Courts

Mistake invalidates termination of dad's rights

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A father's consent to voluntarily terminate his parental rights so his sister could adopt his daughter was invalidated by misrepresentations made by a family case manager for the Department of Child Services. As such, the father's petition to set aside the judgment should have been granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Appellate court upholds guardian appointment

March 2, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the appointment of a third-party guardian for an incompetent adult because a disinterested person may hopefully prevent unnecessary disputes caused by mistrust between the woman's children and husband.
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Justice honored for commitment to diversity

March 2, 2010
IL Staff
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. will be honored with an American Bar Association Section of Litigation's 2010 Diversity Leadership Award next month. The award honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity in the legal profession.
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Juvenile documentary series wins award

March 1, 2010
IL Staff
The "Lake County Juvenile Justice" documentaries filmed by an Indiana production company will receive this year's Gracie Allen Award for outstanding TV series.
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COA: Consent prevented constitutional violations

March 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of two defendants' motion to suppress evidence even though it wasn't reasonable under the Indiana Constitution because one of the men gave his consent to search the bag which held drugs.
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High court grants 6 transfers

March 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer today to decide whether casinos can ban card counters. The high court also granted transfer to five cases Thursday, including a case of first impression regarding post-retirement health-insurance premiums.
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Lawmakers revising sex-offender registry rules

February 26, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawmakers are revising state law following the confusion created by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year relating to how convicted sex offenders can be removed from a statewide registry if they believe registration wasn't required at the time of their conviction.
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Judge dismisses soldiers' toxic exposure suit

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction a suit brought by soldiers who were exposed while in Iraq to a toxic chemical known to increase the risk of developing cancer.
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Judges find stop violated Fourth Amendment

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a defendant's stop by police and subsequent search of a wheelbarrow he was pushing - which led to convictions of burglary and theft - violated the man's Fourth Amendment rights. The Circuit Court ordered the defendant's petition for habeas corpus be granted.
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COA: Commissioners couldn't dissolve district

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Brown County Commissioners had no authority to enact an ordinance to attempt to dissolve a recently created fire district, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA: inequity in grandparent visitation act

February 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals discovered an inequity in the Grandparent Visitation Act due to the lack of biological relationships between the parties in an adoption petition.
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High court adopts COA opinion in billing dispute

February 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Wednesday in a dispute over who bears the burden to prove "pecuniary liability" under the Worker's Compensation Act, and adopted the Indiana Court of Appeals' opinion on the matter.
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7th Circuit: Officer entitled to qualified immunityRestricted Content

February 24, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Because Indiana's conversion statute doesn't appear to have an implied-consent defense, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a couple's excuse for possessing another person's camping gear was irrelevant to the probable-cause determination to arrest them.
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Workshop examines foster care

February 24, 2010
IL Staff
Child Advocates and the Marion Superior Court's Juvenile Division are hosting a workshop this week in Indianapolis to examine why more African-American children are in the county's foster care than other races.
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High court defines 'briefly'

February 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In two cases involving a statutory defense to possession or dealing of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, the Indiana Supreme Court defined the term "briefly" and ruled on whether the defendants were briefly near schools when they committed their crimes.
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Schools sue over state funding formula

February 23, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Three Indiana school districts are suing the state over the Indiana's per-pupil school-funding formula.
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Courthouse to be named after justice

February 22, 2010
IL Staff
The Lake County Superior Courthouse in Gary will soon have a new name to honor an Indiana Supreme Court Justice.
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7th Circuit: amendment applies to all mortgagesRestricted Content

February 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A 2007 amendment allowing recorded mortgages with certain technical defects to provide constructive notice, as if the mortgages were properly recorded and acknowledged, applies to all mortgages regardless of when they were recorded, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Indiana joins Asian carp lawsuit

February 22, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Attorney General is joining in the legal dispute over Asian carp in Lake Michigan. Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed an amicus brief on Friday in the lawsuit with the United States Supreme Court in Michigan's lawsuit against Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
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Lawmakers criticize traffic court fines

February 19, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A legislative committee this week unanimously approved a bill that would cap the fines a court could assess for traffic violations.
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Rush County courts join Odyssey

February 19, 2010
IL Staff
The Rush Superior and Circuit Courts and clerk's office have gone online on Odyssey, the Indiana Supreme Court's case management system.
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DCS to appeal injunction on rate cuts

February 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services wants the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a judge's decision to temporarily stop DCS rate cuts.
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Proof of service is state's burden

February 18, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an invasion of privacy conviction today because the state didn't prove the defendant knew he was the subject of an active protective order. The appellate court also concluded that notice of a protective order should come from the state.
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AG files suit to recover taxpayer money

February 18, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Attorney General has filed a complaint in St. Joseph Circuit Court to recover public money that the former Lakeville clerk-treasurer allegedly spent on personal items like movie rentals and satellite television.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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