Northern Indiana

SCOTUS denies Indiana church dispute

January 9, 2012
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has declined to take an Indiana case involving a property and trustee election dispute between the Zion Temple Apostolic Church in Gary and the son of the deceased founding pastor.
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COA rules on estate representative's banking activity

December 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned a Lake County judge in an estate case involving a personal representative who conducted banking transactions for an elderly man before his death.
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Court reinstates man's direct appeal

December 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reinstated the direct appeal of a LaPorte County man convicted of felony robbery and attempted robbery in 2004, finding that he should not receive a new trial for receiving ineffective assistance of appellate counsel the first time he tried to challenge his convictions and sentence.
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7th Circuit upholds embezzlement convictions against ex-mayor

December 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed ex-East Chicago Mayor George Pabey’s convictions of embezzling government funds and conspiring to embezzle and found the District Court didn’t err when it sentenced him to 60 months in prison.
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Governor appoints Warsaw woman to Judicial Nominating Commission

December 22, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed Jean Northenor, of Warsaw, to the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission.
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Traffic judge's 60-day suspension begins next week

December 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Hammond City Court Judge Jeffrey A. Harkin will begin serving his 60-day unpaid suspension on Dec. 27 as a result of an agreement he reached with the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications and approved by the state’s highest court.
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Judges uphold man's convictions, enhanced sentence

December 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions of and sentence for a man on multiple drug charges, finding that the Lake Superior judge didn’t err by enhancing the man’s sentence because he is a habitual offender.

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Justices rule man not disenfranchised under the Infamous Crimes Clause

December 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court hesitantly answered Thursday a certified question from the federal court as to whether misdemeanor battery is an “infamous crime” under Article II, Section 8 of the Indiana Constitution.
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New St. Joe magistrate judge to begin duties Jan. 2

December 14, 2011
IL Staff
Elizabeth C. Hurley has been selected as the newest magistrate judge in St. Joseph Circuit Court. She replaces Magistrate Judge David T. Ready, who is retiring from the bench.
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COA finds no error in juvenile adjudication

December 6, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a juvenile court’s decision to place a minor in a residential treatment center, holding sufficient evidence exists to support the court’s dispositional order.
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Jasper County high school students to observe Court of Appeals oral argument

December 2, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Paul K. Ogden v. Robertson et. al. at 2 p.m. EST Dec. 6 at Rensselaer Central High School, 1106 E. Grace St.
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7th Circuit affirms ruling against woman kicked out of public housing

December 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who challenged the Housing Authority of South Bend’s decision to terminate her lease for federally subsidized public housing because of criminal activity lost her appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Judge rejects dental coverage cap

November 23, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Ruling puts Medicaid dental program in jeopardy.
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Magistrate applicants sought

November 22, 2011
IL Staff
St. Joseph Circuit Court Judge Michael Gotsch is seeking applicants for the position of magistrate judge.
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Man entitled to new probation revocation hearing

November 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new probation revocation hearing for a Wells County man after finding the reasons by the special judge as to why the man should serve his entire previously suspended sentence were “problematic.”
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Illinois attorney to lead Indiana Tech law school

November 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The former dean of Southern Illinois University School of Law has been chosen as dean for Indiana Tech’s new law school, school officials announced Friday morning.
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South Bend attorney sentenced for fraud

November 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Thomas F. “Chip” Lewis III will spend more than three years in prison following his guilty plea to aiding and abetting wire fraud stemming from an advance fee scam.
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Appellate judges will hear arguments in East Chicago

October 4, 2011
IL Staff
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges will travel to northern Indiana Thursday to hear the appeal of a man convicted of attempted murder.
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2 cities face gun-compliance lawsuits

September 28, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The plaintiffs' attorney says the complaints are inspired by willful disregard of state law.
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Elements of crimes did not occur in Indiana

September 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that charges be dropped against a pair living in Houston who faced counterfeiting and theft charges, finding the trial court lacked territorial jurisdiction.
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Crown Point lawyer leaving for Peace Corps

September 16, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
On Sept. 19, attorney Connie Postelli will leave legal practice behind and depart for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps. Postelli will be teaching English in Ukraine. But she knows little else about her trip.
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COA: Grandma didn't have standing to petition for visitation

September 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the denial of a mother’s request to set aside grandparent visitation, finding the grandmother filed her petition in the incorrect court.
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Rehearing: Traffic judge denies misconduct

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Hammond City Judge Jeffrey A. Harkin denies that he did anything wrong in operating what may be a long-established but illegal traffic school deferral program and dismissing cases without assessing required fees. He also contends that he did not try to dissuade one litigant from contesting a seatbelt violation in court.
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7th Circuit affirms judgment for officers in diabetic man’s case

August 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of the City of East Chicago and police officers on an estate’s excessive force and other claims, finding the officers had reasonable suspicion that a diabetic man who was having a hypoglycemic episode was possibly intoxicated.
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3 counties join Odyssey

August 29, 2011
IL Staff
Cass, Shelby, and Union counties are the latest additions to the statewide case management system known as Odyssey.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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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