St. Joseph County

Legal community helps prosecutor

August 18, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Following a car accident in early June, a St. Joseph County deputy prosecutor’s life was dramatically changed.
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1-year limit toll not extended by appeal

July 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The one-year limit to file a motion for relief from judgment under Indiana Trial Rule 60(B) is not from the time an appeals court rules on the matter, but must be made within one year after the trial court enters its order, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today in an issue of first impression.
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Justices rule on judicial mandate case

June 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In its first case since the state amended its rules last year on how judicial mandates are handled, the Indiana Supreme Court has today issued a decision about a St. Joseph Superior judge’s mandate for the county to pay for multiple items he considered necessary for running the local juvenile justice system.
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SCOTUS won't take Indiana lab tech case

June 14, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court won’t take a case from the Indiana Supreme Court, which decided last year that it did not violate a man’s Sixth Amendment rights for a lab technician who’d processed DNA evidence to not testify at trial.
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Bar associations statewide mark Law Day

May 12, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
In April and early May, bar associations around the state and the Indiana Supreme Court celebrated Law Day, which is officially May 1, according to the American Bar Association.
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Court pilot programs boost foreclosure conferencesRestricted Content

April 28, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Foreclosure rates have remained at record highs for Indiana the past few years, and a court program to help homeowners hasn't been as successful as hoped. That's now changing.
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COA sets standard in parental rights cases

March 31, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In addressing a statutory inconsistency on parental rights terminations, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that trial judges must offer findings of fact in those types of cases just as they're required to by law for children in need of services cases and grandparent visitation matters.
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Legislature's end suspenseful for legal community

March 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana General Assembly got down to its final hours in a short-session, significant changes for the Hoosier legal community were on the table to possibly increase the number of appellate judges, change how one county chooses its trial judges, and impact how juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Legislators revisit vetoed merit-selection measure

March 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In the final days of the Indiana General Assembly session, as lawmakers pushed to finish and put final touches on the end-of-term business, a 2009 measure that divided the Hoosier legal community came back into play.
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Police animal amendment moves to full House

February 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The proposed amendment making it a Class D felony for someone who kills a police animal while driving drunk has found a home in legislation.
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AG files suit to recover taxpayer money

February 18, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Attorney General has filed a complaint in St. Joseph Circuit Court to recover public money that the former Lakeville clerk-treasurer allegedly spent on personal items like movie rentals and satellite television.
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Police deaths, injury inspire late legislation

February 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although the deadline has passed to introduce new legislation, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak has called on legislators to find current bills that will allow amendments to statute in response to two separate car accidents involving police officers.
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Suit claims courthouse violates ADA

January 7, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Four defendants in cases pending before the St. Joseph Superior Court have filed a lawsuit claiming that county's courthouse is inaccessible for people with disabilities
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Judge wins in mandate action

October 28, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A special judge has ruled in favor of St. Joseph Probate Judge Peter Nemeth, who'd issued a judicial mandate earlier this year directing county officials to transfer money for pay raises and improvements for the juvenile justice center.
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Former St. Joseph Superior judge dies

October 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Judge William T. Means, a former judge on the St. Joseph Superior Court for more than two decades, died Oct. 21 at the age 80.
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St. Joseph Bar evaluates judges

October 22, 2009
IL Staff
The St. Joseph County Bar Association has released the results of its 2009 survey evaluating Superior Court judges. This is the second time the bar association has completed and published this survey.
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Court: No rehearing based on another decision

October 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court granted a petition for rehearing to clarify its ruling that a Hamilton County property qualified for a charitable/religious exemption. The Tax Court also denied rehearing a St. Joseph County case that claimed the decision in that case should be reconsidered based on the original ruling in the Hamilton County case.
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Town court judge publicly admonished

June 22, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications issued a public admonition of the Walkerton Town Court judge today for employing his wife as court clerk for more than 10 years and for participating in an ex parte conversation with a defendant about her traffic infractions.
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Judicial merit-selection override a possibility

May 14, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's top executive has rejected the idea of scrapping merit selection in St. Joseph County, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will attempt to override that veto during a special session.
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Governor gets judicial merit-selection bill

May 6, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels received today legislation that, if signed, would toss out merit selection and retention of St. Joseph Superior judges and also create a new three-judge panel for the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Governor likely to soon get St. Joe judges bill

April 29, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels will likely receive legislation today aimed primarily at scrapping judicial merit selection in St. Joseph County and creating a new Indiana Court of Appeals panel starting 2011.
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UPDATE: Committee tweaking St. Joe judges bill

April 23, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A legislative conference committee is debating what changes might be possible for a bill aimed at scrapping merit selection for St. Joseph Superior judges.
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Former justice discusses merit selection

April 22, 2009
Michael Hoskins
During a visit to South Bend today, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor pushed a message that merit selection is the best way to ensure an independent judiciary, though her words come at a time when state lawmakers are close to scrapping that very system in the county she visited.
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Senate OKs COA panel, St. Joe judge elections

April 15, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full Senate voted today in support of legislation scrapping the St. Joseph Superior judge merit-selection system for judicial elections, and also creating a new panel for the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Senate gets St. Joe judges bill, with twist

April 8, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full Indiana Senate will consider in the next week whether St. Joseph Superior judges should be elected or merit-selected and retained by voters. A Senate committee wants the full legislative body to consider that issue, but with a twist: An amendment has been attached to the controversial House Bill 1491.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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