Legal News

Bailiff’s communication with juror leads to reversal of convictions

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The bailiff at a man’s trial for criminal recklessness and resisting law enforcement improperly communicated with the jury foreperson regarding reaching a verdict, leading the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse Jason Lee Sowers’ convictions.
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COA: Man knowingly pleaded guilty to fraud charge

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court correctly denied relief to a man on his felony fraud conviction after determining that his felony failure to register conviction should be vacated, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. Anthony McCullough pleaded guilty to the separate charges in one agreement.
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Indianapolis law firm Stewart & Irwin closing

May 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis law firm with a broad range of representation and diverse clientele plans to close its doors after more than 90 years.
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COA rules for first time on retroactivity of Mineral Lapse Act

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has held that a portion of the Mineral Lapse Act is limited in its retroactive application to only the 20-year period immediately proceeding the Sept. 2, 1971, effective date of the Act.
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US Chief Justice Roberts to speak at LaPorte alma mater

May 15, 2013
IL Staff
United States Chief Justice John G. Roberts will find himself in a familiar place later this month when he delivers the commencement speech at La Lumiere School in LaPorte. Roberts is a 1973 graduate of the school.
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Court reform grant applications due July 1

May 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Courts that would like financial help to implement recommended improvements have until July 1 to apply for grants from the Division of State Court Administration.
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Justices rule in favor of Vincennes Girl Scouts in dispute over camp

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 32-17-10-2 is unconstitutional as applied retroactively to a land-use restriction in a Vincennes Girl Scout organization’s deed requiring an Illinois Girl Scout group to use deeded land as a camp for 49 years.
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Convenience stores sue to be able to sell cold beer

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association has filed a complaint in federal court challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer. Convenience stores, pharmacies and groceries are unable to sell cold beer under current law.
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Justices: Punitive damages cap, allocation do not violate Indiana Constitution

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously reversed a Marion Superior judge’s 2011 decision in a sex-abuse case that held the statutes that cap punitive damages and dictate their allocation violate the Indiana Constitution.
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Father’s testimony at molestation trial not fundamental error

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Lake County man’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting, rejecting the defendant’s claims that some of the victim’s father’s testimony at trial resulted in fundamental error.
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Man gets 90 years for murder of girlfriend

May 14, 2013
IL Staff
St. Joseph Superior Judge Jerome Frese sentenced a South Bend man to 90 years for murdering his girlfriend in October 2009. This is the second time Brice Webb has been convicted and sentenced for Cherlyn Reyes’ death.
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Carr’s formal swearing in as bankruptcy judge Tuesday

May 14, 2013
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will hold the investiture ceremony for U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James M. Carr Tuesday at the Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Indianapolis.
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Justices take commitment case involving man with Alzheimer’s disease

May 13, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will take a case that divided the Court of Appeals: whether a trial court is required to have a man with Alzheimer’s disease committed once an incompetency finding is made.
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Governor signs JTAC, workers’ comp bills into law

May 13, 2013
IL Staff
The Division of State Court Administration’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee will see a temporary boost in funding for its Odyssey case management system under a new law signed by Gov. Mike Pence.
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Former Marion County deputy prosecutor agrees to plead guilty to bribery

May 13, 2013
Cory Schouten
The top deputy under former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge for his role in the early release of a woman convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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Indiana gets positive verdict from mock trial visitors

May 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Two teams from the West swept the 2013 National High School Mock Trial Championship, but Indianapolis and the Indiana legal community made the best impression.
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SCOTUS rules against Indiana farmer in seed patent case

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A unanimous Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that patent exhaustion doesn’t allow a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission.
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Man’s prior conviction doesn’t render him a career offender

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s habeas petition, finding his conviction of arson in the third degree in Delaware doesn’t qualify as a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. Section 4B.1. As such, his current sentence should be reduced to reflect he isn’t a career offender.
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State not trying to circumvent adverse ruling in refiling charges

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s felony cocaine dealing conviction, finding the state, when originally dismissing charges and then later refiling them, was not trying to avoid an adverse ruling that barred testimony of a confidential informant.
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Denial of post-conviction relief upheld by COA

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even if the Indiana Court of Appeals was to assume that a defendant’s trial counsel performed below prevailing professional norms by not explaining the potential immigration consequences of his guilty plea, the judges ruled the defendant wasn’t prejudiced because the trial court explained those consequences.
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COA to trial judges: enter restitution orders at sentencing

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals sent a case in ‘procedural limbo’ back to trial court to enter a restitution order within 30 days, which will allow the defendant to appeal his aggravated battery conviction. The appellate judges also advised trial courts on the pitfalls of postponing ordering restitution when ordering a sentence.
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Pence signs into law changes to sex offender registry

May 10, 2013
IL Staff
Changes are coming to Indiana’s sex offender registry, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Mike Pence Thursday.
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Judicial candidate barred from office for 5 years

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The attorney who made statements regarding Franklin Circuit Judge Steven Cox’s release of a prisoner during the time she was challenging him for his spot on the bench last fall cannot seek judicial office for five years, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The justices also publicly reprimanded Tammy R. Davis of Brookville.
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  1. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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