Courts

Court awarding grants for CHINS, parental termination programs

July 6, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court Improvement Project is giving out up to $350,000 in grants aimed at helping children and families who are navigating through the state’s child welfare system.
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What are lawyers' pet peeves when it comes to legal writing?

July 6, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
In April, a Missouri attorney filed an eight-page motion seeking clarification of the opposing counsel’s pleading. Attorney Richard D. Crites criticized his opponent’s grammar, use of apostrophes, and lack of detail, writing in his motion that the pleading “is the worst example of pleading that Defendant’s attorney has ever witnessed or read.”
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The merits of medical patents

July 6, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit heard arguments in a case that raises fundamental questions about the patentability of human genes. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take on a patent case in which the central issue is the patentability of a medical process. Both cases could have far-reaching effects – in medicine, in law, and in academia.
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Lawmakers examine issues raised in Barnes

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana Supreme Court decides whether it will revisit a controversial ruling that’s generated public protest since it came down in May, legislators are discussing what they might do to reduce the impact of the justices’ ruling on resisting police entry into one’s home.
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Defining decisions on legal lexicon

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A single word might determine the fate of a case before one of Indiana’s highest courts, so it’s no surprise that judges will often turn to dictionaries to help interpret what a word and statute might mean.
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Legal trend utilizes AG experience

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When he was the state’s top prosecutor, former Indiana Attorney General Jeff Modisett saw the beginning of a trend that’s now become a focus of his practice.
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Federal anti-streaming bill has broad implications

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Putting a video on YouTube and embedding that video onto another site could be all it takes to commit a felony under a statutory amendment before the U.S. Senate.
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Video game maker wins IP suit

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson shot down a lawsuit brought by heirs of bank robber John Dillinger that challenges how his name is used in video games based on the movie “The Godfather.”
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Hammond traffic judge faces misconduct charges

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Hammond City Judge Jeffrey A. Harkin faces three misconduct charges for operating an illegal traffic school deferral program and dismissing cases without collecting required fees, as well as dissuading one litigant from contesting a seatbelt violation in court.
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Justices keep pace with past years' activity

July 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
In the final days before its fiscal calendar year ended, the Indiana Supreme Court kept pace with past years’ activity levels.
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Pharmacy group sues over state's Medicaid fee cut

July 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A non-profit group for local pharmacies statewide is suing the state’s Medicaid office in federal court, attempting to block cuts to the fees given to local pharmacies participating in the Medicaid program.
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New law allows for restricted record access for certain crimes

July 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A change in state law that starts Friday allows non-violent offenders to have their criminal records sealed for misdemeanor and Class D felonies. An Indianapolis man is already filing a petition asking the Marion Superior Court to limit access to records involving two money conversion convictions.
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Permanent retroactivity applied to crack-cocaine sentence reductions

July 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Thousands of federal inmates nationally and more than 200 from Indiana could get time shaved off their prison terms for crack-cocaine convictions, after the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to make reductions retroactive starting later this year.
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Appeals court reverses District Court on overtime pay

July 1, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a District Court’s finding that a tow truck driver was not entitled to overtime pay.
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Hammond traffic judge faces misconduct charges

June 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Hammond City Judge Jeffrey A. Harkin faces three misconduct charges for operating an illegal traffic school deferral program and dismissing cases without assessing required fees, as well as dissuading one litigant from contesting a seatbelt violation in court.
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Court orders new arson trial

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted of arson because the trial court erred in letting the state amend the charging information after it had read the original charges to the jury.
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COA turns to dictionary in contract dispute

June 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Citing Black’s Law Dictionary’s definitions of “solicit” and “induce,” the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s finding that a software company did not violate terms of its contract with another business.
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Lawmakers discuss scope of police entry case

June 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Bedford lawyer-legislator says a recent Indiana Supreme Court decision on resisting police entry has resulted in more feedback from attorneys and residents statewide than he’s experienced since the daylight saving time debate.
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Justices split on recovery of attorney fees under Adult Wrongful Death Statute

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court issued three opinions June 29 dealing with what fees are recoverable under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute, holding that attorney fees, litigation expenses, and loss of services can be recovered. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Robert Rucker dissented in each decision, believing that those fees aren’t allowed under the statute.
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High court divided on revising molester's sentence

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two justices dissented from their colleague’s decision to reduce a child molester’s sentence more than 50 years, believing the opinion “blurs the guidance” given in a 2008 opinion regarding sentence reviews.
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Justices: Child placement statutes are constitutional

June 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
In a much-anticipated ruling, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled three statutes relating to juvenile judges’ authority on out-of-state placement cases are constitutional and that the Department of Child Services has statutory power to consider costs when considering those placements.
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Hearing officer finds in Carl Brizzi's favor in disciplinary action

June 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A hearing officer recommends that disciplinary charges be dismissed against ex-Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, and now it’s up to the Indiana Supreme Court to consider the case.
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High court divided on public intoxication charge

June 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In deciding that a woman’s public intoxication conviction should stand, four Indiana Supreme Court justices declined to reverse her conviction on public policy grounds and found the conviction didn’t violate any constitutional right.
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Court: Man may be classified as sexually violent predator

June 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that classifying a man as a sexually violent predator due to an amendment to the Sex Offender Registration Act doesn’t violate Indiana’s prohibition of ex post facto laws or the doctrine of separation of powers.
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Attorney general appealing Planned Parenthood decision

June 29, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has filed a notice of appeal regarding the recent decision by U.S. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt to halt enforcement of a new law which withholds funding from abortion providers.
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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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