St. Joseph County

Magistrate, expungement bills pass committee

January 17, 2014
IL Staff
Legislation updating Indiana’s expungement law – including language specifying where a petition for expungement must be filed – is now eligible for consideration by the full House. The expungement bill is one of several that moved out of committee Thursday.
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Humvee maker, defense giant BAE wrangle over $277M judgment

December 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A dispute over the true cost of Humvee body armor rushed to the battlefield in the deadliest days of the Iraq war has resulted in a court battle that includes suggestions that one of the world’s top defense contractors may have serious business problems as it argues against posting full security for a $277 million judgment.
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Justices reverse custody modification but order status quo to continue, for now

November 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The laws in place to protect children caught in the middle of a custody battle were ignored by a St. Joseph Superior Court, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, pointing to a change in custody despite a lack of a proper evidentiary hearing.
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Defense firm appeals $277M verdict for Humvee maker

October 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defense contractor is appealing an Indiana judge’s order that it pay $277 million to the Mishawaka-based manufacturer of Army Humvee military vehicles. The contractor overcharged for armor kits to retrofit the vehicles during the bloodiest days of the Iraq war, the judge ruled.
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South Bend attorney to be sentenced in December on forgery convictions

October 11, 2013
IL Staff
A disbarred sole practitioner from South Bend who was found guilty in September on three counts of forgery will be sentenced Dec. 11 in St. Joseph County.
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‘Notre Dame 88’ lawyer cleared in discipline case

October 8, 2013
Dave Stafford
An attorney who argued that a judge’s bias warranted her recusal from a case involving pro-life students arrested for protesting the announcement of President Barack Obama’s appearance at the University of Notre Dame was cleared of disciplinary charges Tuesday.
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Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County awarded grant to expand project

August 28, 2013
IL Staff
The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County has been awarded a two-year grant to support its work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
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Court upholds Sturgis’ conviction for murder of son

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
St. Joseph County resident Jerry L. Sturgis Sr. lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that challenged convictions stemming from the beatings and abuse of three of his children, leading to the death of his 10-year-old son in 2011.
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Deputy prosecutor fired for errors in handling protective order violation

June 5, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The employment of an unnamed St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor has been terminated after deciding not to prosecute a man following his May arrest for violating a protective order. Several days later, that man allegedly stabbed and killed his young daughter.
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COA reverses summary judgment for NCAA on negligence claim

May 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who was injured at a fencing event at the University of Notre Dame should have been granted more time to present relevant materials in opposition to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s motion for summary judgment on her negligence claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Man gets 90 years for murder of girlfriend

May 14, 2013
IL Staff
St. Joseph Superior Judge Jerome Frese sentenced a South Bend man to 90 years for murdering his girlfriend in October 2009. This is the second time Brice Webb has been convicted and sentenced for Cherlyn Reyes’ death.
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COA: Glove not enough to convict man of burglary

April 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Worried that upholding a man’s conviction based solely on DNA presence on a glove found at a crime scene would create a precedent for criminals to frame someone else, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a burglary conviction out of St. Joseph County. 
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Humvee maker wins $277M

April 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defense subcontractor marked up kits, resulting in millions of dollars in armor overcharges.
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Man found guilty again in South Bend murder

April 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A St. Joseph County man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend – but later had the conviction overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court – was found guilty again April 12 of murder.
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COA affirms father’s convictions stemming from daughter’s injuries

April 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a St. Joseph County man’s claims that the trial court abused its discretion regarding the admission and exclusion of certain evidence at his jury trial for charges related to injuries to his infant daughter.
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Governor appoints 2 to St. Joseph Superior bench

April 10, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has made his first two judicial appointments, naming Elizabeth C. Hurley and Steven L. Hostetler to the St. Joseph Superior bench to replace two judges retiring this year.
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Gammage appointed magistrate in St. Joseph Circuit Court

April 4, 2013
IL Staff
St. Joseph Circuit Judge Michael Gotsch announced Wednesday that Andre B. Gammage will replace Elizabeth C. Hurley as magistrate judge on the court. Hurley was recently appointed to the St. Joseph Superior bench by Gov. Mike Pence.
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Pence appoints Hostetler to St. Joseph bench

March 28, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday that he has selected Steven L. Hostetler to replace St. Joseph Superior Chief Judge Michael P. Scopelitis when he retires June 3.
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Pence gets finalist list for St. Joe judgeship

March 27, 2013
IL Staff
A letter containing the names of the five finalists vying to succeed St. Joseph Superior Judge Michael P. Scopelitis has been delivered to Gov. Mike Pence. Scopelitis will retire in June. The list was tweaked after finalist Elizabeth Hurley was appointed to fill another pending vacancy on the court.
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Pence appoints Hurley to St. Joseph bench

March 25, 2013
IL Staff
Gov. Mike Pence on Monday made his first appointment to the judiciary, announcing Elizabeth C. Hurley will fill a vacancy when St. Joseph Superior Judge Roland W. Chamblee retires March 31.
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5 finalists named for St. Joseph judgeship

March 19, 2013
IL Staff
The St. Joseph County Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission has selected the five finalists to fill an upcoming vacancy on the court when Chief Judge Michael P. Scopelitis retires in June.
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Interviews Monday for St. Joseph judicial opening

March 15, 2013
IL Staff
The St. Joseph Superior Court Judicial Nominating Commission meets Monday to conduct interviews of applicants to fill a vacancy on the court due to Judge Michael P. Scopelitis’ retirement.
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Applications open for St. Joseph judgeship

February 11, 2013
IL Staff
Applications are being accepted for a forthcoming vacancy on the St. Joseph Superior Court, the Indiana Supreme Court has announced.
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Mishawaka man sues Walgreens over alleged violation of 'guns in workplace' laws

February 7, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A former Walgreens store employee plans to file a lawsuit Thursday in St. Joseph County alleging the company fired him for lawfully carrying his gun into another Walgreens location where his wife worked.
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Northern Indiana judges help create state's mock trial tradition

January 30, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Standing between two judges offering different opinions on how to proceed is not a place many attorneys would want to be. However, a group of students at Adams High School in South Bend often found themselves with opposing pieces of advice from the jurists. Two sets of instructions, two judges and no chance for a recess.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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