Legal News

Judge urges legislators to clarify Castle Doctrine statute

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a case of first impression reversed a man’s conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer after finding he exercised reasonable force under I.C. 35-41-3-2(i)(2), the statute revised in response to a 2011 Supreme Court holding that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to battery or another violent act on a police officer. But one judge asked the Legislature to take another look at the statute for public policy reasons.
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COA affirms policy provides property damage coverage for abandoned sand

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its original decision Wednesday that an insurance policy covers property damage caused by 100,000 tons of foundry sand on property owned by FLM LLC.
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Public defender’s brief stricken, COA orders ‘competent counsel’ appointed

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reiterated Wednesday for at least the fourth time in seven years to a public defender that he cannot use the “manifestly unreasonable” argument to challenge a client’s voluntary manslaughter sentence.
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Law professors warn against Indiana religious freedom bill

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
A bill that proponents say would further protect religious freedom in Indiana “will more likely create confusion, conflict, and a wave of litigation” because it will confer a special status to religious rights, according to a letter signed by 30 law professors.
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Teen’s adjudications overturned based on unlawful search

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis teenager suspected in two burglaries was subject to an unlawful pat down and search by an officer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. As such, the gun found on him should not have been admissible at his delinquency hearing.
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Canine sniff not allowed, but convictions still upheld

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Supreme Court of the United States decision issued shortly after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case now means that a canine sniff of a suspected drug dealer’s home was unconstitutional, the COA upheld the man’s convictions based on other evidence.
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Couple’s gun collection incorrectly classified as ‘household goods’

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The determination as to whether guns or a gun collection are “household goods” should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In a case before it Wednesday, the judges held that the large collection owned by a couple who are since deceased was incorrectly classified as “household goods.”
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'Elkhart Four' convictions put new spotlight on felony murder statute

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Three teens convicted of felony murder have asked the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn their convictions because they did not directly kill the victim.
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Decades-long fight over landfill quietly concludes

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
A 37-year fight over a planned solid waste landfill in Anderson ended recently, concluding one of the longest environmental battles in state history. Only a few loads of trash were ever dumped at the Mallard Lake Landfill, but fortunes were spent litigating it.
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Anthem customers’ attorneys will have to prove injury

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Since health insurance giant Anthem Inc. announced millions of customers’ information had been stolen in a data breach, class-action lawsuits against the company have been filed in federal courts across the country. Although the breach is unprecedented and consumers are fearful their identities will be stolen, the plaintiffs may not have been harmed according to the law.
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Legislative debate highlights issues surrounding juvenile offenders

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A proposed change to Indiana’s juvenile law has state legislators wrestling with the question of when children should be treated like adults.
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Landowners may be on hook for contamination caused by tenants

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Lawyers say an appeals court ruling last year means landowners who learn of contamination on their property may be held liable for damages even if they did nothing to directly contribute to the pollution.
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Federal judiciary releases FY 2014 report

March 10, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the federal judiciary began fiscal year 2014 on shaky financial ground, it soon saw its funding restored to pre-sequestration levels and ended the year handling a caseload almost equal to the previous fiscal year.
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Court reverses denial of termination of parental rights due to possible conflict

March 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred when it denied a mother’s consensual termination of parental rights petition against the father due to concerns of a potential risk of conflict of interest involving the mother’s legal counsel.
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Court wrongly denied expungement of dismissed conviction

March 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s 1999 misdemeanor battery conviction that was dismissed when he completed his one-year probation sentence must be expunged, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, reversing a trial court that denied his petition.
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ND improves but IU law schools fall in annual rankings

March 10, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Only one Indiana law school received good news with Tuesday’s release of the annual law school rankings.
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Indiana regulators revoke coal-gasification plant's permit

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
State regulators have revoked an air permit for a proposed $2.8 billion coal-gasification plant in southwestern Indiana at the request of the plant's developer.
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Indiana high court won't review conviction in parent deaths

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
The state Supreme Court won't consider an eastern Indiana man's appeal of his double-murder conviction in his parents' killings.
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Utah couple digitizing Vigo County probate records

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
Vigo County is benefiting from a project that will digitize probate records dating back to 1818, the year the county was founded.
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Judge rejects diocese's bid to set aside in vitro verdict

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
A jury was correct in finding that a Roman Catholic diocese discriminated against a former teacher by firing her for undergoing fertilization treatment, a federal judge has ruled.
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Appeals panel affirms East Chicago library board must repay insurance premiums

March 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly ruled for the state when it ordered East Chicago Library Board members to repay more than $136,000 in health, dental, vision and life insurance premiums since state law says those members serve without compensation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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More lawsuits filed in December Megabus crash in Indiana

March 9, 2015
 Associated Press
More lawsuits have been filed by Megabus passengers injured when a double-decker bus rolled onto its side in southern Indiana in December.
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SCOTUS to 7th Circuit: Review Notre Dame birth control case

March 9, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The Supreme Court is ordering the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to take another look at the University of Notre Dame’s lawsuit concerning the overhaul of federal health care rules on paying for contraceptives.
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Indiana judge admonishes abducted teens' sister at hearing

March 9, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indianapolis judge admonished the sister of two Indianapolis teenagers kidnapped and held for ransom after she allegedly stole from her ex-boyfriend.
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COA upholds $10,000 fine for failure to cooperate with discovery

March 9, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court that slapped a transportation company with a $10,000 sanction and ordered its president jailed if the fine was not paid did not commit an error, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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