Sixth Amendment

7th Circuit affirms health care fraud, firearms convictions

December 21, 2016
Olivia Covington
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s firearms and fraud convictions Wednesday, rejecting each of the former counselor’s arguments against his attorney and the district court judge.
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New report critical of Indiana’s indigent defense

November 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
The report found Indiana is failing to equally provide constitutionally mandated effective counsel to indigent people accused of felony, misdemeanor and juvenile offenses.
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Report: Indiana fails to provide consistent indigent defense

October 24, 2016
Dave Stafford
Indiana is failing to equally provide constitutionally guaranteed effective counsel to indigent people accused of misdemeanor, felony and juvenile offenses, according to a report released Monday. In some counties, poor people facing criminal charges are encouraged to negotiate directly with prosecutors before being appointed counsel.
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Justices hear home explosion appeal

October 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
Nearly four years after he orchestrated an Indianapolis home explosion that killed two people, Mark Leonard is arguing that he should not have to spend the rest of his life in prison because his Sixth Amendment rights were violated.
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Indiana Supreme Court hears arguments in home explosion appeal

September 22, 2016
Olivia Covington
Defense counsel for Mark Leonard, the man convicted of killing two people in a 2012 home explosion, argued before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday that Leonard’s constitutional rights to an attorney were violated when an undercover officer posed as a hitman in prison and questioned Leonard, without his attorney present, about his plan to have a key witness killed.
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7th Circuit: 4th, 6th Amendment rights not violated in gun case

April 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said a firearm discovered by police was not the product of an illegal seizure and affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to suppress it. The court also held the statement he gave to police did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
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Supreme Court affirms second-degree murder charge, life in prison

April 5, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Supreme Court said admission of an autopsy report and testimony by a pathologist who did not complete the report was not a violation of a man’s Sixth Amendment right to cross-examination and thus affirmed the trial court’s conviction of second-degree murder.
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Supreme Court: Blanket suppression goes too far in murder case

March 30, 2016
Scott Roberts
While police officers who overheard a pretrial consultation between a suspect and his lawyer were definitely in the wrong, the total suppression of all the officers’ testimony in the case may not be necessary, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision
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New prosecutor renders defendant’s request moot

September 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant’s request to disqualify the entire LaPorte County Prosecutor’s Office from his voluntary manslaughter case because several in the office viewed his conversation with his attorney recorded during a police interrogation is moot because there is a new prosecutor in office, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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In 3-2 decision, justices reinstate molestation conviction

July 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
A 3-2 decision of the Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated a Class A felony child molestation conviction that the Court of Appeals reversed because the defendant was denied opportunities to admit evidence.
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COA reverses blanket exclusion for testimony of eavesdropping officers

June 10, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In a split decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided on interlocutory appeal that a trial court should not have issued a blanket exclusion order preventing all of the officers who eavesdropped on a defendant’s conversation with his attorney from testifying in any matter in the case.
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COA reverses domestic violence determination due to Blakely violation

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court committed fundamental error when it determined a man convicted by a jury of Class A misdemeanor battery committed a crime of domestic violence, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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COA affirms belt considered a deadly weapon in domestic battery case

August 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The belt used by a man to repeatedly strike his girlfriend qualifies as a deadly weapon and supports elevating his battery conviction to a Class C felony, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday.
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Admission of video and recorded statements did not violate Sixth Amendment

July 15, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The defendant in a drug trial was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his constitutional right to confront a witness was violated when the confidential informant did not testify at trial.
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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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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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