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Court: federal suit should have been dismissed

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The federal District Court in Indianapolis should have dismissed a suit challenging Indiana's prerecorded telephone messages statute because a state court was already considering the issue and could have provided an adequate legal remedy, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.The three-judge appellate panel also chastised U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney for concluding last October that the then-approaching 2006 congressional election was a reason for urgent attention on this issue.The 7th Circuit decision came in FreeEats.com, Inc. v. State of...
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Blanket recusal comes in Vanderburgh child-support case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Every so often, judges find they must recuse themselves in certain cases. That's happening in Vanderburgh County, where all the superior judges have been recused from a case involving the child support matters of a magistrate's son.Suzanne Hebert Hamilton is waging the child support legal battle against her ex-husband, Richard Hamilton, who is son of Vanderburgh Superior Magistrate Allen Hamilton. The couple separated in 2005 and finalized a divorce early last year. She lives in Florida with the couple's two children...
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SCOTUS deciding whether to hear teacher firing case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has asked for more information before deciding whether to accept a case involving a former Bloomington elementary school teacher fired over comments she made about the Iraq war during class.Deborah A. Mayer, who now teaches at an elementary school in Florida, lost her job after making comments to elementary students in early 2003 - just prior to the war's beginning - that she would "honk for peace" when passing war protests. Some parents later...
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Court: Collateral source rule applies in railroad award

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Contributions from a railroad company to a federal disability fund cannot be used to reduce the amount of a plaintiff's recovery, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed today.In a 30-page decision in CSX Transportation Inc. v. Robert D. Gardner, No. 49A02-0610-CV-917, the court affirmed a trial judge's decision to not allow the railroad company to use its $35,000 annual contributions to a disability and retirement fund to lower the jury-imposed amount of $605,500 in damages for Gardner's injuries.He was working as...
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Supreme Court suspends attorneys for unmet CLE

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court suspended 111 attorneys this week for failing to meet their continuing legal education requirements last year.Justices issued an order In the Matter of Failure to Comply with Continuing Legal Education Requirements on Tuesday. Though effective immediately, it stipulates that attorneys' proscription against practicing law begins at 11:59 p.m. June 11.A total 41 attorneys based out of state are suspended, followed by 26 in Marion County, eight in Hamilton County, five in Monroe County, four in Allen County, three...
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Suit: School district violating teachers' rights

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A federal suit filed this week in Indianapolis accuses a school district of violating teachers' constitutional rights by blocking access to two political Web sites relating to the board's actions and removal of the superintendent.This is the third suit lodged against the Perry Township School Board since November, when the board voted to place Superintendent H. Douglas Williams on paid administrative leave pending a review of his performance.Filed by Perry Education Association President Terry Rice and Southport Elementary School teacher Sherrie Williamson,...
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Commission interviews COA applicants

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Judicial Nominating Commission conducted its first round of interviews today for the Indiana Court of Appeals vacancy that will be created by Judge John T. Sharpnack's retirement in May 2008.Fifteen people from Indiana's legal community applied for the appellate court seat.Nine applicants sat before the commission this morning, including three trial judges, a senator, and the heads of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and Indiana Gaming Commission. Interviews started at 9 a.m. and ran until mid-afternoon, all conducted in a...
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First arrest made in Southern District under child protection act

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
A sex offender from Iowa who recently moved to southern Indiana has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis for failure to register as a sex offender.Jeffrey L. Wilcox, 41, formerly of Des Moines, Iowa, is the first person charged in the Southern District of Indiana under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. The act imposes criminal penalties against sex offenders who travel across state boundaries without registering as a sex offender in the state they reside,...
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Judges rule on New Albany land case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Debate over land once earmarked for the 1960s expansion of Interstate 64 through New Albany has gone to the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled today in that case.The three-judge panel ruled in Donald Jensen, et al. v. The City of New Albany, et al., holding that a reversionary clause in a 1960 deed was unenforceable after land was transferred to the state more than four decades ago.Land in question was 5.82 acres known as the Fawcett property, which the original...
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Project PEACE training postponed; no new date announced

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
 This summer's training for Project PEACE - Peaceful Endings through Attorneys, Children, and Education - originally scheduled for July 16-18, has been canceled because of a lack of registrations from teachers. An extended deadline failed to draw any more registrations. The training might be rescheduled for sometime after the start of the 2007-08 school year. Project PEACE is a peer mediation program implemented by the Indiana Department of Education with support from the Indiana State Bar Association and the Indiana Attorney...
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Committee questions Van Bokkelen at confirmation hearing

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Northern Indiana ;s U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen faced the U.S. Senate ;s Judiciary Committee this morning in his confirmation hearing for a federal judgeship opening in Hammond this summer.President George W. Bush nominated Von Bokkelen to replace retiring Judge Rudy Lozano, who plans to take senior status in July.During the hearing, Von Bokkelen and three other nominees for judgeships: Debra Ann Livingston for 2nd Circuit judge, Roslynn Renee Mauskopf for district judgeship in the Eastern District of New York, and...
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Court affirms murder sentence

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court today affirmed the life sentence of a man convicted of killing a 10-year-old girl in Jackson County.A unanimous opinion in Anthony Stockelman v. State of Indiana, 36S00-0608-CR-285, affirmed the trial court was correct in weighing aggravators more heavily than proffered mitigators and that the sentence of life without parole was appropriate.Stockelman pleaded guilty to charges of murder and child molesting arising out of Katlyn Maria Collman's murder in Crothersville in January 2005. Following her disappearance, state police...
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COA affirms mistrial denial

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court's decision to deny a motion for mistrial and affirmed the defendant's conviction and sentence. In Michael Hale v. State of Indiana, 43A05-0611-CR-647, Hale appealed his conviction for dealing in cocaine as a Class A felony and his 50-year sentence. He claimed the trial court erred in denying his motion for mistrial because he argued testimony from a witness implied Hale was previously involved in drug activity. Lance Patrick and Josh Hamilton were asked...
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Court of Appeals again denies prisoner's suit

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Yet another one of Westville prisoner Eric Smith's lawsuits has made its way to the Court of Appeals.In an opinion released today, Eric Smith v. Indiana Department of Correction, et al., 46A03-0607-CV-327, the Court of Appeals affirms the trial court's decision of case 46D03-0410-CT-365.Pro se, Smith filed the complaint against the Department of Correction and numerous individual employees regarding the grant of the Department of Corrections motion for judgment on the pleadings, the denial of Smith's request for appointment of counsel, the...
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Commission votes on court-related recommendations to lawmakers

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A handful of Hoosier counties got a nod from a legislative study commission for new courts and judicial resources this week, and those recommendations will now go to lawmakers for consideration in the next General Assembly session.The Commission on Courts met Monday to discuss and vote on several measures that include new courts or judicial officers, but Marion County and the Indiana Court of Appeals are not on the list of recommendations.The commission did not bring up or vote on a...
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Murder suspect wants change of venue

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The suspect in the stabbing death of a 14-year-old Columbus girl last month has asked a judge for a change of venue for his trial. Demetrick Shepherd, who is being held in Bartholomew County jail for the murder of Chelsea Porter, wants his trial to be moved out of the county because he believes he won't receive a fair trial because of the press coverage of the case. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 4.If a change of venue isn't granted,...
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Supreme Court grants 5 transfers

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's top jurists granted transfer Wednesday in five cases and will consider issues involving physicians who leave foreign objects in a patient's body, parental termination hearings conducted without the parent, timely court-filing deadlines, and the sentencing options courts have after probation violations.In Russell Prewitt v. State of Indiana, No. 10A04-0610-CR-589, the Court of Appeals in April reversed a Clark County case in which the judge revised a sentence after the defendant violated his probation. The appellate judges held that the lower...
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Indianapolis lawyer chosen for judicial commissions

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Attorney John C. Trimble, a partner at Indianapolis firm Lewis Wagner, has been chosen to be one of the newest members on two key judicial commissions focused on nominating new appellate judges and ethical, qualification issues for judges statewide.Starting in January, Trimble will be one of seven voices on the Judicial Nominating and Qualifications commissions. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard chairs the commissions, which include the same members. State law requires that three commissioners be attorneys while three others are lay...
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Oxford professor speaks Sept. 12 at IU-Bloomington

January 1, 2007
IL Staff
University of Oxford professor Jonathan Herring will present a lecture - "Entering the Fog: On the Borderlines of Mental Capacity" - for the public Sept. 12 at noon in the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington moot court room.Herring is on campus as Indiana Law's George P. Smith II Distinguished Visiting Professor-Chair through Sept. 15.He has authored leading texts in family and medical law, and his research in these areas covers hot-button topics including the regulation of pregnancy and enforced...
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Legal malpractice claims not assignable

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
In an Indiana Supreme Court ruling, the majority of justices held that legal malpractice claims are not assignable and courts cannot require a person to assign his or her chose in action. In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Ruth Estep, Personal Representative of the Estate of Ewing Dan Estep, and Assignee of Rights of James D. Perkins, the high court yesterday reversed the trial court's order during proceedings supplemental forcing James Perkins' assignment of any potential chose in action against...
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Circuit slams immigration appeals board

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued an immigration ruling today reiterating a message that the justice department isn't giving asylum cases enough review.The opinion is one of an already long list of examples where Circuit Courts slam the nation's immigration court system, a mostly administrative process flowing through the U.S. Department of Justice. The 7th Circuit has been especially critical of the system.In its three-page decision in Hanna Youssef Mekhael v. Michael B. Mukasey, No. 06-4285, opinion author Judge...
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Bloomington students win national competitions

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Two Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington students have recently won national contests for their writings, according to the school ;s weekly e-mail newsletter, Indiana Law Annotated.Doug Hass and Matthew Lawless, both 2Ls, will have their articles published later this year in the legal journals that conducted the competitions.Hass ; article, "The Never-Was-Neutral Net and Why Informed End Users Can End the Net Neutrality Debates," is the winner of The Berkeley Technology Law Journal ;s 2007 Writing Competition. Hass ;...
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LCBA members speak out about court system in survey

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
The Lake County Bar Association has released the unofficial survey results from its April 13 Bench and Bar Conference. The results, available as a PDF file, are available on the LCBA's Web site, www.lakecountybar.com or http://www.lakecountybar.com/Survey_Results1_unofficial.pdf. The survey asked 124 respondents if city and town courts should be abolished and replaced with a lesser number of full-time Superior Courts to perform the same functions (no: 91 votes; yes: 35 votes); whether any Superior or Circuit courts should relocate to other...
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Electronics banned in Allen County: Courthouse employees and attorneys who obtain court-approved photo ID cards will be exempt.

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
   In fall 2003, various gyms around the country and around the world made headlines when they started implementing bans on camera phones so that patrons wouldn ;t take photos of other patrons in embarrassing situations like changing in the locker room, finishing that last crunch, or breaking a sweat on the treadmill.    While courthouses can cause some people to break into a sweat, the similarities end there. However, more and more courthouses are starting to ban cell phones and electronic...
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Senate prayer draws ACLU's criticism

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers met Tuesday for what is known as Organization Day, the first day of its 2008 session.But the mostly ceremonial day wasn't without drama because the opening moments of one legislative body have sparked threats of a potential lawsuit reminiscent of a two-year-old federal suit that continues playing out in appeals. Indiana may soon see the second round of a legal battle involving legislative prayer.The Indiana Senate opened its proceedings with a prayer to Jesus Christ, with Senate President Pro Tempore...
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  3. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  4. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

  5. Once again Indiana has not only shown what little respect it has for animals, but how little respect it has for the welfare of the citizens of the state. Dumping manure in a pond will most certainly pollute the environment and ground water. Who thought of this spiffy plan? No doubt the livestock industry. So all the citizens of Indiana have to suffer pollution for the gain of a few livestock producers who are only concerned about their own profits at the expense of everyone else who lives in this State. Shame on the Environmental Rules Board!

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