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Split 7th Circuit allows death penalty challenge asserting intellectual disability

May 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A killer sentenced in Texas and awaiting execution on federal death row in Terre Haute will be allowed to proceed with efforts to present new evidence of intellectual disability that would make him ineligible for capital punishment, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals en banc review determined in a 6-5 opinion.
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Legislation protects county assessments on big-box stores

May 4, 2015
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
A new measure on the taxation of big-box stores is expected to help Indiana counties avoid fiscal disaster, but national retailers aren't happy about it.
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Religious freedom turmoil likely to spill into next year

May 4, 2015
 Associated Press
The colorful fliers passed out by aides to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma last week highlighted what both called numerous accomplishments of this year's legislative session.
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2015 Law Day celebrates the Magna Carta

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
This year’s Law Day recognizes the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and its theme: No one is above the law.
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2014 law school grads see slight uptick in employment

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
National data released by the American Bar Association shows that the Class of 2014 has a slightly larger percentage of its graduates employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage as compared with the Class of 2013.
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Indiana Tech Law School slips in first round of accreditation

May 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Tech Law School has failed to convince the American Bar Association to give provisional accreditation to its program, handing the Fort Wayne school a setback and raising questions about its students’ futures.
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Judge, attorney credited for robust recovery for victims of securities fraud

May 1, 2015
Greg Andrews, IBJ Staff
The more than 90 investors who lost $9.7 million in a securities fraud perpetrated by Fishers hedge fund manager Keenan Hauke will recover about 33 percent of their losses - a far better outcome than is typical in cases of its kind.
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Fugitive former Indiana surgeon caught in Arizona

May 1, 2015
 Associated Press
Authorities say a fugitive former surgeon convicted of stalking his ex-wife in Indiana has been caught in Arizona.
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Fort Wayne attorney named new Allen Superior magistrate

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
A private practice attorney and former Indiana Department of Child Services attorney has been chosen as magistrate judge in Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division.
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COA orders judgment in favor of woman on adverse possession claim

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because there is evidence that both the woman who purchased land from a trust and the trustee paid taxes on a disputed 1.8 acres of land for at least 10 years, the woman’s claim for adverse possession of the land should be granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Court OKs admission of tweets, reverses criminal gang activity conviction

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression regarding the authentication of social media posts, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the testimony from the defendant's girlfriend that the Twitter account belonged to her boyfriend, as well as content from that account, sufficiently showed the defendant was the author of its tweets.
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Man’s conviction from controlled drug buy upheld

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson man who was criminally convicted for selling drugs to a confidential informant waived both his arguments on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. And, the judges found no fundamental error in a jury instruction given or the admission of cash found on the defendant by police.
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COA orders woman’s sentence revised to include credit time

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that a trial court incorrectly calculated the sentence a woman should serve in the Department of Correction after she had her probation revoked.
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Terre Haute attorney to receive ITLA Lifetime Achievement Award

April 30, 2015
IL Staff
Terre Haute attorney Stephen L. Williams will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He is being recognized for his distinguished service to the organization and dedication to preserving the rights of the injured.
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Revised sentence modification statute not applicable in defendant’s case

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not err in denying a man’s petition to modify his sentence after finding that the current version of the sentencing modification statute is not applicable to his sentence, which he began serving in 1989. The Indiana Court of Appeals panel relied on a January decision by its colleagues to affirm the denial of Mitchell Swallows’ petition.
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Judicial campaign solicitation ban upheld by SCOTUS

April 30, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A divided Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions, leaving intact bans in 30 states.
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Lawmakers pass Marion Co. small claims reforms

April 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
The General Assembly Wednesday afternoon passed modest reforms of the nine township small claims courts in Marion County, a far cry from recommendations of multiple judicial studies to restructure the courts.
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Appellate court records make switch to Odyssey May 4

April 29, 2015
IL Staff
Beginning next week, basic case information on appeals before the Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will be available to the public through the Odyssey docket. The Indiana Tax Court made the switch in December.
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Wiretap evidence properly admitted at murder trial

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's conviction of murdering his stepfather, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting wiretap evidence in which the defendant told a friend he was involved in the killing.
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Justices affirm upward deviation from child support guidelines

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not commit clear error when it deviated from the Indiana Child Support Guidelines by not granting a father the full parenting time credit calculated and allowed his ex-wife to claim their child each year on her taxes, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The justices also outlined the best practices to be used when a trial court conducts summary proceedings.
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Brothers’ murder convictions upheld by COA

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Two brothers convicted in the murder of a man with whom they previously had an altercation are not entitled to a new trial based on one juror's concerns for her safety after recognizing someone sitting in the gallery, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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3 brothers plead guilty to massive biofuels scam

April 29, 2015
IBJ Staff
Three brothers have pleaded guilty to participating in a biofuels scam that federal investigators are calling “one of the largest tax and securities fraud schemes in Indiana history."
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Mother-daughter home rehab team gets s shot at HGTV gig

April 29, 2015
Scott Olson
An Indianapolis attorney and her daughter who rehab homes in the Fountain Square neighborhood are getting a shot at the national spotlight. If it takes off, Karen Jensen says she'd have to shut down her practice to accommodate filming.
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COA affirms new trial on motorcyclist’s negligence claim

April 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it set aside a jury verdict allocating 70 percent of fault to a motorcyclist who hit a dog that darted in front of his bike, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The motorcyclist was injured in the accident and sued the dog's owners.
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Appeals court declines to revise battery sentence

April 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a trial court did not specify why it imposed consecutive sentences for a man convicted of two counts of battery - one as a Level 6 felony and the other a Class A misdemeanor - the Indiana Court of Appeals found the rationale for consecutive sentences is apparent on the face of the record.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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