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COA: OK counsel didn't raise Blakely claim

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant's appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise a Blakely claim on appeal because raising the issue was outside his counsel's objective prevailing professional norms at the time, ruled a majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel today. However, the dissenting judge cited numerous examples of other counsel amending appeals with a Blakely claim during the same time period. In Steven Kendall v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0707-PC-391, Kendall appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief petition by...
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COA: Animal seizure allowed without warrant

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Police and animal control officers were justified in removing malnourished animals from a property without a warrant, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today. The court also overturned a Bartholomew County man's convictions of neglect on four dead horses because of lack of evidence they died of neglect.In Terry Baxter v. State of Indiana, No. 03A04-0710-CR-596, Terry Baxter appealed his convictions of four counts of Class D felony failure to properly dispose of a dead animal, and 12 counts of Class...
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Southern District Court seeking comments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wants to hear from you. The court is seeking public comment on the revision of certain local rules. The proposed revisions look to modify Local Rule 5.1 - general format of documents presented for filing, Local Rule 6.1 - extensions of time, and Local Rule 56.1 - summary judgment procedure. Changes have also been made regarding the discipline imposed by other courts, reinstatement, and the service of papers and other notices.The...
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Supreme Court grants 5 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted five transfers within the past week to cases dealing with traffic stops, life insurance polices, unpaid medical expenses, modification of a custody order, and plea agreements. The high court granted transfer and released its opinion yesterday in Sergio Campos v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0804-CR-199, involving a traffic stop and Sergio Campos' arrest after police found drugs in the car. A story in today's Indiana Lawyer Daily covers the Campos case in more detail. The Supreme Court granted...
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Indiana deans support Georgia's rule of law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Two Indiana law school deans joined 67 other deans in signing a statement of support for international norms of conduct and the rule of law in the Caucasus region in light of the recent violence between Russia and the Republic of Georgia. "The actions of Russia threaten ... the people of Georgia and the Georgians' commitment to values we hold fundamental and daily teach to our students," the deans wrote in their letter. Recipients of the statement include the U.S. Department...
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Turnip the root of a law firm scare

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Fort Wayne law firm got a scare yesterday when it received a suspicious package from a disgruntled man included in a lawsuit filed by one of the firm's clients. The firm believed it could contain a bomb and called 9-1-1. It turns out it was only a turnip. The firm Haller & Colvin called police around 3:15 p.m. Thursday after employees opened a package in a typical cardboard box addressed to the firm. The package contained a gift bag with...
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Court: Alleged negligence didn't cause injury

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurance agent because it found her alleged negligence was not a cause of injury to the plaintiffs. At issue in Jerry and Becky French v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company and Jane Hodson, No. 18A02-0612-CV-1161, is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Hodson on the Frenches' claim of negligent advice and procurement of insurance. The Frenches decided to...
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UPDATE: 5 appellate jurists seek retention

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
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 told Indiana Lawyer they hope to return to the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Tax Court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justices Theodore R. Boehm and Brent E. Dickson, Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, and Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher are up for retention.The Indiana Secretary of State's Election Division reports that all...
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Judge: Love is loser in nonfraternization policy

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Although the United Parcel Service Inc. came out as winners in a discrimination case in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, love and marriage were deemed the losers by the appellate judges. In Gerald C. Ellis v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 07-2811, Ellis filed a discrimination claim against UPS after he was fired for fraternizing with a fellow employee. Ellis, a manager who is African-American, claimed he was fired after his supervisors discovered he was dating and eventually married a white...
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Court rules on parental rights terminations

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today ruled for the first time on an aspect of a state statute dictating when the Department of Child Services can initiate parental rights termination proceedings.A unanimous decision today affirms a trial court judgment in the case of In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of A.B. and Dawn B. v. Department of Child Services, No. 02A03-0712-JV-599. The appellant-respondent's daughter, when she was 6, was hospitalized in 2002 for violent, uncontrollable behavior and the...
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COA: Growing crops go in marital pot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that crops growing in the ground that haven't been harvested are considered marital assets. This is the first time Indiana courts have ruled on the issue. In In Re the Marriage of: James R. Webb v. Nancy J. (Webb) Schleutker, No. 49A02-0707-CV-568, James Webb appealed the trial court decision to include soon-to-be harvested crops in the marital pot. The trial court issued its dissolution decree in February 2007, and included crops growing in August...
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Majority: hospital owed duty to patient

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their decision March 12 regarding whether a hospital that performed a surgery on a woman with suspected domestic violence injuries should have prevented her from leaving with her ex-husband and alleged abuser, who later killed both of them on the way home from the hospital. At issue in Ava McSwane and Danielle Hays v. Bloomington Hospital and Healthcare System and Jean M. Eelma, M.D., No. 53A04-0705-CV-243, is what duty the hospital owed to McSwane's daughter, Malia...
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Indiana law schools rank in annual report

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana's four law schools once again were among the rankings for the U.S. News & World Report's annual report of graduate schools.Based on data from fall 2007 and early 2008, three of the state's law schools ranked in the top 100 of schools. The University of Notre Dame Law School is at 22, up from 28 last year; Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington, 36th, retained its ranking from last year; and Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis is...
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New voter ID lawsuit filed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The League of Women Voters of Indiana filed a lawsuit today in Marion County challenging the state's three-year-old voter identification statute recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.At 2 p.m. today, the organization filed the suit with the Marion Superior Court against Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, arguing that it has the standing to sue on behalf of its members because the state statute burdens potential voters and would cause the league to have to spend "precious resources" assisting voters...
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COA affirms conservancy district

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had the opportunity to determine whether construction of a bridge and road is permitted under Indiana Code when establishing a conservancy district, but didn't rule on the issue because taxpayers wouldn't be responsible for paying for construction.In In re: Petition for the establishment of the Millpond Conservancy District, No. 76A03-0711-CV-536, remonstrators argued the trial court erred in establishing a conservancy district initiated by the Town of Hamilton. They claim because the construction of a road and bridge...
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Missing records case affirmed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Don't go looking for any reference in a Thursday memorandum opinion relating to missing court files in an Allen County murder case. You won't find one.The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of Daniel Favela, whose case made the news last year after his mother had been jailed for about two weeks on contempt of court charges for taking, hiding, and refusing to turn over the 13-volume file in her son's appeal. Adela Favela finally returned them to Allen...
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Builders want impact fee case dismissed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis wants a lawsuit dismissed that involves the lawfulness of park impact fees in Zionsville. Attorneys for BAGI filed a motion for summary judgment on March 5 in Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis v. Zionsville, which was filed in October 2006 and challenges the town's impact fee ordinance adopted in 2005.Park impact fees go to recreational land and facilities necessitated by new residents, and are usually paid for by homebuilders when obtaining a building permit to...
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Legal Aid receives $9,000

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Tippecanoe County Bar Association has granted $9,000 to the Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County.The bar association decided at its March 3 meeting to give Legal Aid $8,000 now and an additional $1,000 in September if bar association's finances allow. Legal Aid is a non-profit United Way agency that provides legal assistance for low-income residents of Tippecanoe County with family-law issues.
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COA: Bank not required to restrict withdrawals

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a small claims court ruling that held a bank in contempt for failing to restrict the withdrawal of funds from a garnishee's account, noting the bank followed procedure according to Indiana Code. In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Laura and Dennis Brown, c/o Green, Richard & Trent and Rebecca Recht, No. 02A03-0801-CV-2, the appellate court had to interpret I.C. Section 28-9-4-2 to determine whether a depository financial institution that has received notice of garnishment proceedings...
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Prosecutor files to suspend judge's license

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will ask that Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts' driver's license be suspended following the results of a blood test. The prosecutor's office received the results this morning, which showed Judge Felts' blood alcohol level was 0.19 when he was tested July 18. Matthew Symons, spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, said the office would file a motion to suspend Judge Felts' license today. It is up to the trial court judge whether or not the...
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Panel to discuss race, death penalty

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Black Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington are sponsoring the program, "Intersection of Race and Jury Composition with the Death Penalty" April 1.Panelists for the program are: Marla Sandys, associate professor of criminal justice at IU - Bloomington; Paula Sites, Indiana Public Defender Council; and Jessie Cook, an attorney in private practice who has dealt with death penalty cases. In addition to discussing the issue of race and the death...
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Indiana State Bar Association files new trust mill suit: Indianapolis company accused of unauthorized practice of law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A decade ago, Vesser and Helen Davis met with an estate planning company representative about how to divvy up their assets and their Hamilton County farm. That representative drew on a flipchart, illustrated ways a partnership and corporation could be set up, outlined differences between wills and trusts, explained the probate process, and advised the pair how they could arrange their finances and establish a corporate structure for the family farm business. In the end, they paid thousands of dollars for...
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Chief public defender going to immigration firm

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
When Marion County's chief public defender steps down in February, he plans to work for an immigration and naturalization firm in Indianapolis.David E. Cook, who's been the county's top public defender since 1995, submitted his resignation in December to the Marion County Public Defender's Office. He's continuing in the post until mid-February to allow time for a replacement to be found.On Feb. 18, the 61-year-old attorney plans to join Gresk & Singleton in a new office being built at 10th and...
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Indiana lawyer helped reporter win in Africa

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
A case where an African country's government was accused of kidnapping and torturing a journalist was decided on June 5 in favor of the reporter and his family.Indianapolis attorney Dan Byron assisted the Ghana-based Media Foundation for West Africa, which filed the suit on behalf of Chief Ebrima Manneh.Byron spent October and November in Africa and has remained in touch with the foundation's attorneys since then.In what Byron called a "good day for human rights and press rights in West Africa"...
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Juvenile court to be featured in documentary

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A Lake County juvenile court will once again allow cameras in to capture the inner workings of the court for a nationally broadcast documentary.Indianapolis documentary filmmaker Karen Grau will have access to Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's courtroom in Crown Point to film and produce six, one-hour documentary programs. The goal of the series is to shed light on the issues facing the courts and children served by the court. Because of the nature of the documentary, the Indiana Supreme Court authorized...
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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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