Drugs

Court affirms termination of parental rights without case plan

August 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
Morgan County parents, including a father who dealt meth to a confidential informant while his wife and three minor children were present, lost an appeal of their termination of parental rights Tuesday.
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Search of home after improper GPS tracking affirmed

August 8, 2014
Dave Stafford
Though the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed the warrantless installation of GPS devices was improper, it affirmed a trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress evidence subsequently collected at the home of a suspected drug dealer.
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Man does not need to wait 3 years to file new expungement petition

August 6, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted a defendant’s petition for rehearing to address a “perhaps unique question” presented in his petition: Does he have to wait three years before he can file another petition to expunge the records of his Class A misdemeanor conviction?
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Testimony properly authenticates video

August 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A video showing two brothers outside a home where a drug deal occurred was properly authenticated for trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Asset forfeiture dispute divides appeals panel

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
An order transferring to the federal government money seized from a criminal defendant was deemed proper by the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday, though a dissenting judge said the defendant didn’t even know the order had been issued until nearly two years later.
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7th Circuit remands denial of request for crack cocaine sentence reduction

July 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for his role as a Gary gang member who sold large quantities of crack cocaine will have a new shot at a sentence modification, as will the judge who wrote that the defendant may have been linked to several gang-related murders.
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Court affirms denial of post-conviction relief

July 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County man twice convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison on drug convictions was not improperly denied post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Warrantless search based on smell does not violated 4th Amendment

July 28, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite the absence of danger to the public, the strong odor of raw marijuana provided the probable cause a police officer needed to conduct a warrantless search.
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7th Circuit affirms dismissal of Indianapolis wrongful arrest suit

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A plaintiff who judges say took a “kitchen sink” approach to litigation over an alleged wrongful arrest failed to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a federal judge in Indianapolis improperly dismissed most of her complaint.
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Commission approves retroactive reduction in drug trafficking sentences

July 18, 2014
IL Staff
The United States Sentencing Commission unanimously voted Friday to retroactively apply a reduction in the sentencing guideline levels applicable to most federal trafficking offenders. The change could impact the sentences of more than 46,000 prisoners.
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Plea agreement bars defendant from appealing sentence

July 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant who agreed to waive his right to appeal his sentence after pleading guilty to a drug offense was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that he should be allowed to pursue his ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
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Admittance of hearsay evidence harmless error, rules 7th Circuit

July 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The out-of-court testimony of a woman who said she purchased crack cocaine from a man who was on supervised release should not have been admitted during the man’s hearing regarding revoking his release, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday. But this was a harmless error because the circumstantial evidence supports that the man dealt crack cocaine to the woman.
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Statute does not allow for deferral of dealing marijuana charge

July 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that I.C. 35-48-4-12 would run afoul of double jeopardy or collateral estoppel if the court defers his marijuana possession charge but not his charge of dealing marijuana.
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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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COA affirms termination of parental rights for imprisoned mom

July 11, 2014
Dave Stafford
A trial court was within its authority to terminate the parental rights of a mother serving a minimum 10-year federal prison sentence for conspiracy to deal heroin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges uphold 40-year sentence in drug deal turned robbery

July 9, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s 40-year sentence for his role in the robbery of two people after he set up a drug deal with one of the victims.
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Justices affirm convictions after toddler found wandering by police

June 20, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the admittance of drugs and other evidence obtained by police after searching an apartment following a report of an unattended child. The justices found both parents gave their consent for police to make sure the apartment was fit before returning the child to their care.
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7th Circuit: Attorney provided effective assistance to man facing drug charges

June 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that his trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to object to an interpreter arrangement during a witness’s testimony and chose not to have all of discovery translated into Spanish.
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Justices affirm life without parole for murderer

June 13, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed in all respects the life without parole sentence imposed on a man sentenced for murder.
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Spanish-speaking man did not waive rights in plea, justices hold

June 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A non-native English speaker was able to show the Indiana Supreme Court that, during his guilty plea hearing, he was not properly advised of the constitutional rights he was waiving by pleading guilty. The justices reversed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.
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Indiana to get $2.1M in drugmaker settlement

June 4, 2014
IL Staff
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General announced Wednesday that the state will receive nearly $2.1 million in a multi-state settlement with GlaxoSmithKline LLC concerning three of its drugs.
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Plea bars man from credit for time served on electronic monitoring

April 28, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man entered into a plea agreement that he was not entitled to credit for the time he was on electronic monitoring as a condition of bond, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his 14-year sentence.
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COA: Search of passenger not unconstitutional

April 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s claim that drugs found in her possession should not have been admitted at trial because a police search of her after a traffic stop violated the federal and state constitutions.
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Mom’s one-time meth use does not support CHINS case

April 7, 2014
Dave Stafford
A mother’s isolated use of methamphetamine by itself is insufficient to sustain a child in need of services finding, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Three-way opinion affirms marijuana conviction

March 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
Three Court of Appeals judges each wrote opinions but affirmed a Grant County man’s conviction of Class D felony possession of marijuana.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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