Sixth Amendment

Admission of return of service did not violate Confrontation Clause

December 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In a matter of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a return of service on a protective order is not testimonial, so its admission at trial did not violate a defendant’s rights under the Confrontation Clause.
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Justices: Lab tech does not need to testify

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday concluded that a laboratory technician involved in the chain of custody of DNA evidence is not required to testify at trial in order to satisfy the demands of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.
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Panel affirms robbery conviction in confrontation clause appeal

November 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defendant who was denied the opportunity to cross-examine an expert witness who provided cell phone records placing him near the scene of a Morgantown bank robbery wasn’t deprived a fair trial, the Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
 
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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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In affirming DUI on appeal, judges include predictive warning

February 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
An argument made on appeal in a drunken-driving case that the person who certified the operating condition of a breath-test machine should have been required to testify was rejected Monday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, which also warned in a footnote that such a ruling could cost criminal defendants.
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Arguments for pretrial release found to be 'unquestionably inappropriate'

September 11, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court has dismissed without prejudice a request by a defendant to be released from jail while awaiting his third murder trial.
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Crawford holding doesn’t apply to probation revocation hearings

July 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s argument Thursday that he should be afforded the same right of confrontation in his probation revocation hearing as is outlined in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004).
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US Supreme Court: Criminal fines require jury finding

July 18, 2012
Dave Stafford
An end-of-term U.S. Supreme Court decision did far more than reduce a penalty in a federal criminal environmental judgment from $18 million to $50,000. It created a new reality for how the government will have to pursue such prosecutions in the future, experts say.
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U.S. justices to rule on retroactivity of case involving guilty pleas by immigrants

April 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a case that stems from its 2010 decision Padilla v. Kentucky, in which the justices held that criminal defense attorneys are obligated under the Sixth Amendment to advise noncitizen defendants about immigration consequences of pleading guilty. The justices will now rule on whether its decision is retroactive.<
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COA: 6th Amendment not violated in juvenile murder case

August 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in waiving a 15-year-old boy’s murder trial to adult court and that Indiana’s juvenile waiver statute does not violate the Sixth Amendment.
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7th Circuit holds lawyer rule on impact of guilty plea for immigrants not retroactive

August 24, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A three-judge panel for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has determined a landmark decision from the Supreme Court of the United States last year isn't retroactive. That rule required criminal defense attorneys to advise clients about the immigration impact of signing a guilty plea, and this means past cases wouldn’t benefit from that holding even if those individuals had been deprived of that Sixth Amendment right.
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Court divided over consent to 5-person jury

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges split on the issue of whether a defendant agreed to allow a five-member jury to decide her case after one juror fell ill, with the dissenting judge believing the defendant – not her counsel – must consent to the five-person jury.
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Victim's statements to nurse allowed, but judges reverse convictions

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a victim’s statements detailing her physical attack and identifying her attacker were admissible in court and were nontestimonial, so the defendant’s confrontation rights weren’t violated. However, the judges reversed the man’s convictions because the trial court shouldn’t have admitted prior misconduct evidence involving the defendant and the victim.
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7th Circuit sends Corcoran case back to trial court

June 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Following a remand from the United States Supreme Court in late 2010, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals admitted it made mistakes in its recent decision involving a convicted murderer’s appeal and sent the case to the District Court to address habeas relief claims.
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Man’s Sixth Amendment right not violated

June 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The failure of a judge to inquire into a defendant’s written complaint about his public defender didn’t violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel, the Indiana Supreme Court held Wednesday. However, the justices explained if a trial judge finds him or herself in a situation similar to the one presented, that judge should at least receive assurances from the public defender’s office that the complaint has been adequately addressed.
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Local counsel rule found unconstitutional

June 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Northern District of Indiana was essentially creating a built-in appeal issue on ineffective assistance of counsel, and it called out a senior judge for violating a man’s Sixth Amendment right to choose his own lawyer.
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7th Circuit: Indiana judge violated man's Sixth Amendment right to counsel

May 23, 2011
Michael Hoskins
An appellate court has ruled that a senior judge in the Northern District of Indiana violated a man’s Sixth Amendment rights by not allowing him to proceed to trial with the lawyer of his choosing.
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Judges: defendant should be able to confront witness

March 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the District Court to grant a convicted murderer’s habeas petition, finding the admission of out-of-court statements at his trial violated the man’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.
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Defense attorney's arranged drug buy illegal

February 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a Bloomington attorney’s argument that his arrangement of a drug buy in an attempt to discredit a state’s witness against his client wasn’t a criminal offense because he’s “on the same legal footing” as prosecutors or police in planning controlled buys.
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Ticket can't constitute 'testimonial hearsay'

November 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Because a chemical breath-test evidence ticket is a mechanically produced readout that can’t be considered “testimonial hearsay” under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, the Indiana Court of Appeals held a man’s Sixth Amendment rights weren’t violated when the equipment technician didn’t testify at his drunk-driving trial.
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COA: Hearsay evidence properly admitted

September 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the admission of hearsay evidence of a woman’s testimony to an officer that her boyfriend hit her because the evidence was admissible under the excited utterance exception.
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High court clarifies harmless error under Sixth Amendment

September 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to a man’s case in order to address the application of harmless error to Sixth Amendment violations involving confronting those who create laboratory reports.
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3-step test needed to balance rights

July 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana’s victim-advocate privilege is limited by a criminal defendant’s constitutional rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today on the matter of first impression.
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Booking card exception to hearsay rule

June 30, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A booking card created by law enforcement in the course of a ministerial, nonevaluative booking process is not subject to the police reports exclusion under Indiana Evidence Rule 803(8), the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.
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AG wants Melendez-Diaz overturned

November 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Attorney General's Office is joining several states in co-authoring an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court of the United States to modify or overturn its decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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