Pro se

Reversal holds bank’s suit on repossessed vehicle filed too late

June 27, 2014
Dave Stafford
A pro se litigant won a reversal at the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday, which ruled a trial court erred when it ruled in favor of a bank seeking to collect after a vehicle repossession.
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Tax Court affirms 2006 assessment appealed pro se

June 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although sympathetic to a mother and daughter’s plight, the Indiana Tax Court affirmed the 2006 assessment of a downtown Indianapolis condominium. The judge pointed out that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.
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Defender’s trial strategy trumps inmate’s pro se early-trial request

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
A prison inmate who asked for a public defender then said at an initial hearing he wanted to “file for fast and speedy trial too” lost his appeal that argued the court erred by not ruling on his request and his trial counsel was ineffective.
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Improper conduct by trial court does not require reversal of contempt order

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday found a trial judge committed some improper conduct during a hearing on a protective order, with one judge noting the court was “precariously close to crossing the line” when intervening in the proceedings. Despite this, the appellate court affirmed the order of contempt in favor of the petitioner.
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Untying the knot yourself

January 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Couples forgoing legal counsel in divorce risk creating big messes the courts can’t clean up.
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Dickson: Trial courts face 'crisis' of unrepresented litigants

October 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
About three in five litigants appearing in Indiana’s civil trial courts are doing it themselves, according to data compiled from statewide case filings this summer.
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Appeals court upholds allowing represented defendant to argue pro se

September 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
A criminal defendant represented by counsel who unsuccessfully argued on his own to withdraw a guilty plea to a Class A felony charge of dealing cocaine had a burden of proving manifest injustice, which he failed to do, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Stopped traffic snarls purse snatcher’s getaway scheme

September 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the getaway car moved only a few feet after being stopped by police, a man in the passenger seat still was properly convicted of resisting law enforcement because he instructed the driver of the car to “take off.”
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Court cites 1827 case to affirm mortgage trumps land contract

September 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
A bank that issued a mortgage to a person selling a property on a land contract has the right to foreclose on the loan, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, citing caselaw nearly 200 years old.
 
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Molester’s imprisonment alone insufficient to bar contact with son

September 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
Serving 50 years in prison for conviction of eight counts of Class A felony child molesting, a count of Class C felony child molesting and Class C felony criminal confinement is insufficient by itself for a court to rule an incarcerated father may not have phone or mail contact with his child, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Vigo court too hasty in tossing killer’s pro se PCR petition, panel rules

September 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of murder who represented himself in his post-conviction relief proceeding was wrongly denied a chance to plead his case, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The court reversed an order by Vigo Superior Judge Christopher Newton summarily denying the petition.
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Justices to take up partial consecutive sentence case

September 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
Whether state law allows a criminal defendant to receive a partial consecutive sentence may be determined by the Indiana Supreme Court, which agreed to hear a case successfully argued by a pro se litigant to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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No new trial for defendant who discovered pitfalls of proceeding pro se

August 15, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s request for a do-over after representing himself at trial and being found guilty was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals with the admonishment “proceeding pro se is riddled with pitfalls.”
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COA orders new trial for man who represented himself

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a defendant did not knowingly or intelligently waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday ordered a new trial on strangulation and domestic battery charges.
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Divided COA adds to difference of opinion on partial consecutive sentences

June 3, 2013
Dave Stafford

The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 opinion Monday that further deepened an appellate divide on whether judges may impose partially consecutive sentences.

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Attorneys use pro bono tax work to fill the gap

March 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Almost immediately after taking her seat on the Indiana Tax Court, Judge Martha Blood Wentworth saw the problem. Flowing into her court were numerous pro se litigants who ended up getting their cases bounced because they had made a procedural error.
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Sovereign citizens disavow legal system, make bogus filings aimed at police, judges

January 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
Martin Jonassen describes himself as a sovereign citizen, one of a loose affiliation of people who believe most laws don’t apply to them. Adherents also strive to make life difficult and sometimes dangerous for law enforcement and the judiciary, and Indiana lawmakers have taken notice.
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Conour court filings reveal lavish lifestyle

December 19, 2012
Dave Stafford
The ex-attorney is still without counsel in his wire fraud case and is proceeding pro se in his divorce and foreclosure cases.
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Attempted ‘hybrid’ defense delay didn’t violate speedy trial rule

December 18, 2012
Dave Stafford
A criminal defendant who filed motions on his own behalf and who also had consented to appointment of a special public defender was not denied a speedy trial when a delay of more than 70 days occurred, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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New Marion County Small Claims rules a ‘change in atmosphere’

October 16, 2012
Dave Stafford
A new set of rules for Marion County’s nine township Small Claims courts will make the forums more transparent and put important court information online for the first time, according to the judge overseeing reform efforts.
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Woman unable to prove attorney actions were prejudicial

August 13, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A woman’s petition for post-conviction relief on the grounds her trial counsel was ineffective was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Majority reverses Hopper advisement created last year

November 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Supreme Court has reversed its 2010 decision to require pro se defendants be informed about the dangers of pleading guilty without an attorney. Two of the justices who originally voted to create the “Hopper advisement” found themselves in the minority on the high court’s decision on rehearing.
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Lawmakers taking second look at 'second chance law'

October 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Legislators want to take a second look at a new law passed this year that gives Indiana residents with nonviolent criminal histories a chance to limit public access to parts of their record.
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Rule revision aims to broaden use of limited scope representationRestricted Content

October 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court revised the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure to allow pro se litigants and other potential clients to use limited scope representation more often and without some of the restraint they’ve had in the past.
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Justices split on appellate review of prisoner litigant's claim

September 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
One of Indiana's most well-known pro se prisoner litigants convinced two of the state justices that his latest appeal should get their attention, but the other three denied transfer relating to how the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the case.
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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