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COA travels to Lafayette, IU campuses

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will visit three Indiana colleges April 8 and 9 to hear arguments in cases regarding child molestation, defamatory statements, and ineffective counsel.Judges will visit Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette Tuesday to hear arguments regarding a case on appeal from Lake Superior Court. Arguments for Victor Vega Torres v. State of Indiana, 45A03-0708-CR-385, begin at 10 a.m. in Ivy Hall. Judges Ezra Friedlander, Margret Robb, and Cale Bradford will have to decide whether Torres' maximum sentence of eight years...
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Jury undecided so judge orders death

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Evansville judge has handed down the first death sentence since Indiana lawmakers changed the jury's role six years ago. The sentence also is likely the first execution order resulting from a penalty-phase hung jury since 1993.The execution of Daniel Ray Wilkes is set for Jan. 25, 2009, but that will likely be delayed for years by appeals and could have potential to reach the Supreme Court of the United States as an issue of first impression about whether a death...
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Firm launches nanotechnology practice group

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indianapolis law firm Barnes & Thornburg has established what the firm believes is the first nanotechnology practice group in Indiana. The firm started the practice group in anticipation of the impact of nanotechnology upon society, business, and industry in the near future. Nanotechnology refers to a field of applied science and technology relating to the control of matter on the atomic or molecular scale. The technology's applications enter many fields including biotechnology, electrical engineering, and environmental.The practice group is co-chaired by...
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Judge strikes down new obscene-material law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
On the day a new Indiana law was set to take effect, U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker struck it down as being unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and a violation of the First Amendment.The 31-page ruling was issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, this afternoon in Big Hat Books, et al. v. Prosecutors, 1:08-CV-00596, a challenge to House Enrolled Act 1042 that would have required any person or organization wanting to sell literature or other material...
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Justices again deny election request

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied for the second time in two months a request to get involved in a Terre Haute mayoral election dispute.The justices sent notice Tuesday to attorneys that they won't bypass the Court of Appeals on a dispute resulting from the November election, when Republican Duke Bennett ousted incumbent Democrat Mayor Kevin Burke by about 110 votes.The court had previously decided not to get involved in an issue about whether Vigo Superior Judge David Bolk had jurisdiction...
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COA affirms jail phone commissions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
After years of litigation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that the Marion County Sheriff and the Indiana Department of Administration were allowed to enter into contracts with a phone company that provided commissions to the sheriff and IDOA on phone calls made from the jail and prison facilities. In Chanelle Linet Alexander, et al. v. The Marion County Sheriff and the Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Administration, No. 49A02-0708-CV-716, the plaintiffs are a class of people who have been...
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Justices overturn judgment in trampoline case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression involving a trampoline, premises liability, and the attractive-nuisance doctrine, the Indiana Supreme Court today overturned summary judgment that originally had been in favor of the trampoline owners, citing material issues of facts in the case. The high court granted transfer in Beth Palmer Kopczynski, individually and as next friend and parent of Alisha Palmer, and Alisha Palmer v. David Bryan Barger and Peggy Lucas Barger, No. 88S05-0710-CV-423, to determine whether the Bargers were responsible for an...
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Justices asked to take legal malpractice case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is being asked to take a legal malpractice case in which an Indianapolis law firm got hit with an $18 million verdict two years ago.Attorneys representing law firm Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe filed a petition for transfer with the state's highest court Monday in Frederick W. Dennerline III, et al. v. Jim Atterholt, Insurance Commissioner of the State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0610-CV-557. This move comes following the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling in May that upheld the...
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Clark Circuit judge appointed

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Abraham Navarro will succeed Judge Daniel F. Donahue as judge of the Clark Circuit Court. Judge Donahue is stepping down later this week. Navarro has served as a deputy prosecutor in the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office since 2002. Prior to working in the prosecutor's office, Navarro was an Allen Superior Court judicial law clerk from 2001 to 2002. Navarro was admitted to the bar in November 2002. He's a member of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Indiana Criminal Justice...
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COA: Totality of facts support blood seizure

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A blood sample seized by the state from an unconscious woman didn't violate her rights under the Fourth Amendment because all of the circumstances surrounding the car accident involving the woman led to a fair probability she drove a car while drunk, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.In Samara J. Copas v. State of Indiana, No. 33A01-0801-CR-3, Samara Copas appealed the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress a blood sample taken by the state after obtaining a search warrant. Copas...
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Hammond legal aid clinic relocates

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The legal aid clinic for the city of Hammond has moved just one mile away from its old home into a new space donated by law firm Rubino Ruman Crosmer Smith Sersic & Polen in Dyer.The clinic moved between Christmas and New Year's.Lawyers who do work for the city or are on contract with the city are required to give hours to the clinic. The firm had lawyers who could be called on to help, which is how the idea came...
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Courthouse preservation bill, others now law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Bills relating to a courthouse preservation advisory commission, inmate issues, probate, foreclosure notices, domestic violence, and invasion of privacy concerns have been signed into law in the last week.Among the bills that are of interest to the legal community are:SEA 78, regarding probate and trust matters, signed today; HEA 1379, regarding viatical settlements, signed today; SEA 227, regarding the renamed sexual assault victim advocate standards and certification board, signed today; SEA 62, regarding posting notice of foreclosure sales, signed today; SEA...
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Allen County judge faces misconduct charges

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Allen County judge is facing disciplinary charges for what is being described as misconduct in a fellow jurist's courtroom that involved verbally berating members of a defendant's family after a sentencing hearing.Allen Superior Judge Kenneth R. Scheibenberger has been charged by the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications with four counts of misconduct, filed Tuesday as a formal notice of disciplinary proceedings. The document can be viewed here.The filed complaint states that on Nov. 30, 2007, Judge Scheibenberger suspended his court...
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Appeals court affirms murder convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and the finding that he is a habitual offender. In Charles D. Boney v. State of Indiana, No. 22A01-0607-CR-310, Boney was connected to the murder of Kim Camm and her two children at home by her husband, David. Boney provided the weapon David used to murder his family and was at the Camm's home when the murder occurred. Boney raised several issues on appeal following his jury...
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Court reverses Pelley convictions

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the murder convictions of a Lakeville man accused of murdering his family almost 20 years ago as a teenager.But in doing so, the three-judge panel all but directly asked the Indiana Supreme Court to take on this issue of first impression and clarify an earlier ruling justices made. That ruling specifically refused to dismiss the case on Robert Pelley's argument that a delay between charging and trial dates conflicted with his due process of...
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SCOTUS denies 2 Indiana cases

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take two Indiana cases, including one that inspired the law requiring child molesters to register their addresses on a public database.In a list of certiorari denials released May 12, the nation's high court announced it wouldn't review the Hoosier cases Christopher Stevens v. Ed Buss, No. 07-7745, and Christopher J. Stephens v. Indiana, No. 07-9858. Both had been reviewed at the court's private conference last week.Stevens is the case that inspired Zachary's Law. He...
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Lawrence sworn in as District Judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Just days after being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Judge William T. Lawrence took the oath Tuesday to become a judge in the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana. Chief Judge David F. Hamilton administered the oath in Judge Lawrence's courtroom in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis.Judge Lawrence had served as a United States Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Indiana since November 2002, and is the first magistrate judge in the...
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Circuit Court finds no age discrimination

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A doctor whose job was terminated as part of hospital restructuring didn't provide enough evidence to show he was let go based on his age, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today. In Laverne Tubergen v. St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, Inc., No. 06-4304, Dr. Tubergen filed a discrimination complaint against St. Vincent under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. In an effort to streamline its operations and become more efficient, the hospital hired James Houser as...
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Mass. chief justice to speak at law school

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court Lecture, "Anatomy of Freedom: John Adams on a Global Scale," will feature as speaker the first female chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The lecture begins at 5 p.m. March 25 at the Wynne Courtroom at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. Margaret H. Marshall was appointed chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1999. Originally from South Africa, she came to the U.S. to pursue her master's degree at Harvard...
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State trumps local red-light camera ordinances

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Cities and towns that want to use red-light cameras to catch traffic violators can't adopt an ordinance to implement the cameras because current laws allow only the state to regulate moving traffic violations, Attorney General Steve Carter said.Carter issued an official opinion Friday regarding whether a municipality can adopt an ordinance to use red-light cameras to determine whether a driver has violated traffic laws. Carter issued the opinion in response to an inquiry from Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary. The city of...
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COA: primary before true excess policies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana's "Lease Statute" can't be used to determine the priority of insurance coverage between a primary insurance policy and true excess policies, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today in a case of first impression. Old Republic Insurance appealed the trial court's decision in Old Republic Insurance Co. v. RLI Insurance Co., et al., No. 49A04-0709-CV-523, which determined Old Republic's policy had higher priority over other excess policies and that the Lease Statute didn't allow for ranking different types of insurance policies....
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Court: Girlfriend could consent to search

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's conviction of possession of ammunition by a felon, finding the defendant's girlfriend had the authority to consent to a search of the apartment by police when the defendant was not present. In United States of America v. Daniel Groves Sr., No. 07-1217, the Circuit Court had to determine whether Daniel Groves' girlfriend, Shaunta Foster, could allow police to search their apartment without a warrant in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court case,...
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Suit challenges new sexually explicit retailer law

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Several Indiana arts and publishing organizations have joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana in a suit challenging the state's new law that requires sellers of sexually explicit material to register and pay a fee to the state. The ACLU of Indiana, along with the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association, Freedom to Read Association, Big Hat Books, Indianapolis Museum of Art, and other groups, yesterday filed the suit, Big Hat Books, Boxcar Books and Community Center Inc., et al....
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Attorney chairs women's health campaign

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A northern Indiana attorney wants to make sure women in her community are aware of the No. 1 killer of American women - heart disease. Along with several organizations, Dana Leon is chairing the Heart Truth campaign of Kosciusko County. Leon, a partner at Warsaw law firm Rockhill Pinnick, became involved with the Heart Truth campaign through her participating Tri-Kappa sorority. The sorority was approached by the county's community foundation to help stage an event for women's health in the community....
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Justices address parental discipline

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A mother who spanked her 11-year-old son with a belt or extension cord didn't cross the line between parental discipline and abuse, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.In its 4-1 decision late Tuesday in Sophia Willis v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-0707-CR-295, the state's high court established a bright-line rule on parental discipline privilege that it hasn't addressed since the adoption of the Indiana Criminal Code.Sophia Willis was charged and convicted of battery as a Class D felony for spanking her...
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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