Latest News

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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Council confirms new chief defender

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
It's official: Marion County has a new chief public defender.The City-County Council voted Monday to approve Robert Hill Jr. as the county's top public defender, succeeding David E. Cook who left the office after 13 years to return to private practice.Hill, who has long ties to the agency and extensive experience in public defense, won the council's support by a 27-1 vote. Councilman Monroe Gray was the sole dissenter, and Jose Evans did not attend the meeting. The public defender's office...
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SCOTUS denies Evansville death penalty case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court won't review the case of an Evansville death row inmate who'd questioned the requirement he wear a stun belt during his eight-month capital trial for murdering three people in 1996.In a list of certiorari denials released today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced it wouldn't review John Stephenson v. Indiana, No. 07-8237. He'd filed a petition for review in December, and justices decided at a private conference April 11 not to take the case.The denial...
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COA: Court lacked personal jurisdiction

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's denial of a biological mother's motion to set aside an adoption decree because the court lacked personal jurisdiction over her and her due process rights were violated. In In the matter of the adoption of D.C.; H.R. v. R.C., No. 22A01-0709-CV-425, the appellate court ruled the adoptive mother, R.C., did not do everything she could to contact H.R., the biological mother, about R.C.'s petition to adopt D.C. R.C., who married D.C.'s biological father,...
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Judge grants injunction for judicial candidates

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
For the time being, Hoosier judicial candidates can't be sanctioned for answering a questionnaire about their views because of a federal judge's decision today.U.S. District Judge Theresa L. Springmann in Fort Wayne issued a preliminary injunction earlier this afternoon, stopping Indiana from enforcing rules that prohibit judicial candidates from responding to surveys on their views.The 36-page order came in Torrey Bauer et. al. v. Randall T. Shepard et al., No. 3:08-CV-196-TLS. The non-profit Indiana Right to Life Committee filed the suit...
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IBF seeks nominations, scholarship applicants

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Bar Foundation is seeking nominations for several pro bono awards and applicants for its scholarship for new attorneys to attend the Indiana State Bar Association's annual fall meeting. The Randall T. Shepard Award recognizes an individual's commitment and contributions to the pro bono movement in Indiana. The Pro Bono Publico Award highlights contributions made by volunteer attorneys to assist Hoosiers' access the justice system. The IBF also recognizes lawyers, law firms, and bar associations for excellence in providing information...
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COA cuts sentence for drug convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's drug convictions, but found the trial court erred in sentencing him. As a result, the appellate court reduced his sentence by 33 years. In Gary L. Williams Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 39A04-0708-CR-481, Williams appealed his convictions of and his 73-year sentence for dealing in cocaine, and possession of cocaine and marijuana. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Williams' convictions on two counts of dealing in cocaine as Class A felonies, possession of...
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Sexual misconduct case gets transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday in a case involving the liability of a township trustee for sexual misconduct of her employee. In Debra A. Barnett v. Camille Clark, Trustee of Pleasant Township, No. 76A03-0704-CV-182, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Camille Clark, who is also referred to as Camelia in the brief.Clark's husband, Donald, was the deputy township trustee. Debra Barnett went to the trustee's office and met with Donald...
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SCOTUS limits pro se rights

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that states may require a criminal defendant who suffers from a mental illness to have a lawyer rather than allowing that person to act as his or her own defense counsel, even when the individual is competent to be tried.Vacating an Indiana Supreme Court decision from more than a year ago, the nation's highest court today issued its 7-2 ruling in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208, holding that states can restrict pro se representation...
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Court: Company not negligent in trust demise

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a magistrate judge's ruling in favor of a Michigan company on claims that it was negligent in managing an Indiana trust that eventually collapsed. Magistrate Judge John Paul Godich, of the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana's Indianapolis Division, granted summary judgment in favor of Benefit Actuaries on Indiana Funeral Directors Insurance Trust's claims that Benefit violated its fiduciary duty under ERISA, and negligently failed to provide competent advice while managing the trust.The...
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Leave act specific to alcoholism treatment

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana man sued his former employer for firing him on grounds that he missed too much work, arguing that he was covered by the federal medical leave act because he was getting treatment for alcoholism.But the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined today that the Family and Medical Leave Act doesn't protect workers from being dismissed. Because he missed three days of work just prior to being admitted for alcoholism treatment and that time combined with previous absences was enough...
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COA: Duty to defend not triggered

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Frustrated with the parties involved in the litigation, the Indiana Court of Appeals April 17 reversed a trial court's ruling in a case involving public-access laws, fraud, and an insurer's duty to defend.In Allianz Insurance Company, et al. v. Guidant Corporation, et al., No. 49A05-0704-CV-216, Chief Judge John Baker wrote the unanimous opinion regarding the "monstrosity of a litigation that has crossed state lines" is a straightforward dispute about when and whether an insurer's duty to defend had been triggered. The judge cited the...
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High court names public information officer

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A former television journalist is the new public information officer for the Indiana Supreme Court. Kathryn Dolan, former morning news anchor at WLFI in Lafayette, was hired in an effort to continue promoting public awareness about the Supreme Court.Dolan will work to help better inform citizens about how the court works and the impact of its decisions, and will also encourage media coverage of the Supreme Court. Dolan, a New Mexico native, started in the position June 30.She takes over a...
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Trial Rule submission deadline extended

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The deadline for clerks to submit an Indiana Trial Rule 77(k) request to post court information on the Internet has been extended to Feb. 29. The original deadline was Feb. 15. A complete list of counties approved to post court records can be found on the state's judiciary Web site. Clerks, with the consent of the majority of the judges in the courts of record, may make certain court records available to the public through remote electronic access, such as the Internet....
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