evidence

Murder conviction stands despite closing argument error

February 8, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A deputy prosecutor’s misstep during closing arguments was not enough to overcome the abundant evidence of guilt and force a new trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.   
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Judge says Spierer search warrants must remain sealed

February 3, 2016
 Associated Press
A judge says information regarding search warrants connected to the 2011 disappearance of an Indiana University student need to remain sealed so the investigation won't be compromised.
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Attorney urges jurors in house blast trial to keep open mind

January 22, 2016
 Associated Press
An attorney for a man accused of murder and arson in a house explosion that killed two people urged jurors to keep an open mind despite emotional testimony they will hear during the trial expected to last more than a month.
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7th Circuit upholds convictions in attempted post office robbery

January 20, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A videotaped interview brought to light mid-trial and the suppressed personnel record of a detective did not constitute violations under Brady v. Maryland, warranting a new trial for a man convicted of aiding and abetting firearm use during the attempted robbery of a Fort Wayne post office in 2012.
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Justices find victim’s statements regarding altercation fall under hearsay exception

January 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The admission of testimony regarding a murder victim’s recount of his previous altercation with the man convicted in his murder were properly allowed as hearsay statements under Indiana Evidence Rule 804(b)(3), the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
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COA re-enters molestation conviction, rejects evidence challenge

December 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in vacating one of two convictions of Class A felony child molesting at a Dearborn County man’s sentencing, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The panel also rejected the offender’s claim evidence should not have been admitted.
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DNA evidence properly excluded in rape trial

December 4, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in not allowing evidence in a rape trial that DNA of an unknown male was collected from the victim two days after the incident, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA: Jury properly rejected defendant’s insanity defense

November 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Because there was evidence that a defendant’s mental state at the time he stabbed his estranged wife was due to voluntary intoxication, the jury properly rejected his insanity defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Judge: Private Facebook messages fair game at arson trial

October 27, 2015
 Associated Press
A judge has declined to prevent private Facebook messages from being considered as evidence at the trial of two people charged in an Evansville marina fire.
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Detective’s testimony on drug buy inadmissible, but harmless error

October 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled the admission of a detective’s statement regarding a controlled drug buy should not have been admitted because it resolved the issue of the defendant’s guilt, but that admission into evidence was a harmless error.
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Boilerplate language can’t support warrant for blood draw

October 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a woman’s motion to suppress a blood sample taken after a police officer suspected her of drunken driving. The judges found the affidavit did not contain specific information alleging the woman drove a vehicle.
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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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Court: Man participated in meth manufacturing

September 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s conviction in Whitley County for dealing in methamphetamine by manufacturing was upheld by the Court of Appeals Wednesday. There is evidence that the man knowingly or intentionally aided an acquaintance in making methamphetamine in the home the defendant shared with his girlfriend.
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Shoddy documents draws COA ire

September 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
After appearing to shrug off the need to authenticate documents, a company claiming to own the appellant’s credit card debt got a lesson in Indiana court rules and precedence.
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Admitting evidence of ‘signature’ crime was harmless error

August 31, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the conviction of a man who broke into a woman’s home, severely beat her and attempted to rape her. Evidence that the man looked into the window of another woman in the neighborhood 57 days later should not have been admitted at his trial, but the error was harmless in light of DNA evidence connecting the man to the crime.
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DNA proposal highlights worries over privacy

August 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Sen. Tim Lanane and his colleagues in the Indiana Statehouse are once again wrestling with when to collect genetic material from individuals in the criminal justice system.
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Indiana team that raided Fogle's home used mobile laboratory

August 24, 2015
 Associated Press
When they arrived at Jared Fogle’s home last month, law enforcement officials were armed with more than a search warrant.
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Court of Appeals affirms man’s domestic battery conviction

August 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
Evidence from a forensic nurse was not improperly admitted in the trial of a man who was convicted of felony domestic battery against his girlfriend of 20 years.
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TV’s ‘Shift’ suspect got shaft, but rights weren’t violated

August 18, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who was wrongly arrested and charged with murder by Indianapolis police whose investigation was being documented for the reality TV series “The Shift” lost his appeal in a civil rights lawsuit against police.
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Technology erases need for ‘ancient document’ rule

August 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A longstanding yet rarely invoked federal rule of evidence allowed the admission of an “ancient document” if it was more than 20 years old and appeared to be authentic. However, in an age when decades-old information is easily accessible electronically, a review committee has concluded the exception could be abused.
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7th Circuit divided over appeal from death row inmate

August 13, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A split 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an inmate on Indiana’s death row a chance for a new trial, finding the exclusion of a witness’s videotaped interview which could have possibly exonerated him was inadmissible as hearsay.
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Interim committees schedule hearings on hot-button issues

August 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana legislators are preparing to examine a proposal that would permit the collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony in the state.
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Judge’s description not impermissible judicial testimony

August 4, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A Marion County judge who described the testimony to jurors as “heartfelt” did not overstep the prohibition against the judiciary acting as a witness.
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Victim’s statements were dying declaration, COA rules

July 31, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected the argument that the victim, who was shot multiple times and eventually did die, could not have made a dying declaration because paramedics repeatedly told him he would live.
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Justices affirm molestation conviction despite vouching testimony

July 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s conviction of Class C felony child molestation was affirmed Thursday by the Indiana Supreme Court, which held that even though improper vouching testimony was admitted in error, the defendant failed to preserve the issue for appeal.
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  1. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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