Courts

Court video project exposes problems

April 23, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Supreme Court wanted feedback on a pilot project using an audio-video record as the official appellate transcript in three Indiana courts. Lawyers at a recent discussion on the topic appear to favor pulling the plug.
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Rise of the zombie house

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
When a bank files a motion to set aside a foreclosure judgment, often the courts consider the filing good news, assuming the lender and the homeowner have reached a settlement. But things aren’t always what they seem, and courts can be at risk of being duped.
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Ruling may hint at future of Indiana's marriage law

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the plaintiffs’ attorneys and the Indiana attorney general both emphasize a federal judge’s temporary order that the state recognize the marriage of one same-sex couple is short-term and limited, the ruling has given gay marriage proponents hope that Indiana’s marriage statute will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional.
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From the principal’s office to the courtroom

April 23, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Stakeholders want educators and courts to collaborate to end the school-to-prison pipeline.
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Indiana Judges Association: Judging from the mountaintop

April 23, 2014
David Dreyer
If judges wore wigs in the United States, there might be a marked increase, I say, in public confidence in our courts. Hopefully, it would not be outweighed by any marked increase in public satire, but it could not be any worse than the judge shows now on daytime TV. The public always needs to understand that courts are serious and judges are different. More importantly, it is necessary to understand why.
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Disciplinary Actions - 4/23/14

April 23, 2014
IL Staff
Read who's been suspended recently by the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Assertion of state’s rights may not support same-sex marriage ban

April 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana is contenting that states have the authority to define marriage, but the federal court and the ACLU of Indiana have given little merit to the state’s arguments for maintaining a ban on same-sex marriage.
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Defender’s trial strategy trumps inmate’s pro se early-trial request

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
A prison inmate who asked for a public defender then said at an initial hearing he wanted to “file for fast and speedy trial too” lost his appeal that argued the court erred by not ruling on his request and his trial counsel was ineffective.
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Hogsett: Machine gun case most ‘egregious,’ ‘dangerous’ he’s seen

April 22, 2014
IL Staff
Joe Hogsett on Tuesday announced the maximum penalty was warranted in a felony firearm case he called the most “egregious and dangerous” he’s seen during his time as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Government drops Conour sentence appeal

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
The U.S. attorney’s office will no longer seek a longer prison sentence for convicted legal fraudster William Conour, according to documents filed recently in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Conour’s appeal will move forward.
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Grandparents lose adoption appeal in first-impression case

April 22, 2014
Dave Stafford
Grandparents who filed late motions challenging a stepfather’s adoption of a 6-year-old are not entitled to relief based on their argument they didn’t receive legal notice, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in a family law case raising two issues of first impression.
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Parallel parenting provision divides COA

April 22, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
In reversing a trial court’s modification of the custody agreement even though neither parent requested a change in custody, the Indiana Court of Appeals split over how much discretion a Parallel Parenting Time Order grants a court.
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Reversal: Neighbors may intervene in environmental cleanup case

April 21, 2014
Dave Stafford
Businesses neighboring an Indianapolis industrial property that was forced to clean up hazardous chemicals were improperly shut out of litigation involving the city and state, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Utica school preservationists win reversal, get day in court

April 21, 2014
Dave Stafford
Clark County residents who sued township officials over how a former school in the Ohio River community of Utica was being used will get to plead their case, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday, reversing a trial court order for the township.
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7th Circuit affirms Wisconsin’s limits on unions, Indiana RTW challenge remains

April 18, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
While still considering a challenge to Indiana’s right-to-work law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed Wisconsin’s statute limiting the collective bargaining power of some public sector unions. 
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Brokers fear criminal justice complex could harm downtown Indianapolis

April 18, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
Creating a new criminal justice complex outside of downtown Indianapolis will mean big changes for the Mile Square, and some real estate brokers think the transition will be painful.
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Judges uphold custody award of non-biological child to stepfather

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an award granting a man primary physical custody of his child with his ex-wife, as well as her daughter from a previous relationship.
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Judge: Assessor waived objection

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court denied the Jefferson County assessor’s request that a couple’s appeal of the assessment of their residential real property be dismissed, finding the assessor waived her objection to the timeliness of the couple’s administrative record request.
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COA reverses award of attorney fees to couple

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial court erred in awarding attorney fees to a couple that sued their insurer following a car accident. The trial court ruled that GEICO litigated the claim in bad faith.
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Employee defection sparks battle between brokerages

April 17, 2014
Chris O'Malley, IBJ Staff
Hylant Group says a former worker in its Carmel offices broke a non-compete agreement and poached clients for his new insurance-brokerage gig in Indianapolis.

 
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Judges disagree whether mother’s relocation is in good faith

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A panel on the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday couldn’t agree whether a northern Indiana mother’s decision to relocate with her two children was made in good faith. The majority upheld her request to relocate.
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Court reverses woman’s driving while suspended conviction

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because a woman’s conviction for driving while suspended was based in part on trial court speculation that she had driven farther than was necessary to put herself out of harm’s way, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the conviction.
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Judges find court should have granted expungement

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that the word “shall” in Indiana Code 35-38-9-2(d) is mandatory language requiring expungement, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s petition to expunge his 2004 misdemeanor sexual misconduct with a minor conviction.
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Justices leave man’s life sentence intact

April 17, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday upheld a Lake County man’s sentence of life in prison without parole for the murder of a co-worker during a robbery. Ronnie Jamel Rice claimed the trial court improperly relied on non-statutory aggravators when imposing his sentence.
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Justices: parole conditions unenforceable, SOMM constitutional

April 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday ordered a trial court to enjoin the Indiana Parole Board from enforcing the conditions of a man’s parole that prevent him from associating with minors. But the justices denied his request to find the Sex Offender Management and Monitoring program is unconstitutional.
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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

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