Legal News

Court of Appeals interviews to be held June 10

May 18, 2015
IL Staff
Eight judges and lawyers vying for appointment to the Indiana Court of Appeals will be interviewed June 10 by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission will recommend three finalists to Gov. Mike Pence, who will select the person to succeed Judge Ezra Friedlander, who is retiring at the end of August.
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Southern District New Albany magistrate takes oath

May 15, 2015
IL Staff
New Albany attorney Van T. Willis, a senior partner with Kightlinger & Gray LLP, was sworn in Friday as a new part-time magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by Chief Judge Richard L. Young.
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Admission of recording is harmless error

May 15, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A recording of a victim’s conversation with friends should not have been admitted into evidence at trial, but the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled it was a harmless error.
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Tax Court affirms Zionsville office assessment

May 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Tax Court on Thursday affirmed the real estate assessment of an office building on Zionsville’s Main Street in Boone County.
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COA: Rapper’s brokered peace treaty irrelevant in murder case

May 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
A rapper convicted as an accomplice in the murder of Indianapolis disc jockey Thomas Keys failed on appeal to show his brokering of a peace treaty between rival rap groups was wrongly excluded from evidence in his trial.
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Justices acquit two involved in fistfight turned fatal

May 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis teen and another man convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for their roles in a planned beatdown that ended with a fatal gunshot will be freed after the Indiana Supreme Court reversed their convictions and ordered them acquitted.
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Brownsburg annexation opponents win on appeal

May 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
Opponents of the Town of Brownsburg's planned annexation of 4,461 acres to its north prevailed before the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday. The court ruled the trial judge erred in determining he lacked subject matter jurisdiction to determine whether the residents' remonstrance petition was valid.
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Anderson Speedway attorney argues against track death lawsuit

May 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Anderson Speedway's attorney has asked a judge to grant summary judgment in a lawsuit accusing the track's owners of negligence in a driver's death in a 2011 crash.
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Divided Supreme Court declines to take med mal case

May 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court by a vote of 3-2 decided this week to not take the case of a man who sued for medical malpractice those who treated his now-deceased wife. The lower court and Court of Appeals found no existence of a physician-patient relationship between the on-call hospital specialist and the wife, the issue that caused two justices to dissent.
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AG’s office creates victim services division

May 14, 2015
IL Staff
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has created the Victim Services and Outreach Division to focus resources on victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other vulnerable victims, the office announced Thursday.
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Justices adopt ‘any insurance’ approach in subrogation dispute

May 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Deciding an issue of first impression stemming from a fire that heavily damaged the Jefferson County courthouse in 2009, the Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday decided Indiana should follow the "any insurance" approach in deciding when property owners waive subrogation rights in certain cases. In doing so, the justices rejected the "work versus non-work" approach that the Court of Appeals has used.
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COA vacancy interviews delayed to June

May 14, 2015
IL Staff
The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission will not be interviewing the eight applicants for a Court of Appeals vacancy next week, as originally announced. The interviews will now take place sometime in June.
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Supreme Court suspends Vanderburgh County attorney for 240 days

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A southern Indiana attorney has been suspended for violating several professional conduct and discipline rules after he failed to adequately manage his trust account and neglected a client’s case, among other actions constituting misconduct.
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Mother’s battery on teen not protected by parental privilege

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld a mother’s misdemeanor battery conviction for hitting her daughter nearly 20 times with a belt after previous discipline did not stop the teen from communicating with boys on social media.
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Teen’s rights not violated by search of sweatshirt

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion County teen’s constitutional rights were not violated when a police officer responding to a report of a teen in a black hooded sweatshirt with a gun opened a similar sweatshirt next to the teen and found a gun, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Justices order hearing on whether to temporarily admit out-of-state lawyers

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake County court erred when it relied on a local rule to determine that five out-of-state attorneys should not be granted pro hac vice admission because the party seeking their admission could potentially hire capable Indiana attorneys to provide the franchise law work, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Tax Court: Assessor did not comport with notice requirements for back taxes

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although the Grant County assessor was authorized to assess two subject properties under I.C. 6-1.1-9-1, which allows for retroactive assessment, the assessor did not give the taxpayer sufficient notice of certain assessments, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Tuesday.
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Man not entitled to separate molestation trials, justices hold

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a man's argument that he was entitled to three separate trials on the allegations he molested his three granddaughters. In doing so, two justices said they believe the Supreme Court needs to give more guidance on motions to sever.
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Justices reverse CHINS finding, noting father coerced to admit adjudication

May 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because a Marion Superior Court judge's remarks and conduct in their cumulative effect breached the court's duty of impartiality and amounted to coercion of a 17-year-old girl's father to admit she was a child in need of services, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the CHINS adjudication.
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Legal network to confer in Indianapolis

May 13, 2015
IL Staff
About 40 attorneys from midsized, general practice law firms around the country and a handful of global lawyers will gather for the Legal Netlink Alliance spring convention beginning Thursday in Indianapolis.
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Former Indiana police chief gets 2 years for stealing cash

May 13, 2015
 Associated Press
The former police chief of a southeastern Indiana city has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing $75,000 in cash that officers seized during criminal investigations.
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Indiana senator calls for judicial nominating commission

May 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Sen. Dan Coats is calling for the appointment of a commission to assist in finding and nominating candidates for the vacancies on the federal bench.  
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Landowners not prejudiced by approval of wind turbine project

May 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that landowners in Wells County who lived next to property that will house wind turbines were not prejudiced by the zoning decision to allow the project to proceed.
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COA issues new opinion in bail case involving self-defense claim

May 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has issued a new opinion in its decision involving a man charged with murder who sought to be released on bail, but was denied. The judges again held that James Satterfield should be allowed to present evidence of self-defense at a new bail hearing.
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SEC hits ITT Educational, execs with fraud charges

May 12, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, J.K. Wall
The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing ITT Educational Services Inc. and its top two executives for fraud, the agency announced Tuesday.
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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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