State agencies

Majority upholds dismissal of unemployment benefits appeal

January 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split today on whether a woman’s appeal after she was denied unemployment benefits should be reinstated. The woman claimed she missed the administrative law judge’s phone call because of confusion regarding different time zones.
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AG swears in new victims’ advocate

January 21, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The new director of victim advocacy programs for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office was sworn in at 11 a.m. today in the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis Wynne Courtroom.
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Arguments set in Medicaid appeal

January 19, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
In a case that involves whether Medicaid applicants who were rejected can include information that was not in their initial applications when they appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court has set oral arguments for March 3 at 9 a.m.
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SCOTUS refuses to accept two Indiana cases

January 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has refused to take two Indiana cases, including the high-profile abuse and neglect case of 3-year-old TaJanay Bailey that revealed fatal flaws in the state’s child welfare system.
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General Assembly returns for 2011 session

January 5, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Senate and House of Representatives reconvened this afternoon to begin the 2011 long session. The legislators still have time to file bills, but there are already several bills introduced that may affect Indiana courts and the legal community.
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Bankruptcy delays collection effort

January 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick has filed for bankruptcy, putting on hold the state’s attempt to seize his property to help pay off the $108 million he owes from a civil racketeering default judgment against him.
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Unsuccessful Medicaid applicants aren't entitled to in-person hearing

December 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
People whose applications have been denied for Medicaid disability benefits do not have a constitutional right to an in-person administrative hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Judges split on approving high-cost retraining tuition

December 16, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals couldn’t agree on whether a laid-off man’s request for training at an expensive college should be approved.
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Governor appoints former prosecutor candidate to ATC

December 10, 2010
IL Staff
Mark Massa, the Republican candidate for Marion County prosecutor, is the new chairman of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the appointment Thursday.
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Judge: not all farm expenses are tax deductible

December 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A probate court incorrectly allowed an estate to deduct three farm-related expenses from its inheritance tax return, but affirmed the deduction of the remaining nine in question, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Tuesday.
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Settlement reached on foster care rates

December 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Department of Child Services has agreed not to cut subsidies for foster and adoptive parents and other caregivers as part of a class-action settlement in federal court.
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Social-services recipients entitled to injunctive relief

December 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Family and Social Services Administration’s adverse action notices pertaining to public benefits programs that don’t name specific missing eligibility documents don’t comport with the requirement of procedural due process, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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AG's involvement questioned in prosecutor forfeiture suit

November 24, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office plans to “zealously defend” 78 prosecutors being sued over civil forfeiture collection practices, meaning the state courts will likely have to analyze not only the merits of that issue but also whether two separate state statutes restrict how Indiana’s top attorney can intervene in this taxpayer-filed qui tam lawsuit.
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Court programs, economy among focuses of foreclosure conference

November 24, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
When it comes to the problem of mortgage foreclosures in Indiana, there appears to be no end in sight, at least not yet.
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Programs target older foster youth

November 24, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
For foster youth who are about to age out of the system or have already done so, there often is no support system. That decreases one’s chance of getting a good education and increases the likelihood that the former foster youth will end up homeless or become involved in illegal activity and be arrested after aging out.
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AG holds first criminal justice summit on death penalty costs

November 24, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In what was the first of its kind in Indiana, the state Attorney General’s Office held a criminal justice summit at the University of Notre Dame this month to examine the critical issues the legal system faces from capital cases where the death penalty is utilized.
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ATC chairman stepping down

November 10, 2010
IL Staff
P. Thomas Snow, a former judge in Wayne County, is resigning as chairman of the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.
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Ukrainian lawyers in IndianaRestricted Content

October 27, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
On their recent visit to Indiana, six delegates from the Ukraine in various legal roles learned how similar and different their legal system is compared to the justice system in the U.S. by visiting and observing it firsthand.
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COA: Candidate remains on ballot

October 20, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Republican winner of the primary election for Indiana House of Representatives District 74 will remain on the ballot for the general election, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Ukrainian delegates visit Indianapolis, observe legal system

October 19, 2010
IL Staff
Six delegates from the Ukraine’s legal community will be in Indianapolis through Saturday to learn about the American legal system by observing court hearings and meeting with members of the legal community, as well as participating in cultural activities.
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States' lawsuit challenging federal health-care law can proceed

October 15, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit filed by 20 states, including Indiana, challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health-care law can go forward on two counts, a Florida federal judge ruled Thursday.
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ISBA panel still studying ALJ issues

October 13, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels fired the state’s top utility regulator recently, citing ethical concerns about how a now-former administrative law judge presided over cases involving a regulated energy company leading up to his taking a job there.
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7th Circuit finds for energy plant

October 12, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a decision out of Indiana regarding a claim by the Environmental Protection Agency that Cinergy Corp. was wrong to modify its coal-burning plants without first obtaining a permit from the EPA.
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Court cuts $42.4 million state back pay award

October 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today significantly slashed a $42.4 million damages award against the state, cutting the period from which employees can recover back pay from 20 years to about two months.
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Governor: 1-year cooling off period applies to ALJs

October 5, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The governor today fired the state's top utility regulator, citing ethical concerns about how a former Administrative Law Judge presided over cases involving a regulated energy company leading up to his taking a job there.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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