Legal News

As money for justice declines, many don’t see potential cost

January 29, 2014
Dave Stafford
Persistent warnings about funding shortages for state and federal courts don’t appear to be registering with the public, a new poll concludes.
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COA finds attorney was not ineffective

January 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief, finding he failed to establish that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel with respect to either the manner in which voir dire was conducted or in the failure to object to the supplemental jury instruction defining “intentionally.”
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Trial court erred in disregarding psychiatrists’ unanimous finding

January 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman who brutally attacked her boyfriend’s minor child had her conviction overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds that the trial court did not have enough evidence to contradict the psychiatrists’ reports and find her guilty but mentally ill.
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Nicknames properly admitted in sex with minor convictions

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Nicknames and aliases a defendant used were relevant to the charges he faced, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in affirming felony convictions of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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Raccoon hunter cleared of conviction for fetching wayward dog

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A raccoon hunter’s misdemeanor conviction was reversed Tuesday when appellate judges determined he wasn’t hunting or chasing wildlife when he retrieved his wandering dog from property where he didn’t have permission to hunt.
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In pollution suit rehearing, COA rejects fresh arguments

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed on rehearing a decision that the Allen County Public Library could pursue damages against contractors resulting from a diesel spill during a building project. A panel rejected arguments from defendants that it said violated a “cardinal rule” because they were raised for the first time on rehearing.
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Bars discussing marriage amendment, but cautious about taking a stance

January 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Among the nearly 13,000 members of the Indiana State Bar Association, views on the proposed marriage amendment are falling into three separate camps: those who think the association should publicly support it, those who think the association should publicly oppose it and those who think the association should refrain from taking a position at all.
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7th Circuit: Marathon owes more for abandoned locations

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
Owners who leased properties in Michigan and Indiana that were used as Marathon gas stations – some of which were neglected, abandoned and condemned while Marathon leased them – will be paid more than the $269,000 a District judge in Fort Wayne awarded.
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ICLEO application deadline nears

January 28, 2014
IL Staff
College graduates eligible for the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity have little more than two weeks to submit applications to be selected for the 2014 ICLEO Fellowship Summer Institute from June 15-July 25 at Valparaiso University Law School.
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Public access to death records gets Supreme Court review

January 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A newspaper denied a request to obtain information in death records from a local health department will have an opportunity to make its case before the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Marion County courts closed Tuesday; state courts delayed

January 27, 2014
IL Staff
Marion County Circuit and Superior Courts in the Indianapolis City-County Building will be closed Tuesday in anticipation of dangerously cold weather. State court operations in Indianapolis, meanwhile, will delay opening until 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
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Automatic modification violates custody statute, COA rules

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s order automatically awarding custody of a minor child to the father was reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals on the grounds the lower court’s decision violated the state’s custody modification statute.
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Defendant entitled to cash bail refund under former statute

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant convinced the Indiana Court of Appeals that he was entitled to a refund of a $250 cash bond. The COA reversed a Monroe Circuit order denying a motion for release of cash bond dating to 2003.
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Appeals court affirms multiple sex-crimes, 100-year sentence

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Multiple convictions were upheld Monday against a man who had threatened, confined and sexually assaulted three Indianapolis women he picked up after offering them money for sex.
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COA vacates sex-abuse confinement conviction as double jeopardy

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday vacated a conviction of Class C felony criminal confinement for a man also convicted of Class B felony criminal deviate conduct, finding the lesser conviction resulted in double jeopardy.
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Erroneous instruction on accomplice liability not enough to get conviction overturned

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has split on whether erroneous jury instruction was a harmless error or gave the jurors another base for finding a defendant guilty of attempted murder.
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Bill proposes modest Marion County small claims reforms

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Modest reforms to the derided Marion County township small claims courts are proposed in a bill scheduled to get a committee hearing Wednesday.
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7th Circuit bars Indianapolis’ hour limits on adult bookstores

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has tossed an Indianapolis ordinance limiting the business hours of adult bookstores from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday.
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IndyBar takes public position against marriage amendment

January 27, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Backed by the results of a membership survey, the Indianapolis Bar Association has announced its opposition to the marriage amendment being debated at the Statehouse.
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Supreme Court extends audio-video transcript pilot project

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pilot project in three Indiana courts that replaces written transcripts with audio/video camera recordings has been extended and expanded because two of the three courts haven’t generated the anticipated number of appeals necessary to evaluate the system.
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COA Judge Riley to chair access to civil legal services panel

January 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley has been appointed to chair the Commission to Expand Access to Civil Legal Services created last year by order of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Indiana Supreme Court appoints attorney to fill Judge Brown’s post

January 24, 2014
IL Staff
Indianapolis criminal defense attorney David Cook has been appointed as judge pro tempore to fill the duties of suspended Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown.
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Divided panel: OWI-causing-death retrial not double jeopardy

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel upheld a man’s conviction and 14-year sentence for driving while intoxicated causing death, but a dissenting judge said the unusual case history that led to the outcome constituted double jeopardy.
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Court affirms higher home assessment as compared to neighbors

January 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Thursday affirmed the 2007 assessment of a property in an upscale community on Lake Michigan, rejecting the homeowner’s argument that the assessment should be lower because surrounding homes were assessed at a lower ratio when taking into account the prices at which the homes were sold.
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Split opinion: Disclosure of insurance policy limit is reversible error

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Ruling on an issue of first impression, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a jury’s award of $250,000 to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. The majority remanded for a new trial, holding that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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