Legal News

Death penalty sought in suspected serial killings

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
Prosecutors in Crown Point are seeking the death penalty against a Gary man charged in the slayings of two women and suspected in the deaths of five others.
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Hope town marshal to spend 2 weeks in jail

April 17, 2015
 Associated Press
A southern Indiana town marshal will spend two weeks in jail after a jury in Columbus convicted him of felony misconduct and misdemeanor false informing.
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IU McKinney hosts summer program for undergrads to explore legal careers

April 16, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law is looking for current college students who have an interest in pursuing a legal career for its 2015 Summer Law and Leadership Academy.
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Chief Justice John Roberts not picked for jury duty

April 16, 2015
 Bloomberg News
It doesn't matter how high up you are: You'll still get called for jury duty.
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Court skeptical of challenge to Obama's climate change plan

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
Two out of three judges on a federal appeals court panel are expressing doubts about a legal challenge to the Obama administration's far-reaching plan to address climate change.
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Court must consider man’s self-defense claim at new bail hearing

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant accused of murder must be allowed to present evidence and witnesses at a bail hearing in an endeavor to rebut the state's burden that the defendant likely committed murder, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. Since that did not happen in James Satterfield's case, the judges remanded the matter for further proceedings.
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Judges order home invasion sentence lowered

April 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Noting that a defendant who broke in to an elderly couple's home and beat the husband would have received a lesser sentence if he had actually killed the victim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered Jeffrey Hunt's 120-year sentence revised.
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Judge lets amputee's lawsuit against Indiana sheriff continue

April 16, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has greenlighted a federal lawsuit brought against a central Indiana jail by an amputee who fell from an upper bunk and was injured when he damaged his prosthetic leg.
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Councilors allegedly offered millions in projects for justice center votes

April 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis City-County Council Chief Financial Officer Bart Brown said councilors have told him they’ve been offered up to $50 million in projects spread among five districts if they vote to approve the proposed $1.6 billion criminal justice complex.
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Sewer company entitled to attorney fees over frivolous appeal

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Three people required to connect their properties to a not-for-profit sewer company – who later were held in contempt for not doing so – must pay appellate attorney fees to the sewer company because the individuals sought to re-litigate the judgments instead of challenge the contempt orders.
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7th Circuit: No plain error in not applying 'safety valve' in sentencing

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Whether firearms belonging to co-conspirators in a drug ring attributed to a defendant for purposes of the firearm sentence enhancement can be considered for a two-level reduction in her offense level under the so-called “safety valve” for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders is a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the judges declined to address the issue because the woman failed to raise it at sentencing.
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Records: Ex-IPFW chancellor, Purdue settled suit for $52,500

April 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Documents say Purdue University paid $52,500 to a former Fort Wayne campus chancellor in a settlement over an age discrimination lawsuit.
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Murderer’s writ for relief denied by 7th Circuit

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
For the fourth time, a northern Indiana man’s appeal of his death sentence for four murders has come before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. This time, the judges affirmed the denial of his writ for habeas corpus.
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Denial of expungement of child neglect case upheld by judges

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A woman seeking to expunge a substantiated report of child neglect in order to keep her job as a cook at a child care provider did not meet the necessary statutory requirements to grant the expungement, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Wednesday in a case of first impression.
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Man’s challenges to admonition waived because he did not object at trial

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man convicted of battering and strangling his daughter's boyfriend did not object to an admonition given to the jury over statements made during his testimony, so he waived appellate review of his arguments, the Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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COA affirms Evansville police officer’s firing for grabbing teen’s crotch

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A longtime Evansville police officer who was fired for rule violations after he grabbed a teen’s crotch at a school where the officer also worked as a security officer lost the appeal of his termination before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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New concussions deal with NCAA proposed

April 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Filings in U.S. District Court in Chicago late Tuesday night notified a federal judge that there was a new proposed settlement for a head injury lawsuit against the NCAA brought by football players and other college athletes.
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Court upholds sentence but orders judgment corrected

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man sentenced for rape and other crimes in 1989 sought to have his sentence corrected nearly 25 years later, but the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court that the sentence imposed did not need revised.
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COA rules in favor of previous site owner in environmental contamination suit

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A company seeking to recover environmental cleanup costs of a commercial real estate site from a previous owner who operated a film processing company failed to prove that the previous owner caused or contributed to the site's contamination, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday.
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IU Maurer partners with 5 more schools for scholarships

April 14, 2015
IL Staff
Indiana University Maurer School of Law announced Tuesday that it has signed partnerships expanding its scholarship and mentoring program with five Midwestern colleges and universities, including DePauw University in Greencastle.
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COA: Company sought to prevent competition, not protect trade secret

April 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of a directed verdict in favor of the defendants in a lawsuit alleging they divulged confidential information and trade secrets after departing a computer systems company and began working for a competitor.
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Purdue spent $320K fighting discrimination lawsuits

April 14, 2015
 Associated Press
Purdue University spent more than $320,000 in legal fees battling state and federal lawsuits filed by the former chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
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COA agrees lawsuit may continue in Indiana under Journey’s Account Statute

April 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a plaintiff in a lawsuit stemming from a car accident in Indiana used bad judgment when he filed the suit in federal court in Illinois, where he lives, there was no error by a Tippecanoe County court to allow the lawsuit to later proceed when filed there based on the Journey’s Account Statute, ruled the Court of Appeals.
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Law firms raise $39,000 for Lung Association

April 13, 2015
IL Staff
Indianapolis law firms smashed a fundraising goal of $35,000, raising more than $39,000 in the annual American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb Law Firm Challenge. Teams collected donations and climbed to the top of downtown Indy's Chase Tower.
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Evansville residency ordinance hearing to be broadcast

April 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush has approved a Vanderburgh Superior judge’s request that an en banc hearing be held regarding an ordinance passed last year that says a person appointed to a board serving the city of Evansville must live in the city.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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