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Supreme Court divided on marijuana case, denies transfer

July 5, 2017
Olivia Covington
A deadlocked decision on whether to hear a case involving Fourth Amendment and similar state rights has led the Indiana Supreme Court to deny transfer to the case, with two justices dissenting on the denial of transfer.
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Law firm mergers continue at record pace

July 5, 2017
IL Staff
This year might be one for the record books. According to Altman Weil Inc., 2017 is shaping up as a record year for U.S. law firm mergers and acquisitions.
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Divided COA rules campaign flyer was protected speech

July 5, 2017
Olivia Covington
Summary judgment in a political defamation suit has been affirmed after a divided Indiana Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that language included on a campaign flyer is considered protected speech under the Anti-SLAAP statute.
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State challenges COA ruling that suspended death penalty

July 5, 2017
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals decision that suspended executions in the state violated the separation of powers and resulted in new, unintended burdens that could lead to “dysfunction” in carrying out executions, the state argues in seeking an appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Sheriff starts group to deal with overcrowded county jails

July 5, 2017
 Associated Press
An Indiana sheriff says state lawmakers must address the issue of overcrowded and understaffed county jails.
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Indiana will likely go to court over online sales tax

July 5, 2017
 Associated Press
Indiana lawmakers passed a law this spring claiming the state has a right to collect sales taxes from companies using only online transactions. But a 25-year-old U.S. Supreme Court case prohibits states from collecting sales tax from businesses unless they've got a physical presence in the state.
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Monarch loses federal challenge seeking to wholesale liquor

July 5, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
Indianapolis-based Monarch Beverage Co.’s attempt to obtain a wholesale liquor permit rests with the Indiana Supreme Court after its federal challenge to Indiana law was rejected by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday.
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Debt-collection exec sentenced to more than 4 years in prison

June 30, 2017
Indianapolis Business Journal
Todd Wolfe, who was indicted on federal fraud charges in 2015 following the collapse of Fishers collection agency Deca Financial Services LLC, has been sentenced to 51 months in prison.
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More court challenges expected for Trump's new travel ban

June 30, 2017
 Associated Press
A scaled-back version of President Donald Trump's travel ban is now in force, stripped of provisions that brought protests and chaos at airports worldwide in January yet still likely to generate a new round of court fights.
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Justice Department gives up Washington Redskins name fight

June 30, 2017
 Associated Press
The Justice Department is giving up the legal fight over the name of the Washington Redskins.
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Southern District to block e-filing by lawyers not in good standing

June 30, 2017
IL Staff
Lawyers not in good standing with the federal bar for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will be blocked from electronic filing under rule changes taking effect July 1. A separate new rule aims to protect cooperating defendants who plead guilty.
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Trump commission on voting fraud asks states for voter data

June 30, 2017
 Associated Press, IL Staff
President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public. Indiana and several other states have said they won't give data to the panel.
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Citizens Action Coalition sues for state records on Carrier deal

June 30, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
A complaint filed Friday in Marion County by Citizens Action Coalition alleges that the governor’s office has violated the Indiana Access to Public Records Act by not providing the grass-roots consumer group documents it wants about Vice President and former Gov. Mike Pence’s communications involving Carrier Corp. and United Technologies.
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Justices affirm teen’s 60-year sentence for assault on jogger

June 29, 2017
The Indiana Supreme Court declined to revise a teenager’s sentence for attempting to rape a woman running in Fort Wayne in 2012, finding the 60-year sentence is not inappropriate.
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Justices reverse teen’s handgun conviction

June 29, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
Finding police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop an 18-year-old male who was in a high-crime area where a shooting had occurred days earlier by a group of youths, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed his conviction of misdemeanor possession of a handgun without a license.
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Court affirms firearms conviction after warrantless search

June 29, 2017
Dave Stafford
Evidence that a felon possessed firearms was properly admitted in his criminal case even though authorities lacked a search warrant, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday. Authorities relied on permission to search from the man’s live-in girlfriend who said he had sexually assaulted her daughter and placed her in fear for her safety.
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80-year sentence upheld for man convicted of killing IU student

June 29, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals declined to revise the 80-year sentence handed down by a Brown County judge for the murder of an Indiana University student two years ago.
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DCS did not have sufficient evidence for CHINS adjudication

June 29, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services failed to present any evidence that a newborn’s mother did not have stable housing or that her actions seriously endangered her child, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in reversing a child in need of services adjudication.
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Indiana Supreme Court gets additional funding for WINGS efforts

June 29, 2017
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is receiving another award from the American Bar Association to help expand its adult guardianship reform efforts and start a pilot project in Wayne County.
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Holcomb bars criminal history question for most state job applicants

June 29, 2017
IL Staff
Applicants for state jobs in the executive branch will no longer be asked if they have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.
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Indiana mother sentenced to 130 years for killing children

June 29, 2017
 Associated Press
A judge has ordered an Indiana woman who admitted to fatally smothering her two children to undergo mental health treatment before going to prison under a 130-year sentence.
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Arkansas birth certificate ruling could impact Indiana

June 29, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
As lesbian married couples in Indiana wait on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule whether both mothers can be listed on their children’s birth certificates, the Supreme Court of the United States may have just decided the outcome of the case.
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Federal judge blocks parts of Indiana's new abortion law

June 29, 2017
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A federal judge on Wednesday blocked portions of a new Indiana law that would make it tougher for girls under age 18 to get an abortion without their parents' knowledge.
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Judge charged with violating Code of Judicial Conduct

June 28, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A Blackford County judge has been charged with judicial misconduct related to his banning the court clerk from the county courthouse and threatening to arrest and possibly incarcerate her if she even stepped on the sidewalks surrounding the property.
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State senator faces attorney discipline over handling of estates

June 28, 2017
A northern Indiana state senator faces a formal attorney discipline complaint that alleges she mishandled an estate she represented. The complaint also seeks discipline for 21 other delinquent estates in which she was attorney of record, some dating back decades.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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