Courts

State not allowed to intervene in Weinberger case

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the law does not allow the state to become a party to otherwise private litigation at any stage of the proceedings, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed its prior order granting the state’s motion to intervene in a settlement reached between former doctor Mark Weinberger and the estate of a patient.
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Judges clarify late-filed amendment required reversal, not remand

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
On a petition for rehearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its decision to reverse a habitual offender enhancement because the amendment to the habitual offender allegation was made after the trial started and prejudiced the defendant’s rights.
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8-year sentence upheld for teen who killed friend while street racing

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Madison County man who crashed his car while street racing, which killed one passenger and injured two others, could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in declining to give a lesser-included instruction of reckless driving at his trial for reckless homicide.
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Support strong for treatment instead of incarceration in the DOC

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
David Powell, executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, strongly believes that addressing drug dependency and mental health issues can reduce the state’s recidivism rate and, in turn, lower the crime rate.
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Criminal code overhaul shifts focus to sentencing

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The exploding prison population was a key motivator for revising the state’s criminal code, but an independent research group has concluded the new statute will cause a quicker increase in the number of inmates.
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Timing of wrongful death claim disputed

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In a wrongful-death claim filed nearly five years after a nursing home death, the Indiana Supreme Court is considering whether in instances of fraudulent concealment the two-year limitation clock starts over or if giving plaintiffs “reasonable time” to file is an acceptable standard.
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Advocates say justice was delayed, but deal positive for Gingerich

December 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
More than three years after 12-year-old Paul Gingerich was improperly sentenced as an adult to 30 years in prison for his role in a killing, he now has a chance to be free at 18 – an imperfect result, advocates say, that nonetheless might be the best possible under the circumstances.
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Disciplinary Actions - 12/18/13

December 18, 2013
IL Staff
Read who's been suspended or reinstated to practice in Indiana.
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Federal Bar Update: Rule 45 amendments on subpoenas took effect Dec. 1

December 18, 2013
John Maley
Amendments took effect Dec. 1 to Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Also, amendments took effect to several of the Southern District of Indiana’s Local Rules.
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Fees against IHSAA for unreasonable litigation upheld

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana High School Athletic Association should pay for its insistence on enforcing rules that courts repeatedly said were arbitrary and capricious, an appeals panel ruled Tuesday.
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Injured worker has to prove company is secondarily liable in workers' comp claim

December 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals split in deciding a workers’ compensation claim concerning who had the burden to prove whether the true value of work exceeded $1,000 and, therefore, triggered secondary liability.
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Reversal: Insurer had duty to provide dental office full coverage

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
An insurer that for decades wrote policies for a dental office had a special duty to advise the office about coverage and ensure the office was fully covered, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in reversing summary judgment in favor of the insurer.
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Supreme Court revives Rockport plant proposal

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court revived a controversial state-backed deal that would facilitate construction of a $2.7 billion coal-using synthetic natural gas plant in Rockport. The decision likely sets up another round of state regulatory review if developers choose to move forward.
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Court erred, twice rejected settlement in covenant case

December 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in denying a homeowners association’s request for an injunction against a resident who parked a trailer on her lot. The court then twice rejected joint settlement requests, according to a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Clenched fist and aggressive behavior merit resisting law enforcement conviction

December 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court acknowledged that precedent does not provide a clear definition of “resisting arrest,” but still the court knew it when it saw it in a case where a man was subdued with a Taser after ignoring a police officer’s order to get down on the ground. 
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Despite objections, molester can’t appeal prior physical abuse testimony

December 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Objections made to a line of questioning at a man’s child molestation trial that he had previously assaulted the victim and the victim’s mother didn’t properly preserve the issue, a Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday in affirming his conviction.
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7th Circuit blasts counsel, tosses race-based traffic-stop appeal

December 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart man failed to show a traffic stop and drunken-driving arrest was unconstitutional in an appeal that a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected with an opinion blasting his lawyer’s work.
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21st Amendment chain blocked from federal cold-beer suit

December 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
A magistrate judge has blocked a retail liquor store chain’s bid to join a federal lawsuit filed by convenience stores challenging an Indiana law that forbids them from selling cold beer.
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Justices decline to apply dollar for dollar credit for Social Security retirement benefits

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday declined to revisit previous caselaw regarding crediting Social Security Retirement benefits to a noncustodial parent’s child support obligation. The justices affirmed the trial court’s decision to include the benefits in the custodial parent’s weekly adjusted income.
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COA finds man knew of protective order and violated it

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
There is ample evidence proving that a Marion County man was aware his ex-girlfriend obtained a protective order against him when he broke into her home, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Order prohibiting boyfriend from spending time with children too broad

December 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The longtime boyfriend of a mother of triplets should be allowed to continue his relationship with her children as long as it does not undermine or damage the relationship with their father, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. As such, the judges reversed the order preventing the boyfriend from spending time with the children alone.
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Conour appeals fraud conviction, 10-year sentence

December 12, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former attorney William Conour will appeal his conviction and 10-year prison sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud.
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Embattled judge sorry, proposes 60-day suspension

December 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown is apologizing for alleged judicial misconduct that resulted in 47 disciplinary counts against her, proposing to the Indiana Supreme Court that she be suspended for two months. She also says her prior defense, including refusing to take a deposition oath, was “ill-advised.”
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Sniadecki’s forgery sentence suspended

December 11, 2013
IL Staff
Rodney P. Sniadecki, the disbarred sole practitioner from South Bend who was found guilty in September of three counts of forgery, received a suspended sentence and probation Wednesday.
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Marion County announces plan to build new criminal justice complex

December 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Under a plan announced by city and court officials Wednesday, Marion County’s courts, jails and other offices would be located in one complex instead of spread out around downtown Indianapolis and the county.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. 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!!!

  5. 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.

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