Laws

Judge finds Marion County judicial election system unconstitutional

October 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ruled that the statute outlining how Marion Superior judges are elected is unconstitutional. Because a stay has been issued, the ruling will not impact next month’s election.
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Court: Father’s failure to timely register implies consent to adoption

September 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the adoption of a child by the maternal grandfather after finding the purported father irrevocably implied consent after failing to timely register with the Indiana Putative Father Registry.
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COA: Letter satisfied notice requirements after city damages pipeline

September 26, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the denial of the city of Plymouth’s motion to dismiss an administrative action against it stemming from damages it caused to an underground natural gas pipeline. The appeals court found the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission satisfied the statutory and administrative requirements concerning notice of the violation and recommended penalties.
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Annexation called ‘legalized bullying’ during interim study committee meeting

September 25, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Property owners told Indiana legislators Sept. 24 that despite the General Assembly’s continual tinkering with the state’s annexation statute, the process still favors municipalities by giving them all the power to take the land they want without considering the owners’ wishes.
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Line blurs on intoxication

September 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Convictions for public intoxication don’t just require being pickled in public anymore. An inebriated person now has to do something else, but conduct elements added to the criminal statute in 2012 have blurred what constitutes a misdemeanor.
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Court declines to review drug sentence based on new criminal code

September 11, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to dealing in oxycodone couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his sentence should be reconsidered based on the revised criminal code that took effect July 1.
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Justices hear constitutional challenge to right-to-work law

September 4, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana’s right-to-work statute is clearly anti-union, one state Supreme Court justice said Thursday, but all five justices seemed dubious of arguments that it violated the state constitution.
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State can exclude fuel ethanol plants from ‘chemical process plant’ classification

September 3, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed the decision by state environmental agencies to no longer consider fuel ethanol plants to be a “chemical process plant” under the Clean Air Act. By removing fuel ethanol plants from this classification, those plants may not be subject to stricter regulations.
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Divided 7th Circuit affirms dismissal of RTW challenge

September 2, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A split panel on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the decision by a federal judge in northern Indiana to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a union challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law. The majority concluded the law does not violate the union members’ rights under the U.S. Constitution nor is it preempted by federal labor legislation.
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Fee cap provision in Med Mal Act does not reduce fund’s liability

August 27, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has sided with an estate in a dispute over whether the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act's cap on attorney fees from a Patient Compensation Fund award also applies to reduce the fund’s liability. The issue is one of first impression in Indiana.
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Journey’s Account Statute applies to proposed medical malpractice complaint

August 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday affirmed that the Journey’s Account Statute applies to revive a proposed medical malpractice complaint filed on behalf of a woman’s granddaughter as her guardian.
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7th Circuit declines to overturn mine’s fine for safety violation

August 13, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the petition for judicial review filed by a company that runs a southern Indiana mine, finding sufficient evidence supports fining the company for violating federal regulation requiring a protective mound along an elevated roadway.
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Second court knocks out Indiana's labor law on constitutional grounds

August 13, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Two years after Indiana’s right-to-work law fought its way out of the Statehouse, the measure has suffered another knockout blow in a state court. Plaintiffs have successfully convinced two courts that the Indiana Constitution has given the controversial statute a glass jaw.
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Tough anti-abortion laws examined in federal court

August 8, 2014
 Associated Press
Even with legislatures in summer recess, there's no lull in the battle over state anti-abortion laws as several federal courts decide whether to uphold or strike down some of the most sweeping measures.
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Court clarifies ‘known claim’ exclusion applies in insurance coverage dispute

August 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted rehearing to a case involving a dispute over coverage for environmental contamination and found that the "known claim” exclusion applies, not the known loss doctrine.
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Supreme Court committee studying alternatives to bail

July 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Committee to Study Evidence-Based Pretrial Release was established by Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson in December 2013. The Supreme Court wants a study and evaluation of the risk-assessment tools that are available to determine when pretrial release is appropriate and under what conditions.
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Same-sex couples ask Social Security Administration to recognize their Indiana marriage

July 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A pair of Indiana same-sex couples who were married in June have asked the U.S. Social Security Administration to recognize their marriages.
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Lake Co. judge strikes down Indiana right-to-work

July 24, 2014
 Associated Press
A Lake County judge struck down Indiana's right-to-work ban on certain union fees in a second legal blow to the contentious law passed in 2012.
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Statute does not allow for deferral of dealing marijuana charge

July 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that I.C. 35-48-4-12 would run afoul of double jeopardy or collateral estoppel if the court defers his marijuana possession charge but not his charge of dealing marijuana.
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Ice cold beer? Not here

July 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The challenge to Indiana cold beer regulation continues in state court and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit: Indiana's marriage solemnization statute violates Constitution

July 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding that Indiana’s statute specifying who many solemnize marriage “discriminates arbitrarily among religious and ethical beliefs,” the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the state must allow certified secular humanist celebrants to perform wedding ceremonies.
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Kentucky gay marriage ban nixed, but no weddings yet

July 3, 2014
 Associated Press
Gay marriage advocates nationwide heralded the ruling striking down deeply conservative Kentucky's ban on same-sex marriage as a significant milestone, though matrimonies won't begin in earnest there anytime soon.
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Counties worry about cost of criminal code changes

July 2, 2014
 Associated Press
Sweeping changes to Indiana's criminal code took effect Tuesday that will send more low-level, nonviolent criminals to community corrections programs and jails instead of state prisons, causing concern by some about the financial burden it will put on counties.
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Transition period starting as new criminal code takes effect

July 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Criminal court judges in Indiana have now begun instituting the most comprehensive overhaul to the state’s criminal code in more than 30 years.
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Drunk man who ran into woman rightfully convicted

July 1, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday affirmed the public intoxication conviction of a man who showed signs of being drunk and walked into a woman as he left an Indianapolis nightclub, prompting a response from nearby police.
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  1. 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?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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