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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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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