Courts

Divided panel: OWI-causing-death retrial not double jeopardy

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel upheld a man’s conviction and 14-year sentence for driving while intoxicated causing death, but a dissenting judge said the unusual case history that led to the outcome constituted double jeopardy.
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Court affirms higher home assessment as compared to neighbors

January 24, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court Thursday affirmed the 2007 assessment of a property in an upscale community on Lake Michigan, rejecting the homeowner’s argument that the assessment should be lower because surrounding homes were assessed at a lower ratio when taking into account the prices at which the homes were sold.
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Split opinion: Disclosure of insurance policy limit is reversible error

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
Ruling on an issue of first impression, a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday rejected a jury’s award of $250,000 to the widow of a motorcyclist injured in a crash. The majority remanded for a new trial, holding that disclosure of uninsured motorist policy limits was irrelevant and prejudiced the jury.
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Appeals panel upholds $3.9M verdict for bicyclist hit by school bus

January 24, 2014
Dave Stafford
A student riding his bicycle to school on Washington Street in Indianapolis was hit by a school bus and critically injured, and a jury’s $3.9 million judgment in his favor was proper, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Judges reverse possession of meth, paraphernalia convictions

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a consolidated appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Huntington County man’s convictions and sentences for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia, ruling the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence purportedly seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
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COA: Teen who shot cows did not mutilate or torture them

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday reversed a teenager’s adjudications for cruelty to an animal after finding the evidence was not sufficient to prove he mutilated or tortured either cow he shot.
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COA: Insurers have no duty to defend in environmental case

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by an Indiana court relying on Maryland law that granted summary judgment and defense costs to a business whose product led to perchlorate contamination in California and Indiana.
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Court upholds suppression of mentally ill man’s confession

January 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson

Citing an inadequate Miranda warning and the mental illness a murder suspect has, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of the defendant’s motion to suppress confessions that he murdered two women. 

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IndyBar releases judicial candidate survey results

January 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion County Superior judge currently suspended pending final disciplinary action was overwhelmingly not recommended by her peers to be re-elected, according to a survey released by the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Judicial Excellence Committee.
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Improper conduct by trial court does not require reversal of contempt order

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Tuesday found a trial judge committed some improper conduct during a hearing on a protective order, with one judge noting the court was “precariously close to crossing the line” when intervening in the proceedings. Despite this, the appellate court affirmed the order of contempt in favor of the petitioner.
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7th Circuit affirms above-guideline sentence for gun possession

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The District Court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing a man who pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm by a felon to a sentence above guidelines, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
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Man wins partial victory in appeal of insurance dispute

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit filed by man who was hit by a car while crossing the street will continue with respect to the driver of the car, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The judges affirmed summary judgment in favor of the driver’s insurer.
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Justices send Boonville annexation case back to trial court

January 21, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Multiple parcels of land acquired by the state for an adjoining public roadway should be counted as one parcel for purposes of remonstration, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Justices take case arguing retroactivity for revised criminal code

January 21, 2014
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of cocaine charges as a Class A felony and ultimately sentenced to 38 years in prison will get to argue to the Indiana Supreme Court that his punishment is disproportionate to the reduced offense that will take effect in July as part of Indiana’s revised criminal code.
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Magistrate, expungement bills pass committee

January 17, 2014
IL Staff
Legislation updating Indiana’s expungement law – including language specifying where a petition for expungement must be filed – is now eligible for consideration by the full House. The expungement bill is one of several that moved out of committee Thursday.
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Courts warn of email scam using phony court cases

January 17, 2014
IL Staff
The United States Courts cautioned attorneys this week about an email scam in which the emails purporting to come from federal and state courts are infecting recipients with computer viruses.
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Beer wholesalers enlist lawmakers in fight against Monarch

January 17, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
The Statehouse is a common battlefield for factions in Indiana's alcoholic beverage industry, and this session, one group of beer wholesalers is firing shots in multiple directions.
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Opinion affirms New Albany has zoning jurisdiction over fringe area of county

January 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
In a dispute between the city of New Albany and Floyd County concerning which entity has zoning jurisdiction over an unincorporated area outside city limits, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the city.
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Company can’t prevail in appeal on claims of collusion

January 16, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the confirmation of a sale of an ethanol plant in South Bend to a joint venture, rejecting a nonbidder’s claim that the establishment of the joint venture amounted to collusion that spoiled the auction.
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Dickson: Lawmakers’ help needed to fix Marion County Small Claims courts

January 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson told a joint session of the General Assembly Wednesday that lawmakers’ help was needed to fix Marion County Township Small Claims Courts, which have been plagued by allegations of forum shopping and other criticism.
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Hamilton County considers veterans court

January 15, 2014
Andrea Muirragui Davis, Dave Stafford
A problem-solving court that could offer diversion programs for veterans charged with minor offenses is under consideration in Noblesville.
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Inaccurate drain location data causes city to lose negligence suit

January 15, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Because the city of Fort Wayne did not provide accurate locations of its drains to a utility company involved in constructing an underground monolith, its negligence suit against the utility company can’t survive summary judgment. An underground drain was damaged during the process, causing flooding in the area.
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Some attorneys aren't sold on the proposed Marion County Criminal Justice Complex

January 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
Redundancies and inefficiencies, plus concerns for security at the jail and at the Indianapolis City-County Building – where defendants with court dates come into regular contact with the public – prompted city and county officials last month to announce a Criminal Justice Complex proposal that would bring courts, jails and other related functions under one very large roof.
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Preserving the past

January 15, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
County clerks, archivists and court administration work to keep historical records accessible.
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Suspension may herald end of Kimberly Brown’s judicial career

January 15, 2014
Dave Stafford
Before suspended Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown was facing possible removal from the bench for dozens of disciplinary counts, she had difficulties in her prior court, according to recent filings arguing for the ultimate sanction against a judge.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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