Latest News

COA reverses annexation decision

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision in a northern Indiana annexation case, citing a recent ruling on the subject from the Indiana Supreme Court. In the case In the Matter of the Annexation Proposed by Ordinance No. 2004-11-38, et al. v. Chris Fetcko, et al., 45A03-0611-CV-549, the city of Crown Point appealed the trial court's order granting the motion for involuntary dismissal filed by Fetcko and other remonstrators to a city ordinance annexing certain land. Crown Point...
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Dubious people no threat at federal courthouse in Indianapolis

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Suspicious camouflage-clad characters were thought to be creeping on the roof of the federal courthouse in Indianapolis this morning.But a report about 9 a.m. to the U.S. Marshals Office in Indianapolis turned out to be "completely unfounded," according to senior inspector Mark Robinett.Rather than a viable security threat, though, the call from the Chase building across the street turned out to involve window washers, according to accounts from both Robinett and Jo McNight, chief deputy clerk at the U.S. District Court...
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SCOTUS to hear East Chicago case in October

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The court docket for the nation's highest court is published, and the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in an East Chicago case during the first week it returns in October.Justices will consider U.S. v. Efrain Santos as its sixth case of the term on Oct. 3, according to the session calendar. It will be the first Indiana case heard by the high court since the Hammond v. Indiana arguments in March 2006. The court agreed in April...
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Longtime trial lawyer Townsend dies

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana has lost a pioneer who has been a fixture in the personal injury legal community for more than six decades.Earl C. Townsend Jr., who co-founded Indianapolis law firm Townsend & Townsend and went on to become one of the most recognized names in the legal community, has died. He was 92.Along with his brother John, he helped establish the law firm Townsend & Townsend in downtown Indianapolis after graduating in 1940 from the University of Michigan Law School. He remained...
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State waited too long to file charges, court rules

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a voluntary manslaughter case on grounds that prosecutors waited too long to file charges.Appellate judges issued a decision today in Ralph Barnett v. State of Indiana, 48A02-0605-CR-389 which stems from a 1993 physical confrontation at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. Barnett got into fight with fellow inmate Ricky Combs after being released from cells for a creation session, and Barnett maneuvered a handmade pick away from Combs before starting to walk away. When Combs attacked...
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Carmel met requirements for Southwest Clay annexation

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court today found for the City of Carmel in a case regarding landowners who opposed annexation of their property in Southwest Clay Township following a settlement between the city and an organization who called themselves No Ordinance for Annexation (NOAX), who filed a remonstrance and agreed to the settlement in 2005.The opinion, City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Southwest Clay Township Annexation Territory Landowners, 29S00-0608-CV-300, addresses two issues, according to Bryan Babb, an attorney who represents the City...
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Court accepts habitual traffic violator case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court decided Thursday to consider a case that presents an issue of first impression regarding an Operating While being a Habitual Traffic Violator statute.In the case State of Indiana v. Karl D. Jackson, 29A02-0610-CR-867, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles determined in 2003 that Karl D. Jackson was a habitual traffic violator and suspended his license. The state agency mailed a notice to Jackson, but he hadn't notified the BMV that he had moved so he never received it.A...
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Court rules on military retirement benefits during divorce

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
State courts can't treat military retirement pay waived for veterans' disability pay as marital property to be divided during divorce, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.Citing caselaw from the nation's highest court, a unanimous three-judge panel reversed and remanded a Randolph County decision in William A. Griffin, Jr. v. Shari L. Griffin, No. 68A01-0611-CV-491.William and Shari married in 1985 and divorced in 2006, agreeing as part of the dissolution to divide in half his $1,522 retirement pay from the U.S. Air...
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Southern Indiana loses longtime municipal lawyer

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
An Evansville city attorney who was a longtime municipal advisor and considered an expert in that area of the law has died.Kevin Wayne Winternheimer, 52, died Tuesday night after a battle with liver and pancreatic cancer, according to a statement released by the mayor's office Wednesday afternoon. He had served as a legal advisor to four mayors - both Democrat and Republican, six corporate counsels, and had served as counsel to almost every board and officeholder in Evansville and Vanderburgh County.Graduating...
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Court rules on grandparent visitation

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
What is likely to be a ruling of first impression in Indiana and one of a few nationally, the Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a ruling that had ended a grandmother's visitation with her grandson following the adoption of her adult mother.The 11-page ruling comes in a guardianship action involving the minor, J.E.M, in Maxine E. Handshoe v. Jessica L. Ridgway, No. 76A03=0612-CV-603.Grandmother Maxine Handshoe is appealing the Steuben Circuit ruling that terminated her visitation privileges with her biological grandson,...
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Indiana governor subpoenaed in Vioxx litigation

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will testify this fall in the ongoing federal court litigation involving recalled painkiller Vioxx, which is being blamed for thousands of heart attacks nationwide.Documents in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana's online filing system show that subpoenas went out Tuesday, and Daniels will give a taped deposition in Indianapolis Sept. 11. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is scheduled to do the same Sept. 4 in his home state.Both governors have ties to the drug industry -...
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Court increases registration fee for lawyers

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana attorneys will have to pay $10 more a year to be licensed to practice law in the state, though they'll still fare better than most of their colleagues around the country.The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order this week increasing the fee from $105 to $115, making it effective for this year's Oct. 1 due date.This is the first increase in five years, when the fee rose from $95 to $105.Delinquency fees stay the same: $65 will be added for fees...
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Attorneys suspended over registration fees

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
More than twice as many Indiana practicing attorneys were suspended this year for not paying their registration fees, compared to 2006.Those 133 attorneys were suspended this week from the practice of law - on top of 111 colleagues also suspended this week for not meeting continuing legal education requirements.A set of two orders came from the Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday, though the registration fee suspension order wasn't immediately available from the courts. It was posted online late Thursday. The orders...
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Justices: law requires courts' reasons in sentencing

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Trial courts must issue sentencing statements that include a detailed account of the judge's reasons for imposing penalties, such as aggravators and mitigators, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.Additionally, the state's highest court has reiterated that it will only review a sentence on the grounds of abuse of discretion.In a ruling that answers questions left open following the 2005 revision of state law regarding Indiana's sentencing structure, justices unanimously affirmed a Kosciusko Superior judge's decision in Alexander J. Anglemyer v. State...
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Pro bono director selected for SCOTUS fellowship

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
A commission of nine members chosen by the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court has selected Monica A. Fennell, executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, as the 2007-2008 U.S. Supreme Court fellow assigned to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Her fellowship begins in the fall.Fennell ;s responsibilities would include the analysis and implementation of studies requested by Congress or the Judicial Conference, researching the federal rulemaking process, or drafting publications on administrative issues of...
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Marion County judges start teleconferencing for weekly meeting

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Hearing what happens at the Marion Superior Court Executive Committee meeting no longer means you have to attend the weekly gathering Friday mornings.Starting tomorrow, all you need is a telephone.The court will begin using a teleconferencing system for the 8 a.m. meeting, giving up to 30 people the option of listening and participating by phone rather than attending - which is still a choice.Topics on the Friday agenda for the four-person committee include building authority construction projects involving court build outs,...
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Court examines 'judge' definition

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Appeals Court today upheld the convictions and sentence of man who sent threatening letters to the Marion County Prosecutors Office, a judge, and commissioner after being ordered to have no contact.To be clear in its decision, the appellate court delved into the definition of "judge" and determined the term does include a county commissioner who handles legal matters for the court.In Allen Montgomery v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0703-CR-188, Montgomery appealed his two Class D felony convictions for intimidation and 11...
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Chief public defender resigning

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The chief public defender in Marion County plans to leave his post in February.Chief Public Defender David E. Cook submitted his resignation this week, announcing his intent to stay on until Feb 15. so that a successor can be found.Cook has been the most visible face of the organization since 1995, two years after it was established. He's a former deputy prosecutor and defense attorney, who's now been the agency's chief executive responsible for working with judges and elected officials and...
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Court answers question on subcontractors' ability to recover

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court today delved into the meaning of "subcontractor" and determined that performance bond coverage for third parties only goes so far.Stemming from a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, justices considered: "Does a performance bond required by and issued in accordance with Ind. Code §8-23-9-9 afford coverage to a third-tier claimant?"Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote the opinion saying the statute does not afford that coverage, noting that a subcontractor is...
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Indiana Roll of Attorneys office moving

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The office that keeps track of Hoosier attorneys is changing locations.The Indiana Roll of Attorneys office is moving from the Statehouse and into the Indiana Government Center South to where the Court Clerk ;s Records Division is located.As of April 2, attorneys will need to have that new address – 302 W. Washington St., Room W062 – for mailing in or dropping off registration fees, changes of address, temporary admissions forms, or disciplinary filings. The fax number will also change, but...
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Indiana Supreme Court rules on wage statute

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled today that the term "days" in the Wage Payment Statute refers to business days, not calendar days. The opinion also clarifies several school-related aspects relating to the state statute.A 13-page decision in Tabatha J. Naugle and Sandra M. Cain v. Beech Grove City Schools (http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/04270701trb.pdf), 49S02-0606-CV-242, affirms a decision by Marion Circuit Judge Ted Sosin.Aside from the definition of days, justices also unanimously clarify a two-year-old ruling in Brownsburg Community School Corp. v. Natare Corp., 824...
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Court discusses Indiana's 1907 eugenic sterilization law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will host an educational seminar Wednesday about how Indiana adopted the first eugencial sterilization law in the world 100 years ago.A panelist discussion and presentation about the law will be from 3 to 4:15 p.m. in the Supreme Court ;s courtroom at the statehouse.Indiana passed the law in 1907, and subsequently similar laws were adopted in more than 30 states and a dozen countries worldwide. The Indiana Supreme Court overturned the state statute in 1921, but a...
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ISBA offers 'insider view' of appellate courts

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana attorneys and jurists came together Wednesday to get an insider's view of the state's appellate process and learn more about the nuances of the system. An afternoon continuing legal education seminar took about 100 attorneys on a walk through the appellate process, from filing motions, how staff attorneys and courts review, and what lawyers can do to make the process easier. "This is the stuff we all get sweaty palms about, and we'd like to know where the daggers...
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Annexation case back on for COA

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Arguments are set for 1 p.m. Sept. 18 in the City of Carmel v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory. The appellate court had decided last year to put the case on hold until ruling came down from the justices; that happened June 27 with the potentially landmark decision in City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Southwest Clay Township Annexation Territory Landowners http://www.ai.org/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06270701rts.pdf, 29S00-0608-CV-300.Carmel City Council voted to annex both areas in November 2004, but residents in the two areas challenged the...
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New COA judge robing ceremony Thursday

January 1, 2007
IL Staff
Three weeks after first taking the bench on the Indiana Court of Appeals, Judge Cale Bradford will formally join the court in a robing ceremony Aug. 23. Gov. Mitch Daniels will attend the ceremony in the Supreme Court courtroom to administer the oath of office. Judge Bradford's family, colleagues, and special guests will also attend the ceremony and reception. Seating is by invitation only. Judge Bradford took his 2nd District seat on the Court of Appeals Aug. 1, replacing retiring Judge...
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