Courts

COA splits over jury instruction, affirms conviction

March 27, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Indiana Court of Appeals split over whether the jury instruction was erroneous, the panel was unanimous in upholding the defendant’s conviction for theft from Walmart.
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Bartholomew juvenile detentions plummet under JDAI

March 27, 2015
 Associated Press
The number of local juvenile offenders detained each year in Bartholomew County has been decreasing dramatically during the past decade, the Columbus Republic reports.
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Dispute over beach ownership heading back to trial court

March 26, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Property owners along Lake Michigan will have another chance to make their arguments in a dispute over which part of the beach belongs to them and which belongs to the public.
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Driving 91 mph in 55 zone supports reckless driving verdict

March 26, 2015
Dave Stafford
A driver’s argument that his speed of 91 mph on a 55-mph country road was insufficient evidence of endangerment cut no ice with the trial court, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed Thursday.
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Justices agree to rewrite footnote conflicting with opinion

March 26, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court agreed to rewrite a footnote that was at least confusing if not in conflict with its opinion in a case reviewing an action of the Department of Insurance.
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Plaintiffs in bar shooting were owed protection

March 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
When a customer pulled a gun and started shooting, the bar had a well-established duty to protect its other customers, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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State statute protects taxpayers from loan dispute

March 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Ruling that taxpayers should not be penalized for a bank’s lack of diligence, the Indiana Court of Appeals has held a financial institution cannot recoup the outstanding balance on a loan for a fire truck.
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Justices spell out required 'presumption of innocence' jury instruction

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
A convicted murderer who didn’t receive a requested jury instruction on the presumption of innocence lost his appeal Wednesday, but the Indiana Supreme Court used the case to impart an exact instruction trial courts must use going forward upon request.
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COA reverses neglect resulting in death verdict against mom

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis mother was wrongly convicted of neglect of a dependent child resulting in death, the Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday in reversing the jury’s verdict. Judges found evidence against Chelsea Taylor was insufficient to support the conviction.
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Bragging is admissible in court, COA rules

March 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant’s statement to law enforcement that he could “read” people was a boast and not a character reference, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals, so it was admissible at trial.
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Termination of parental rights waiting period requires no services

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Parents of children removed from the home for 15 of the prior 22 months before a hearing on termination of parental rights may not argue that a lack of services during that time tolls the waiting period, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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COA reverses lease judgment for tenant, finds for landlord

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
A medical office that leased space from a landlord lost a judgment in its favor in a dispute over owed rent. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed and ordered judgment in favor of the property owner.
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SCOTUS sides with ex-UPS worker who claims pregnancy bias

March 25, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court is giving a former UPS driver another chance to prove her claim of discrimination after the company did not offer her lighter duty when she was pregnant.
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Appeals court sets April hearing on Obama immigration action

March 25, 2015
 Associated Press
A court hearing has been set for April 17 on whether a temporary hold on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action should be lifted, a federal appeals court announced Tuesday.
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Boyer selected new Allen County Small Claims Court magistrate

March 25, 2015
IL Staff
Thomas P. Boyer, a magistrate for Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division, has been named the newest magistrate judge of the Allen Superior Court Small Claims Division. Boyer replaces Magistrate Jerry Ummel, who recently announced his retirement after 27 years on the bench.
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State closes 2 businesses for unpaid taxes

March 25, 2015
IL Staff
An Indianapolis architecture firm and a Greenfield restaurant were ordered closed Tuesday because the businesses owe the state almost $900,000 combined in taxes. Indiana courts issued temporary restraining orders preventing both from transacting business.
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A lifetime of service

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Imagine reviewing your bosses’ expense claims and finding something that raises red flags. Now imagine it’s your job to go to your bosses and reject their claims.
Incidentally, your bosses are judges. And there are 15 of them. You’ve just imagined one of the routine tasks of veteran Indiana Court of Appeals administrator Steve Lancaster. If you can negotiate this task and dozens of others for the court’s judges and 18 administrative staff members, you may be the person to take Lancaster’s place.
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Commemorating a legal legacy

March 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
In his hometown of Evansville where he is known to friends and colleagues as “Randy,” retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard is being recognized in a way that members of the legal community say will appropriately honor his legacy. Money from private donors and legal organizations is being put toward two commemorations. The first is a plaque noting Shepard’s contributions to Indiana that will hang outside the Randall T. Shepard Courtroom in the historic Vanderburgh County Courthouse. The second is a lecture series which will bring nationally known lawyers and legal scholars to Evansville to talk about law and leadership.
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Workplace equality: Employers must be of aware court-ordered requirements

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
The advice labor and employment attorneys provide companies is changing in light of recent court decisions on Indiana’s laws governing same-sex marriage, and it may change again when the Supreme Court of the United States rules on the issue.
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Justices hear textbook case of errors in evidence

March 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who stabbed his son-in-law and was convicted of battery with a deadly weapon argues trial court errors prevented him from presenting evidence that he acted in self-defense. The appellant claims the victim was the first to strike, whacking him with a 2-by-4 piece of lumber.
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Lawyer who tried to trade representation for sex suspended

March 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
A former Marion County public defender accused of offering to trade legal service for sex with a prostitute has been suspended from the practice of law.
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Incredible dubiosity argument does not sway Indiana Supreme Court

March 24, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Inconsistencies from witnesses on the details of a crime did not convince the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn a jury’s verdict that found a South Bend man guilty of two murders.
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Justices find no public school transportation mandate

March 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
A dispute over a suburban Indianapolis school system’s fees for bus service ended Tuesday with the state Supreme Court ruling that public schools are not constitutionally required to provide transportation for students.
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Justices reverse trespass conviction of man near break-in scene

March 24, 2015
Dave Stafford

The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the trespassing conviction of a man arrested by Indianapolis police who saw him running in a field near the scene of a reported break-in.

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Mistaken interpretation of law by officer created reasonable suspicion

March 24, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed its earlier reversal of a trial court ruling after the Supreme Court of the United States found that reasonable mistakes of law do not violate the Fourth Amendment.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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