Sentence

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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7th Circuit rejects prisoner’s ineffective assistance appeal

July 28, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of attempted murder failed to convince a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that he suffered sufficient prejudice to warrant relief from a 90-year sentence imposed after a brutal crime.
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Woman waived challenge to amount of loss attributable to her conduct

July 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 57-month sentence for a woman involved in a real estate fraud scheme, finding she waived the issue regarding the amount of loss attributable to her conduct.
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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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Judges uphold felony conviction for kicking cat

July 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an Allen County man’s conviction of Class D felony torturing or mutilating a vertebrate animal, finding sufficient evidence that the man knowingly or intentionally mutilated a cat that somehow got into his house.
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Appeals court affirms post-conviction relief not justified for rapist

July 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who pleaded guilty in 1997 to raping his 6-year-old daughter committed a crime so heinous that his sentence of 50 years in prison was justified, and he raised no issues in a post-conviction relief appeal on which the sentence could be reduced.
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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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Counties worry about cost of criminal code changes

July 2, 2014
 Associated Press
Sweeping changes to Indiana's criminal code took effect Tuesday that will send more low-level, nonviolent criminals to community corrections programs and jails instead of state prisons, causing concern by some about the financial burden it will put on counties.
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Plea agreement did not give court ability to impose restrictive probation

June 30, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court went too far when it accepted a plea agreement then imposed a one-year term in work release as a condition of probation, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled.
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Judges vacate 2 conditions of supervised release

June 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because two special conditions imposed on a man convicted of attempted extortion do not bear a reasonably direct relationship to his underlying crimes, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated those conditions.
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7th Circuit: Defendant’s counsel not ineffective

June 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday declined to find that a defendant’s appointed attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel requiring the court to vacate or correct his 20-year sentence.
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2 convicted for roles in death of fellow inmate

June 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Two inmates at the Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution have been convicted for their roles in the death of a fellow inmate, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana announced Wednesday. William J. Bell and Lenard Dixon were recently ordered to wear modified leg restraints during their trial.
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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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Court affirms repeat burglar’s sentence

June 13, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man who broke into the same property repeatedly and another property at a different time could not persuade an appellate panel that his 24-year sentence was inappropriate because the crimes were from a single episode.
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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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Federal court seeks comment on local sentencing procedure rule

June 6, 2014
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has determined there is a need to amend Local Criminal Rule 13.1 on sentencing procedure and is accepting comment on the proposed changes.
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COA: Man’s sentence after guilty plea is illegal

June 5, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s 10-year sentence resulting from a guilty plea for abusing his adopted teenaged children, holding that the sentence was based on an incorrect application of I.C. 35-50-1-2.
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Sentences imposed on Anderson juveniles in double homicide reduced

June 3, 2014
Dave Stafford
Two Anderson youths convicted for their roles in the shooting deaths of a couple they robbed of money and marijuana may someday be freed from prison after the Indiana Supreme Court significantly reduced their sentences Monday.
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Prosecutor’s lack of objection allows judge to modify sentence

May 14, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a case where a woman sought modification of her sentence more than a year after it was imposed, the Indiana Supreme Court found that the prosecutor’s conduct satisfied the “approval” requirement of Indiana Code 35-38-1-17(b).
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Statute doesn’t allow consecutive habitual offender sentences

May 7, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man’s sentence for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, finding the trial court had no authority to order his present sentence, enhanced by the habitual substance offender statute, to be served consecutively to his previously enhanced sentences.
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COA: Man not entitled to have restricted access to OWI conviction

April 30, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a man committed another crime while on probation, he failed to satisfy the obligations imposed as part of his sentence, so he did not qualify to have access to his conviction records restricted under Indiana Code 35-38-8, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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Judges decline to revise man’s 60-year molestation sentence

April 25, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument to revise his sentence for molesting the daughters of his ex-girlfriend to be served concurrently instead of consecutively because of his age and he is paraplegic.
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Justice Department outlines new clemency initiative

April 23, 2014
IL Staff
The U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday announced its initiative to encourage qualified federal inmates to petition to have their sentences commuted or reduced by the president of the United States.
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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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