is not broken'

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels has vetoed legislation that would have ended merit-selection of St. Joseph Superior judges and instead made them run for office in non-partisan elections and create a new three-judge panel for the Indiana Court of Appeals. On the deadline for action on House Enrolled Act 1491, the governor late this afternoon used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected it. The legislation would have called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges...
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Justices to hear compulsive gambling case

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases Thursday, including a suit in which a woman claims a casino took advantage of her gambling addiction. Arguments begin at 9 a.m. in Caesars Riverboat Casino LLC v. Genevieve Kephart, No. 31S01-0909-CV-303. Caesars originally filed a suit against Genevieve Kephart after she failed to repay a gambling debt. The casino sought repayment, treble damages, and attorney fees. But Kephart counterclaimed, arguing the casino unjustly enriched itself because it knew she had...
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