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Convict fights tooth and nail, loses on the tooth

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A tooth is considered a "bodily member or organ" within the definition of the state's aggravated battery statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled March 7.Deciding a case of first impression in Derrick C. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-0708-CR-357, the appellate court ruled that a Lake Superior judge properly determined that enough evidence existed to support Smith's conviction under the state's aggravated battery statute.Incarcerated at the Lake County Jail in August 2006, Smith and another inmate overpowered a jail...
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Court decides 2 disputed land cases

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on two cases today involving disputed tracts of land on lakefront properties and adverse possession in Kosciusko County. In Daisy Farm Limited Partnership v. Michael and Jill Morrolf, No. 43A04-0707-CV-390, the appellate court reversed the trial court judgment in favor of Michael and Jill Morrolf that a disputed tract of land didn't pass to Daisy Farm by virtue of adverse possession. Daisy Farm and its predecessors owned the lot adjoining the Morrolfs' in a neighborhood located...
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Plan: protect educators who discipline students

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wants more legal protection for educators who discipline students to keep order in their schools.A news release issued this morning announced the governor's plans to work with lawmakers in the coming legislative session to pass a law providing legal immunity for those teachers and school staff members who, in good faith, discipline students. He also wants the Indiana Attorney General's Office to use its statutory authority to defend any teacher who becomes the target of unreasonable litigation.The...
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Court: Official can take office once bonded

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Elected public officials who haven't secured bond by the date they are to take office can begin their elected position once they have obtained the bond, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.At issue in Tom Shetler Sr. and Suzan Nicholson v. Linda K. Durham, No. 82A01-0706-CV-273, is whether Durham can hold office as elected trustee of Knight Township even though she failed to secure bond by her official start date. Durham was elected trustee in November 2006 and met with the incumbent...
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Marion County inspector training at IBA

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Marion County Clerk's office will hold an inspector training session at the Indianapolis Bar Association April 21 for people interested in becoming an inspector, precinct clerk, or precinct judge for the May 6 primary. Marion County Clerk Beth White will conduct the training session from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the IBA's office, 107 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite 200, Indianapolis. The training session offers three free hours of CLE credit for any attorney who has signed up to be an...
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Magistrate named for Southern District

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis attorney is the new magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.Debra McVicker Lynch, of counsel at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, fills the position left empty after Judge William T. Lawrence was elevated to Article III judgeship July 1. Lynch said she is elated and honored that the court expressed its confidence in her to select her as magistrate judge. Although she has enjoyed her time in private practice, she said she's aspired to be a...
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Notre Dame Law receives $15 million gift

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Notre Dame Law School building will get a new name as a result of an alumnus who has donated $15 million to the school.Robert F. Biolchini, and his wife, Frances, donated the money to the school to help underwrite the renovation of the building. After renovations are finished, the building will be renamed Biolchini Hall. Renovations include an expanded Krege Law Library, two new 50-seat classrooms, new space for the Notre Dame Law Review, and new offices and workspace for...
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Court can determine when defendant testifies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Defendants have the constitutional right to testify at trial, but they do not have the right to dictate when they take the stand, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 25.At issue in Kevin Book v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0707-CR-385, is whether the trial court violated Book's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights when he was allegedly compelled to make a decision whether to testify at a particular time during his trial. Book was accused of smothering to death his girlfriend's 20-month-old...
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ISBA receives more artwork of courthouses

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
Three more donations of artwork depicting Indiana courthouses have been received by the Indiana State Bar Association: the bar associations of Daviess, Lake, and Sullivan counties have donated images of their respective county courthouses. Photos are now on Indiana Lawyer's Web site as part of a slideshow of all 12 works the ISBA has received so far.The ISBA acquired the artwork of Daviess County Courthouse by Ervin R. Clark June 26; it was donated by the Daviess County Bar Association. The painting...
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Comments sought on child support rules

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana is seeking public comment concerning Indiana's Child Support Rules and Guidelines as part of its review process to propose changes to the Indiana Supreme Court. Written comments are due July 3 and may be submitted by an online survey, by fax to (317) 233-3367, or by mail to Indiana Judicial Center c/o the Domestic Relations Committee, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 900, Indianapolis, IN 46204-3564. A public hearing will be conducted...
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BMV tosses personalized license plate policy

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
 A federal lawsuit involving the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and how it handles personalized license plates may be settled in the next week, now that the state agency has thrown out the revised policy banning all religious or deity phrases. BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver reversed a policy decision Nov. 25 that had taken effect Nov. 6 banning any requested personalized plate message carrying a religious or deity message. Now, an eight-person internal committee will review all requested messages the way...
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Attorney blamed for lack of proper relief

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the U.S. District Court in Hammond in which two plaintiffs were injured by a drunk driver and then awarded less-than-adequate relief from a jury, agreeing that any proper relief denied to the plaintiffs was a result of their attorney.In Christina Soltys and Danuta Pauch v. Yvonne Costello, No. 06-3175, the 7th Circuit affirmed the District Court didn't err in denying the plaintiffs' eleventh-hour motion to amend their complaint to add a count...
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Lake County releases judicial candidate survey

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Lake County Bar Association has released the results of its 2008 Judicial Qualification Survey of judicial candidates in Lake County. Candidates were rated on a scale from 1 to 10 in the candidate's competence, temperament, and character, with one being not qualified and 10 being exceptionally well qualified. A total of 265 responses were received; the amount of responses varied for each candidate. According to the survey, two Lake Superior magistrate judges scored the highest: Magistrate Judge Michael Pagano had...
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Five appellate jurists will be on ballot

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Michael W. Hoskins mhoskins@IBJ.com All of Indiana's appellate jurists facing retention this year will appear on November's ballot. Facing a Tuesday deadline to file retention paperwork, the five jurists have told Indiana Lawyer they hope to return to either the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Tax Court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justices Theodore M. Boehm and Brent E. Dickson, Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, and Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher are up for retention. Late last week,...
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Governor appoints new Delaware Circuit judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed attorney Chris M. Teagle as judge of Delaware Circuit Court No. 5. Teagle succeeds Judge Wayne J. Lennington, who turned in his resignation from the bench earlier this year.Teagle, of Albany, has served in private practice in Muncie since 1985 and has had his own civil law practice since 1993. The Valparaiso University School of Law graduate will start May 16. Judge Lennington sent his resignation letter to the governor in March citing health reasons. An...
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Court upholds murder conviction

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Brown County man's murder conviction, finding there was sufficient evidence to show he killed his wife in 2003. The man, Michael B. Smith, appealed his conviction, arguing evidence was admitted in violation of Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) and that it was insufficient to support his conviction. Smith was found guilty of killing his wife Linda, whom he claimed he found alone in their hot tub after he fell asleep earlier in the evening. In...
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IBA seeks nominations for award

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indianapolis Bar Association's Women and the Law Division is seeking nominations for its 2008 Antoinette Dakin Leach Award. July 31 is the deadline to submit nominations. The Antoinette Dakin Leach Award recognizes a female attorney for her professional and personal accomplishments. Nominees should be those who encourage other women to pursue a legal career or blaze a path not taken by others. Nominees will be evaluated on their accomplishments, service, mentoring, and professionalism. They will be honored at a luncheon this fall....
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Senate Judiciary OKs magistrate for judge

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
U.S. Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence in Indianapolis has just won unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning to become a federal district judge.At the end of its 10 a.m. business meeting that concluded just before 10:30 a.m., the committee voted 10-0 in favor of Magistrate Lawrence's nomination for a judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana. His confirmation hearing was May 2.Now, Magistrate Lawrence awaits confirmation from the full Senate. The president had selected him in February to...
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7th Circuit: traffic stop constitutional

December 28, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
A traffic stop in which police found drugs after telling the defendant he was free to go did not violate the defendant's Fourth Amendment rights, ruled the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today.
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7th Circuit upholds convictionRestricted Content

December 26, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's conviction and sentence for selling a firearm to a felon, ruling the wording of his indictment did not require the government to prove he knew about the gun buyer's past convictions
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7th Circuit rules on IUPUI discrimination caseRestricted Content

December 14, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated one grant of summary judgment and affirmed another in favor of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in a discrimination suit.
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7 interview for COA; 3 finalists to be chosen

December 12, 2007
The Judicial Nominating Commission interviewed seven semi-finalists today for an opening on the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit rules on multiplicitous convictionsRestricted Content

November 21, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals encountered for the first time the issue of whether a single incident of firearm possession can support multiple convictions under United States Code when the defendant is included in more than one class of people who are disqualified under the statute from possessing firearms.
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ACLU: Full court should rehear prayer case

November 15, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana wants the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a case involving legislative prayer.
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Venue transfer hinges on type of organization

November 14, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion to change venues because the Indiana High School Athletic Association didn't meet its burden as a governmental organization needed under Indiana Trial Rule 75 to affirm the motion.
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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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