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Dog attack justifies battery charge

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Commanding an animal to attack a person can justify an aggravated battery charge under Indiana statute, ruled the Court of Appeals today. In Shaquita Gilbert v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0606-CR-448, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gilbert's conviction for aggravated battery, a Class B felony under Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5. Gilbert appealed, saying there is insufficient evidence showing she caused the injuries that brought on the aggravated battery conviction. Gilbert commanded a pit bull in the home where she lived to attack Veronica McAtee....
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COA semifinalists interview Wednesday

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Seven semifinalists go before the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission Wednesday in their quest for a seat on the state's second highest appellate court.Facing second interviews, those judges and attorneys will focus their thoughts on what they consider their two finest career accomplishments and what two items need most improving at the Indiana Court of Appeals.The interviews - which are open to the public - will be in the Statehouse, Room 319, which is near the Indiana Supreme Court's courtroom on the...
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First interviews done for COA opening

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
They came to the capitol building in Indianapolis from across the state, facing a barrage of questions about why they want to be an appellate court judge.Seven will return for a second round next month.The Judicial Nominating Commission conducted its first round of interviews Tuesday for a seat on the state's second highest appeals court, an opening that will be created by Judge John T. Sharpnack's retirement in May 2008. The seven semi-finalists, selected after the daylong session of interviews and...
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High court affirms trial court in murder case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A life-without-parole sentence is appropriate for the Elkhart County teen who pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder his girlfriend's mom, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The unanimous decision in Spenser A. Krempetz v. State of Indiana, No. 20S00-0607-CR-270, came down today and affirmed the ruling by Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker.In August 2005, 18-year old Krempetz conspired with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Stone and a mutual friend to "get rid of" Stone's mom because Stone was annoyed that her mother, Barbara Jo...
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Potential COA judges: Apply now

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Applications are now being accepted for the second opening on the Indiana Court of Appeals in less than a year.Judge John T. Sharpnack is stepping down May 3, 2008, because of mandatory retirement, and his successor has until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to apply for the upcoming vacancy.The seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, will conduct first public interviews with applicants Nov. 12 and 13 in Indianapolis, followed by second interviews Dec. 12. The commission...
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COA named as defendant in federal lawsuit

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a conviction for Class C felony nonsupport of a dependant, despite the court being named as a defendant in a federal suit filed by the disgruntled appellant-defendant.In Christopher J. Stephens v. State of Indiana, 20A05-0702-CR-95, Stephens appealed his felony conviction of nonsupport of his child, as well as issues that should have been challenged during his child support proceedings or trial on the matter. Unhappy with the results of his child support order and conviction,...
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Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter summary being questioned

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A case summary printed in The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter earlier this year is at issue in a Lake County courtroom, where a judge is considering whether the publisher should be held in contempt for writing about a school negligence case three months after the verdict.The April edition of the monthly publication - published in Indiana since February 2000 - included an outline of a case involving the family of Neal Boyd IV, who had sued Gary Community Schools for not protecting...
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COA affirms warrantless entry

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court decision to deny a defendant's motion to suppress his arrest and charges, ruling the defendant's behavior justified the police officers to enter his home without a warrant. In William McDermott v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0609-CR-755, McDermott brought an interlocutory appeal of the trial court order denying his motion to suppress his arrest and charges stemming from that. McDermott argued the police officers who entered his home were not justified and did so without...
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High court rules on client-attorney relationship

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court today ruled on a case involving an attorney-client relationship, overturning the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the attorney. In Ronald D. Liggett, d/b/a Liggett Construction Company v. Dean A. and Elisabeth Young, No. 38S0-0703-CV-80, Liggett appealed the trial court ruling in a contract dispute with the Youngs. At the time the Youngs hired Liggett to build their home, Dean Young worked as attorney for Liggett on an unrelated matter. Liggett initiated a third-party complaint...
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COA reverses predator's lifetime registration

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's convictions and sentence for multiple sexual offenses but reversed the trial court's determination he is a sexually violent predator requiring lifetime registration, citing the statute that was in place during the time the crime happened should dictate the defendant's predator status. In Anthony Thompson v. State of Indiana, 03A01-0610-CR-430, Thompson appealed his convictions and sentence of 63 years for sexual offenses against the victim, as well as his status as a lifetime sexually violent predator....
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Judge: arresting authority gone without oath

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Indiana Attorney General's Office plan to appeal a judge's ruling Tuesday that held Indianapolis officers don't have arresting authority because they didn't retain their sworn status following a police merger at the start of the year.Marion Superior Judge Rueben Hill decided that the January drunk driving arrest of Cheryl Oddi-Smith was illegal because the arresting officer was not sworn in after the Jan. 1 merger between the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police...
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Court rules nurse pay plan proper

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals ruled today Indiana's restructured pay plan for nurses was rational and proper, reversing the judgment of the trial court. In Madison State Hospital, Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, and State Personnel Department V. Karen L. Ferguson, 09A04-0703-CV-259, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's award of relief to Karen Ferguson. Ferguson, a Nurse Supervisor 5 at Madison State Hospital, and six other nurse supervisors, filed separate complaints with the State Employee Appeals Commission, arguing the 2000...
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IJA elects new president

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Felts was elected president of the Indiana Judges Association earlier this month. Judge Felts, along with Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, will serve as spokespersons for Indiana's judges. Judge Felts' goals for his term include continuing the association's efforts to modify and upgrade the judicial pension and benefits by aligning the 1977 and 1985 judicial pension plans and including magistrates under the plan. Currently, magistrates receive benefits separately through the Public Employees Retirement Fund. Legislative...
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High court revises burglary sentence

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reduced a burglar's sentence, finding his crime didn't justify the 40-year sentence imposed by the trial court. At issue in Steven Hollin v. State of Indiana, No. 69S01-0705-CR-188, is whether the trial court properly sentenced Hollin for his conviction of conspiracy to commit burglary and being a habitual offender.Hollin and a friend knocked on doors in Ripley County to determine if residents were home. If the home appeared empty, they planned to rob the house. Hollin and...
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COA affirms Vectren, Citizens lack of standing

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a breach-of-contract complaint filed by Vectren Energy and Citizens By-products Coal Co. against Executive Risk Specialty Insurance, finding the two companies never had standing to file the complaint because they are trying to fix alleged wrongdoings done to another company, rather than themselves.In Vectren Energy Marketing & Service, Inc., et al. v. Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Co., ProLiance Energy, LLC, et al., 82A05-0702-CV-115, Vectren and Citizens appealed the trial court's order granting Executive...
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Senate confirms Von Bokkelen for U.S. District judgeship

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A federal prosecutor in northern Indiana will be the newest member of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Hammond.The full U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen's appointment Thursday, meaning he will succeed retiring Judge Rudy Lozano who is taking senior status.President George W. Bush, who nominated the veteran trial lawyer, still needs to sign Van Bokkelen's appointment, which he could do after Judge Lozano steps down after July 10. Van Bokkelen would be sworn in...
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Court: Blakely not retroactive for PCR 2 belated appeals

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court today added fuel to the fiery question of how retroactive a landmark 2004 ruling is from the Supreme Court of the United States.Justices unanimously agreed in four cases - three of which were combined into oral arguments in March - and decided that belated appeals of sentences entered before a new constitutional rule goes into effect are not governed by that new rule.While Post Conviction Rule 2 permits belated appeals of criminal convictions and sentences under some...
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Appellate courts improving webcast functions

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
After six years on the air, Indiana's appellate courts are updating their webcast equipment to help attorneys and the public watch arguments online.When arguments start again later this month, the courts plan to stream arguments with both Windows Media and Real Player - only the latter is currently available. Officials note that a worn-out VHS player with a DVD recorder (used primarily to make copies for attorneys) will have new tilting software.The court also added a new full-time employee July 13...
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Court rules on bank interpleader case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has issued a decision on how a state statute governs recovery when a financial institution interpleads and pays into court-deposited funds that are subject to an adverse claim.A unanimous opinion came Wednesday in Porter Development, LLC v. First National Bank of Valparaiso, No.64S04-0606-CV-236, stemming from a Porter Superior case involving the bank and the development company.First National initiated the action as an interpleader, alleging it was the holder of a $100,000 certificate of deposit owned by Porter...
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DOJ files discrimination suit against Indianapolis

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The United States Department of Justice is suing Indianapolis based on allegations that the city discriminated against eight white police officers in denying them promotions.The complaint, United State of America v. City of Indianapolis, was filed in the U.S. District Court's Southern District in Indianapolis Wednesday and alleges that white female officers and black male officers on promotion eligibility lists were promoted in 2005 before other officers ranked higher. Officers alleging discrimination are Scott A. Hessong, Benjamin D. Hunter, Brandon C....
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COA finds attorney in contempt

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals issued an order Friday holding an attorney in contempt. The order came about because of questionable conduct by the court-appointed attorney. At a hearing Nov. 14, the attorney, Allen C. Mattson, admitted the allegations against him were true.Mattson was appointed to represent Michael A. Quillen in Blackford Circuit Court. Mattson was also appointed as appellate counsel for Quillen. From March 14 through July 30, 2007, Mattson filed two motions for extensions, a plea for extension of time...
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Supreme Court rules on med mal fees

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Medical malpractice attorneys are sighing in relief after a much-anticipated ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court this afternoon.Justices granted transfer and issued a per curiam opinion this afternoon on a case that had the potential to dramatically change how med mal attorneys recover fees in these types of cases.But instead of altering that, the unanimous ruling stipulates that the fee structure often used by these med mal attorneys can stand, and the court offers guidance for attorneys seeking to ensure fee...
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Lake County judge dies unexpectedly

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A Lake County judge was found dead in his home Tuesday after not showing up for morning hearings.Superior Judge Robert A. Pete, 54, apparently died of natural causes, coroner's officials told a local newspaper, and the local legal community was reeling from his unexpected death. A bailiff went to the judge's home after he didn't arrive in court or notify staff about his absence.Judge Pete was appointed to the Superior Court's Civil Division 5 courtroom in Hammond in 2001 and faced...
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Court upholds drunk ATV driver ruling

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
A driver of an ATV shouldn't be prosecuted for driving under the influence on his own property because charges were brought under the wrong statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In State of Indiana v. Adam L. Manuwal, No. 50A05-0703-CR-182, the state charged Manuwal with OWI with an alcohol concentration equivalent of at least .15 after he had crashed an ATV he was operating on his own property. Manuwal was injured as a result of the accident and while at...
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Merrillville attorney was considered foremost counsel on alcohol beverage law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana has lost an attorney considered by colleagues to be one of the most educated lawyers in the state about alcohol beverage law.Merrillville attorney Stephen M. Brenman died in his sleep early Tuesday morning. Colleagues said they were not yet aware of details and arrangements being finalized this week.Brenman, a second-generation lawyer, practiced with his son, Jeremy, at their full-service, boutique Law Offices of Stephen M. Brenman. His office is closed until Monday, according to a recording at his office today.The...
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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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