Legal News

Split 7th Circuit allows death penalty challenge asserting intellectual disability

May 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A killer sentenced in Texas and awaiting execution on federal death row in Terre Haute will be allowed to proceed with efforts to present new evidence of intellectual disability that would make him ineligible for capital punishment, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals en banc review determined in a 6-5 opinion.
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Legislation protects county assessments on big-box stores

May 4, 2015
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
A new measure on the taxation of big-box stores is expected to help Indiana counties avoid fiscal disaster, but national retailers aren't happy about it.
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Religious freedom turmoil likely to spill into next year

May 4, 2015
 Associated Press
The colorful fliers passed out by aides to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma last week highlighted what both called numerous accomplishments of this year's legislative session.
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2015 Law Day celebrates the Magna Carta

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
This year’s Law Day recognizes the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and its theme: No one is above the law.
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2014 law school grads see slight uptick in employment

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
National data released by the American Bar Association shows that the Class of 2014 has a slightly larger percentage of its graduates employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage as compared with the Class of 2013.
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Indiana Tech Law School slips in first round of accreditation

May 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Tech Law School has failed to convince the American Bar Association to give provisional accreditation to its program, handing the Fort Wayne school a setback and raising questions about its students’ futures.
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Judge, attorney credited for robust recovery for victims of securities fraud

May 1, 2015
Greg Andrews, IBJ Staff
The more than 90 investors who lost $9.7 million in a securities fraud perpetrated by Fishers hedge fund manager Keenan Hauke will recover about 33 percent of their losses - a far better outcome than is typical in cases of its kind.
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Fugitive former Indiana surgeon caught in Arizona

May 1, 2015
 Associated Press
Authorities say a fugitive former surgeon convicted of stalking his ex-wife in Indiana has been caught in Arizona.
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Fort Wayne attorney named new Allen Superior magistrate

May 1, 2015
IL Staff
A private practice attorney and former Indiana Department of Child Services attorney has been chosen as magistrate judge in Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division.
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COA orders judgment in favor of woman on adverse possession claim

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because there is evidence that both the woman who purchased land from a trust and the trustee paid taxes on a disputed 1.8 acres of land for at least 10 years, the woman’s claim for adverse possession of the land should be granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Court OKs admission of tweets, reverses criminal gang activity conviction

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression regarding the authentication of social media posts, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that the testimony from the defendant's girlfriend that the Twitter account belonged to her boyfriend, as well as content from that account, sufficiently showed the defendant was the author of its tweets.
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Man’s conviction from controlled drug buy upheld

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Anderson man who was criminally convicted for selling drugs to a confidential informant waived both his arguments on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. And, the judges found no fundamental error in a jury instruction given or the admission of cash found on the defendant by police.
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COA orders woman’s sentence revised to include credit time

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found Thursday that a trial court incorrectly calculated the sentence a woman should serve in the Department of Correction after she had her probation revoked.
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Terre Haute attorney to receive ITLA Lifetime Achievement Award

April 30, 2015
IL Staff
Terre Haute attorney Stephen L. Williams will receive this year's Lifetime Achievement Award from the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. He is being recognized for his distinguished service to the organization and dedication to preserving the rights of the injured.
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Revised sentence modification statute not applicable in defendant’s case

April 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not err in denying a man’s petition to modify his sentence after finding that the current version of the sentencing modification statute is not applicable to his sentence, which he began serving in 1989. The Indiana Court of Appeals panel relied on a January decision by its colleagues to affirm the denial of Mitchell Swallows’ petition.
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Judicial campaign solicitation ban upheld by SCOTUS

April 30, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A divided Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states can bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions, leaving intact bans in 30 states.
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Lawmakers pass Marion Co. small claims reforms

April 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
The General Assembly Wednesday afternoon passed modest reforms of the nine township small claims courts in Marion County, a far cry from recommendations of multiple judicial studies to restructure the courts.
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Judge may sequester house blast jury during deliberations

April 29, 2015
 Associated Press
The judge who'll preside over one defendant's murder trial in a deadly Indianapolis house explosion says he may sequester jurors during deliberations.
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Appellate court records make switch to Odyssey May 4

April 29, 2015
IL Staff
Beginning next week, basic case information on appeals before the Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will be available to the public through the Odyssey docket. The Indiana Tax Court made the switch in December.
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Wiretap evidence properly admitted at murder trial

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a man's conviction of murdering his stepfather, finding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting wiretap evidence in which the defendant told a friend he was involved in the killing.
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Justices affirm upward deviation from child support guidelines

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not commit clear error when it deviated from the Indiana Child Support Guidelines by not granting a father the full parenting time credit calculated and allowed his ex-wife to claim their child each year on her taxes, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The justices also outlined the best practices to be used when a trial court conducts summary proceedings.
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Brothers’ murder convictions upheld by COA

April 29, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Two brothers convicted in the murder of a man with whom they previously had an altercation are not entitled to a new trial based on one juror's concerns for her safety after recognizing someone sitting in the gallery, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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3 brothers plead guilty to massive biofuels scam

April 29, 2015
IBJ Staff
Three brothers have pleaded guilty to participating in a biofuels scam that federal investigators are calling “one of the largest tax and securities fraud schemes in Indiana history."
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COA affirms new trial on motorcyclist’s negligence claim

April 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it set aside a jury verdict allocating 70 percent of fault to a motorcyclist who hit a dog that darted in front of his bike, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The motorcyclist was injured in the accident and sued the dog's owners.
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Former Lilly partner set to pay $2.3B to settle Actos cases

April 28, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. executives have agreed to pay more than $2.3 billion to resolve lawsuits accusing the company of hiding its Actos diabetes medicine’s cancer risks, three people familiar with the accord said.
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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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