Legal News

Indianapolis lawyer wins $79M telecom verdict

February 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis lawyer won a $79 million federal jury verdict for Missouri landowners who had not been compensated for fiber optic Internet cables a telecommunications company carried on power lines that crossed their property.
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Couple needed expert testimony to show proximate cause in defective air bag suit

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A couple suing Ford Motor Company, alleging their 2003 Mercury Mountaineer was defective because the air bags did not deploy in an accident, lost their case because they failed to designate expert testimony to support their claim.
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Panel issues 3 opinions on interplay between T.R. 15(C) and 17(F)

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
While the three judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals panel agreed summary judgment was proper for an Indianapolis attorney being sued for defamation and other claims because the statute of limitations had expired, each judge interpreted the interplay between Trial Rules 15(C) and 17(F) differently.
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Man fails to prove Supreme Court would rule against established caselaw

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of an insurance adjuster’s motion to dismiss it from an injured man’s lawsuit alleging negligence in how it handled his case. The judges pointed out that the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that an insurance adjuster owes no legal duty to the insured and the plaintiff didn’t show that the Indiana Supreme Court would disagree with that decision.
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COA: Postnuptial agreement is enforceable

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
It is not a requirement that one party in a marriage must initiate divorce proceedings in order for the parties to later enter into a valid and enforceable reconciliation agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Awarded guardianship fees overturned due to potential misconduct

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because a trial court did not look at whether fees requested by a man’s former guardians were necessary, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the order they receive more than $15,000 from his estate.
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Justices vacate transfer in insurance dispute

February 11, 2015
IL Staff
A divided Indiana Supreme Court decided last week that it will no longer take an insurance case involving a landlord and tenant that also divided the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Lawyer to justices: 4th Amendment waivers require reasonable suspicion

February 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Community corrections officers should have cause before searching the home of someone who has signed a waiver of their Fourth Amendment rights as a condition of probation, a lawyer argued recently before the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Legislature tinkers with new Indiana criminal code

February 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Two different stories by two different witnesses highlighted Indiana’s continuing struggles with its new criminal code.
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Some counties funnel domestic relations cases to specific courts, others split load

February 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis legal community was divided in the early 1990s over a plan to concentrate domestic relations cases into specific courts. The proposal became a reality, but the reality became too burdensome.
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Odyssey vendor chosen to handle statewide e-filing

February 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
Tyler Technologies Inc., which contracts with the Indiana judiciary to provide the Odyssey case management system to courts around the state, has been selected as the vendor that will manage statewide e-filing in trial courts.
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Supreme Court issues order on removed Muncie judge

February 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Muncie City Court judge removed from office last month abused her authority by wrongly jailing defendants and attempting to silence critics in her courtroom, and disgraced the judiciary by using a racial slur in the streets, according to the Indiana Supreme Court order issued Tuesday.
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Amended complaint: Marion Co. sheriff re-arrests those freed

February 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
Released inmates in Indianapolis are subjected to a “standard operating procedure” of re-arrest and being held behind bars – sometimes for days – after being acquitted, freed by a judge or posting bond, alleges an amended federal complaint filed against the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
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Justices add malpractice, adoption cases to docket

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will review summary judgment in favor of healthcare providers sued for medical malpractice in a stillbirth case as well as an adoption by a grandmother who claimed a 1997 conviction for neglect of a dependant should not automatically bar her from adopting the children.
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Appeals panel reinstates med-mal case

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in granting summary judgment to a hospital and a doctor who performed a hysterectomy during which an arm board became unattached. After the patient’s arm dangled for much of the surgery, she was diagnosed with nerve damage in her arm.
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COA: Ex-husband entitled to legal fees for former wife's contempt

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The ex-husband in an acrimonious domestic relations case is entitled to $9,000 in legal fees a trial court awarded to him as well as judgments in his favor on parenting time and child support, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Double jeopardy lifts 2 of burglar’s multiple convictions

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who repeatedly broke into property and stole tools and items being used to renovate a long-vacant farmhouse likely will remain sentenced to 50 years in prison, even though the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated two of his convictions as violations of the prohibition against double jeopardy.
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Mom claims agent framed her in son's death, sues government

February 9, 2015
 Associated Press
A woman who was wrongfully convicted of murdering her 3-year-old son is suing the government and alleges a federal officer helped investigators frame her for the crime.
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Fremont Town Court judge admonished for ex parte communication

February 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Steuben County town court judge who was admonished in 2012 for improper ex parte communications for assuming the role of prosecutor in a traffic infraction in her court has been admonished again for a similar violation.
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Ex-Martin County judge pleads guilty to failing to pay income tax

February 6, 2015
IL Staff
One-time Martin Circuit judge and county prosecutor Robert J. Howell pleaded guilty Friday to charges that he failed to pay more than $66,000 in taxes on receipts from his law firm in Loogootee.
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Appeals court strips grandmother’s visitation, cites grandchild’s adoption

February 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Court of Appeals panel Friday stripped a maternal grandparent of visitation rights, finding she had no standing to seek visitation. The parents of the child had divorced, and the father remarried shortly after the mother’s death.
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Gitmo’s future to be discussed at IU McKinney

February 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Guantanamo Bay and its long-term consequences will be examined during the annual symposium of the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
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AG’s office offers guidance after Anthem hack

February 6, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
As federal authorities continue to investigate a hack of Anthem databases storing identifying details including names, addresses and Social Security numbers of about 80 million customers, the office of Attorney General Greg Zoeller released the following consumer question-and-answer for affected Hoosiers.
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Bosma unsure about future of Sunday alcohol sales bill

February 6, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The leader of the Indiana House of Representatives isn’t making any predictions on the fate of a proposal to legalize Sunday carryout alcohol sales.
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Prosecutor: 50-plus warrants issued in Evansville meth ring

February 6, 2015
 Associated Press
Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann said federal arrest warrants have been issued for more than 50 people allegedly involved in a meth-trafficking ring that funneled the drug into the area from four other states.
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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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