Latest News

New federal chief judge for Southern District

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A new chief judge has taken the leadership reins for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.On Jan. 1, U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton replaced Judge Larry J. McKinney as chief judge, meaning he'll be expected to handle the court's administrative matters and be a chief spokesperson for the court until 2015.During Judge McKinney's seven-year term as chief of the nation's third-busiest District Court, he'd led a court handling 23,000 civil and criminal cases, helped launch an...
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SCOTUS: Lethal injection allowed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
While lethal injection itself isn't unconstitutional, a ruling today from the U.S. Supreme Court has left open the door for more legal challenges to how states administer the deadly drugs. But on a broader level, the one justice who supported the 1976 decision to reinstate Capital punishment is now in favor of reigniting the debate on the death penalty and striking it down.In a widely splintered 7-2 decision in Baze, et al. v. Rees, et al., No. 07-5439, justices wrote a series...
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Notable attorney to speak at IU-Bloomington

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A prominent attorney, civil rights leader, and political figure will deliver the 2008 Neal-Marshall Lecture in Public Policy March 27 at Indiana University in Bloomington.Vernon E. Jordan Jr. will share his thoughts about the current presidential campaign and other topics in his lecture, "America - Crossing Boundaries of Possibility." Jordan was executive director of the United Negro College Fund Inc., president and CEO of the National Urban League Inc., served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton, and has practiced law in Arkansas...
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Court: Broker must pay back commission

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A broker who breaches his fiduciary duty to disclose material information to a client loses the right to collect a commission for his services, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today. The high court unanimously reversed a trial court decision finding that although a broker breached his fiduciary duty to his client, his commission shouldn't be revoked and be repaid to his client.In Tonda Beth Nichols v. Rex David Minnick and R. David Minnick Inc. d/b/a Commercial Properties, No. 53S01-0711-CV-515, Nichols sued Minnick...
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Indiana first to sign Great Lakes Compact

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana became the first state to adopt the updated Great Lakes Compact Thursday. Gov. Mitch Daniels signed SEA 45, which implements added protections on Great Lakes water through the multi-state agreement. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact was first developed more than five years ago and ensures that authority over water uses from the Great Lakes stays in the region. It also provides that economic development will be fostered through sustainable use and management of the waters and that...
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Court: No sudden heat, no voluntary manslaughter

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reversed a defendant's conviction of voluntary manslaughter after ruling the trial court erred by instructing the jury about voluntary manslaughter in the absence of evidence of sudden heat. In Andrew Lee Watts v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0611-CR-452, Watts appealed his conviction of voluntary manslaughter following a jury trial. The state charged Watts with murder following a tavern shooting, but also had the jury instructed on the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter. At trial, Watts requested jury instructions...
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Defendants can waive appeal right in bargains

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Criminal defendants can waive their right to appeal a trial court's sentencing decision as part of a plea agreement, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.In a unanimous ruling in Timothy Ray Creech v. State of Indiana, No. 35S02-0709-CR-376, justices affirmed a decision from Huntington Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hakes.The case stems from a six-year executed sentence on a child-molesting charge in 2006; Creech had entered a plea agreement that left the sentence up to the trial judge but capped the executed portion...
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Court examines master commissioner statutes

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Footnotes in at least two recent Indiana Court of Appeals decisions show how the appellate court sees state statutes governing the authority master commissioners have in carrying out trial court business.In a published opinion issued today in Denia Baniaga v. State of Indiana, No. 49A04-0801-CR-21, the three-judge panel led by Chief Judge John G. Baker attached a footnote to the first page of the case from Marion Superior Judge Steven Eichholtz and Master Commissioner Patrick Murphy. The master commissioner heard the...
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Delayed COA appeal declared moot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed an appeal by an election board and political candidates who challenged a candidate's ability to run as an Independent because the candidate had already lost in the election when the appeal finally made it before the appellate court. The appeal, Lake County Board of Elections and Registrations, Myrna Maldonado, Richard Medina, and Juda Parks v. Anthony Copeland, No. 45A04-0710-CV-560, came before the Court of Appeals after the November 2007 election because of an error in the...
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Judge pleads guilty, receives suspension

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Allen Circuit Judge Thomas J. Felts pleaded guilty today in Marion Superior Court to operating a vehicle while intoxicated as a misdemeanor. Marion Superior Judge William Nelson sentenced the judge to one year probation and suspended his driver's license for 90 days, starting tomorrow. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office asked the judge to immediately suspend Judge Felt's driver's license, but Judge Nelson allowed for a one-day delay so that Judge Felts could drive home to Allen County, said Marion County Prosecutor's...
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Chief justice to give annual address

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard will give his annual State of the Judiciary address Wednesday.Next week will mark the 21st time Chief Justice Shepard will give the address since assuming the court's top position in 1987, two years after joining the appellate court. The hour-long annual address starts at 1:30 p.m. in the chambers of the Indiana House of Representatives in Indianapolis.His address typically includes a discussion of the state courts' ongoing projects, accomplishments in the past year, and future...
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High court grants transfer in molestation case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in a case to determine whether a defendant's convictions were unfairly affected by taped interviews played at trial. In Brian Tyler v. State of Indiana, No. 69A04-0702-CR-120, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Tyler's convictions of vicarious sexual gratification and two counts of felony child molesting, as well as finding his sentence was appropriate. Tyler had exposed himself to five children in his care and touched one of the young girls. He also had the...
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Hospital duty to patients case granted transfer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to a case in which judges were split on the duty a hospital owed to patients to prevent possible harm by refusing to release them to a suspected abuser.The high court agreed to take Ava McSwane and Danielle Hays v. Bloomington Hospital and Healthcare System and Jean M. Eelma, M.D., No. 53A04-0705-CV-243, to decide what duty Bloomington Hospital owed to Ava McSwane's daughter, Malia Vandeneede, once it suspected Vandeneede came to the hospital with injuries...
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Chief PD: No one forced me out

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The top public defender in Marion County said he wasn't forced to leave the agency for any reason, though he does worry that politics could play into the naming of his successor.Indiana Lawyer put the question to David E. Cook after reading a posting on Ruth's Blog, a Web log devoted to news and commentary. The posting claimed that Cook was forced from his job for political reasons.While Cook is cognizant that his position is a political one and attempts have...
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Longtime Bloomington attorney dies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Bloomington attorney with an eight-decade career in law died July 17 at the age of 99. Sylvan W. Tackitt practiced law in Bloomington since 1933. The native Hoosier graduated from Indiana University School of Law in 1933 and began to practice with his mentor, attorney Robert Miller. Tackitt became Monroe County prosecutor in 1942. After his term as prosecutor, he went on to work defending Liberty Mutal. He retired in 1975 because he had developed heart problems and couldn't take...
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COA to travel to Wabash College

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments Feb. 26 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville. Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Melissa May will hear the appeal from Monroe Circuit Court of H.D., et al. v. BHC Meadows Hospital, Inc. at 3 p.m. In this appeal, the court is asked to decide whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act requires a juvenile and his or her parents to bring claims from a breach of patient confidentiality before a medical review panel prior...
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Director's victims' rights work gains recognition

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The U.S. Attorney's Office recognized the work of Jean Hahn, director of the Jennings County Council on Domestic Violence in honor of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.Hahn was awarded the 2008 U.S. Attorney's Carol S. Morris Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Rights of Victims April 18. Hahn took over the Jennings County Council on Domestic Violence when the agency was facing numerous challenges and turned the agency into a strong voice for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Jennings...
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Conspiracy, false statements convictions stand

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the convictions of participating in a price-fixing conspiracy and making false statements to federal law enforcement of an Indianapolis man involved in a concrete price-fixing scheme. In United States of America v. Christopher A. Beaver, No. 07-1381, Beaver appealed his convictions, arguing the government failed to prove at trial a price-fixing conspiracy existed, that he joined the conspiracy, or that he made false statements. Beaver, as operations manager of Beaver Materials Corp., was one of...
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Appeals court to visit Marion, Vigo counties

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals continues to travel around the state this month, making stops in Marion and Vigo counties Tuesday. Judges Patricia Riley, James Kirsch, and Margret Robb will hear arguments in Gary and Katherine Hoesman v. Daniel Sheffler, et al., No. 77A01-0708-CV-385, at 10:30 a.m. in the Cecilian Auditorium in the Conservatory of Music Building at the St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Vigo County. In this case, a trust's beneficiaries discovered the trust administrator had converted funds for her personal...
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District Court didn't err in Franks hearing

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's drug conviction following a Franks hearing, affirming the U.S. District Court's decision to reconsider one of its findings and to not compel the government to identify the confidential informant in the case. The case of United States of America v. Antone C. Harris, No. 07-1315, made its way back to the 7th Circuit after the federal appellate court originally remanded the case to the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis...
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Aspiring attorneys general face off: Other campaigns get the spotlight, but this one deserves a closer look

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
With at least two very closely watched races in Indiana - governor and president - and multiple political theories about how either race will go, there's bound to be less attention paid to some of the other candidates. But with Republican Gregory Zoeller and Democrat Linda Pence up for the attorney general post and the incumbent Steve Carter not running, this race is worth another look. At stake is the oversight of the state attorney general's office, basically a very large...
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Federal judge won't overturn jury verdict

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Ruling on his first jury trial as a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen declined to overturn a jury verdict in favor of a fired East Chicago worker who'd claimed she lost her job for political reasons.In an eight-page ruling on Aug. 1 in Blanca I. Camacho v. George Pabey, et al., No. 2:05-cv-456, Judge Van Bokkelen ruled that a reasonable jury had evidence to find in favor of Camacho and award her $250,000.Camacho was a restaurant inspector when...
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Social Security doesn't go toward threshold

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Social Security benefits can't be counted toward the threshold amount of benefits that a person has to get in order to be eligible for benefits from Indiana's Second Injury Fund, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.The court tackled the issue of first impression in James Kohlmeyer v. Second Injury Fund, No. 93A02-0711-EX-1000, in which James Kohlmeyer argued Social Security benefits he received after becoming permanently totally disabled as a result of a work accident should count toward the threshold dictated under...
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Justices: Act doesn't allow interest

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Interest may not be calculated on workers' compensation benefits, including past-due medical bills, because Indiana legislation doesn't expressly allow for it, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today. In Christopher R. Brown, D.D.S., Inc. v. Decatur County Memorial Hospital, No. 93S02-0711-EX-561, Dr. Christopher Brown appealed the decision by the full Workers' Compensation Board that he was not entitled to interest on past-due medical bills incurred from his treatment of a patient who was receiving workers' compensation benefits from Decatur County Memorial Hospital. Indiana's...
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Program focuses on schizophrenia, treatments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The director who oversees daily operations of services to mentally ill detainees in a Chicago jail will be the featured speaker of the program, "Choices in Recovery: Schizophrenia." Dr. Carl Alaimo, director and chief psychologist of the Department of Mental Health Services for Cermak Health Services of Cook County, Ill., will speak during a program May 8 in Greenwood. He has more than 30 years experience in the fields of mental health, chemical dependency, substance abuse treatment, and training in correctional...
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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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