Legal News

‘Spice’ law void for vagueness, divided panels rule

January 27, 2015
Dave Stafford
Divided Court of Appeals panels found Indiana’s “spice” law void for vagueness in two separate cases Tuesday.
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Panel backs religion-based hiring by Indiana contractors

January 27, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indiana legislative panel has endorsed a bill allowing religious institutions that receive state and local government contracts to make hiring decisions based upon religion.
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Plea deal reached in central Indiana animal cruelty case

January 27, 2015
 Associated Press
A central Indiana couple charged with animal cruelty after 171 dead animals were found on their farm have pleaded guilty to four counts each of improper disposal of a dead animal.
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Kokomo sues state over proposed downtown baseball park

January 27, 2015
 Associated Press
The city of Kokomo is suing the state over its opposition to a proposed downtown baseball stadium.
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State union membership counters national trend

January 27, 2015
 Associated Press, IBJ Staff
Indiana bucked a national trend in 2014 by experiencing an increase in labor union membership, new statistics released by the U. S. Labor Department show.
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Lack of evidence allows periodontists to leave office space

January 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Having failed to produce sufficient evidence that the terms of a lease agreement had been waived, a landlord will have to allow a pair of tenants to vacate the property with no financial penalty.
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Mock trial volunteers needed

January 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana attorneys are being offered the opportunity to show off their judicial skills. The Indiana Bar Foundation is seeking lawyers to volunteer as judges during the 2015 Indiana High School Mock Trial Competition.
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Explosion case cemented Richmond attorney's reputation

January 26, 2015
 Associated Press
Kent Klinge learned the basics of law in school. But it was in a Connersville courtroom where he became a lawyer. Klinge, who was one of the top trial lawyers in Richmond for more than 25 years in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, retired from practice as a partner at Boston Bever Klinge Cross & Chidester in Richmond on Jan. 1 after a 47-year career.
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Supreme Court permanently bans Muncie judge

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Muncie judge who was previously suspended for 13 counts of judicial misconduct and for using racial slurs recorded on video has been given a lifetime ban from serving on the bench.
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7th Circuit affirms Michigan law applies to Visteon pollution claims

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
A federal court in Indianapolis properly dismissed a lawsuit Visteon Corp. filed against its insurer seeking to recover damages resulting from toxic pollution at its former Connersville plant that also contaminated neighboring properties.
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Severely injured worker allowed to make case to jury

January 23, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who sustained life-changing injuries from a workplace accident is entitled to have his day in court to present his claims to a jury, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Indiana Senate backs death penalty for beheading crimes

January 23, 2015
 Associated Press
A bill making intentionally decapitating someone a crime eligible for the death penalty has been approved by the Indiana Senate.
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Lake County Court in Hammond closed due to water main break

January 23, 2015
 Associated Press
A water main break has forced the closure of the Lake County Superior Court in downtown Hammond.
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Conviction, sentence affirmed for man who fatally shot cousin

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
The reckless homicide conviction and 12-year sentence given to an Indianapolis man who shot and killed his cousin as the two struggled for control of a revolver was affirmed Friday.
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Court affirms 3-year home detention for Class D felony

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man was properly sentenced to three years of home detention for conviction of Class D felony receiving stolen property, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Justices: ‘Value’ threshold for workers’ comp liability not just direct monetary payment

January 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The “value” attributable to the performance of work that triggers secondary liability under the Worker’s Compensation Act includes both direct monetary payment as well as any ancillary consideration received for the work, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a case of first impression.
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Insurer had duty to defend lawsuit against Menard and loss prevention company

January 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court incorrectly granted summary judgment in favor of a loss prevention company’s insurer over whether it had a duty to defend a Menard customer’s lawsuit stemming from actions of the loss prevention specialist.
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Court affirms valuation of hoof trimming business

January 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering an ex-husband to pay a portion of an expert’s fee for valuating his hoof trimming business upon the dissolution of his marriage, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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COA affirms Notre Dame not responsible for treatment unrelated to work injury

January 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on Thursday the decision by the Worker’s Compensation Board that a University of Notre Dame employee had reached maximum medical improvement from her work-related injury.
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Construction manager owed no duty to injured independently contracted employee

January 22, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Based on the contracts between Ivy Tech Community College, the contract manager it hired and an independent contractor, no duty of care existed between the contract manager and the employees of contractors, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Campaign finance protest, hidden camera disrupt high court

January 22, 2015
 Associated Press
For the second time in 11 months, opponents of the Supreme Court of the United States rulings lifting limits on money in political campaigns briefly disrupted proceedings in the courtroom and embarrassed the court by managing to get a camera past court security.
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ESPN sues Notre Dame over police records involving athletes

January 22, 2015
 Associated Press
ESPN has filed a lawsuit against University of Notre Dame, alleging the school is violating Indiana's public record laws by withholding police incident reports about possible campus crimes involving certain student-athletes.
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New Albany attorney named part-time magistrate judge

January 21, 2015
IL Staff
A senior partner with Kightlinger & Gray LLP has been selected as a part-time magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Court dismisses 11 property tax exemption appeals for lack of jurisdiction

January 21, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Tax Judge Martha Wentworth dismissed the challenges brought by 11 cooperatives regarding the Indiana Board of Tax Review’s denial of their appeals after their property tax exemptions were revoked. The judge found the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the cases.
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Woman agrees to testify against others in Indiana explosion

January 21, 2015
 Associated Press
A woman charged in a deadly 2012 house explosion in Indianapolis agreed Tuesday to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and testify against at least two other people in the fiery natural gas blast that damaged dozens of homes.
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  1. OK so I'll make this as short as I can. I got a call that my daughter was smoking in the bathroom only her and one other girl was questioned mind you four others left before them anyways they proceeded to interrogate my daughter about smoking and all this time I nor my parents got a phone call,they proceeded to go through her belongings and also pretty much striped searched my daughter including from what my mother said they looked at her Brest without my consent. I am furious also a couple months ago my son hurt his foot and I was never called and it got worse during the day but the way some of the teachers have been treating my kids they are not comfortable going to them because they feel like they are mean or don't care. This is unacceptable in my mind i should be able to send my kids to school without worry but now I worry how the adults there are treating them. I have a lot more but I wanted to know do I have any attempt at a lawsuit because like I said there is more that's just some of what my kids are going through. Please respond. Sincerely concerned single parent

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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