Courts

Judges need more details on reduction denial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is sending the denial of a defendant's motion for a sentence reduction back to the District Court because the Circuit Court needs more than the one-sentence explanation given by the lower court. U.S. District Court Judge Larry J. McKinney of the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, denied Kelvin Marion's motion to reduce his sentence under Section 3582(c)(2) on a form order that simply said "As directed by 18 U.S.C. § 3581(c)(2) the Court...
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UPDATE: Hamilton vote set for Thursday

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full U.S. Senate will hold a roll call vote at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on an Indianapolis judge's controversial nomination, deciding whether U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton will move up to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Eight months after President Barack Obama chose him, and five months after getting through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a partisan vote, Judge Hamilton will learn whether he'll be elevated to the appellate bench from the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, where he currently...
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Senate Judiciary sets nomination hearing

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week plans to consider an Indianapolis federal judge's nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.A hearing on U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton's nomination for the appellate seat is set for 2:30 p.m. April 1 in Washington, D.C., according to an agenda posted online today. The hearing will be webcast live. An assistant attorney general nominee for the Department of Justice is also scheduled to be considered at that hearing.President Barack Obama nominated...
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DCS sued for cuts to adoption, foster care rates

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Add foster and adoptive parents to the list of people unhappy with the Indiana Department of Child Services for making rate cuts in 2010. Some of those parents filed a class action suit Tuesday in federal court against DCS director James W. Payne in hopes of preventing the cuts. The foster and adoptive parents are unhappy about a 10 percent cut in all current foster care rates and adoption payments beginning January 2010. The parents received a letter from DCS...
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High court seeks comment on rule changes

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking comment on potential changes to the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules, Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Trial Rules. The court's Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is considering recommending to the high court changes to Professional Conduct Rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5, which deal with lawyer advertising, recommendations or solicitations of professional employment, and communication of specialty practice; Rules of Appellate Procedure 14, 18, 39, 41, 46, 49, and 50, which include interlocutory...
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Professor testifies about recusal

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
A professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommitee on Courts and Competition.Professor and judicial ethics expert Charles G. Geyh told the committee that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey serves as a wake-up call to state and federal courts to begin taking judicial disqualifications more seriously. Geyh gave a general outlook on judicial disqualification, noting the challenges in having sitting...
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Jefferson courts relocate, salvage documents

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Jefferson Superior and Circuit courts have relocated in Madison and are working to get their offices up and running to handle emergency matters. The courts were forced out of the Jefferson County Courthouse after a fire May 20. Circuit Court has moved to the Venture Out business center at 875 Industrial Dr. on the hill in Madison. Circuit Judge Ted Todd said the court is still trying to set up and is using folding tables and chairs until they can...
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Indiana Northern District judge dies

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp in the Northern District of Indiana died at his home Friday, ending more than 30 years on the federal bench. He was 77. A notice of his death was posted on the Northern District of Indiana's Web site Friday. Appointed to the federal bench Oct. 11, 1973, by President Richard Nixon, Judge Sharp took the bench that following month and served until taking senior status in November 2007. He was the fourth longest-serving active District judge in...
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COA: 'Serious deficiency' in treating mentally ill

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion today to highlight what it considered a "serious deficiency" in the statutes for the treatment of developmentally disabled and mentally ill people in the state's criminal courts. "Simply said, the Indiana statutory framework allows courts to recognize the mental illness of a criminal defendant only in terms of guilt for the crime alleged, rather than as a condition that prevents the defendant's ability to form a punishable intention to...
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BREAKING: COA says voter I.D. law unconstitutional

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's 4-year-old voter identification law is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. Finding that the statute regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial, a unanimous appellate panel has reversed and remanded a Marion Superior judge's decision and declared the statute void. The decision comes in League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40.This story will be updated.
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Justices: Attorneys must consult with clients

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended for three months a longtime attorney who prepared wills for clients without ever personally consulting with them.Issuing an order In the Matter of Paul J. Watts, No. 60S00-0809-DI-510, the justices ruled 4-1 that Spencer-based attorney Paul J. Watts, who's been practicing since 1974, should be suspended for 120 days starting Jan. 29, 2010. The order was posted online today and is dated Dec. 22.The case stems from a previous disciplinary action involving Bloomington attorney David...
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SCOTUS urged to not take Indiana case

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General's Office wants the nation's top jurists to reject a Hoosier case posing Fourth Amendment questions about police searches, valid search warrants, and probable cause.
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Judges reverse insurance double credit

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it issued a mother two health insurance credits instead of one, which led to a miscalculation of the child support owed between the parents, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In D.W. v. L.W., No. 20A04-0907-CV-375, father D.W. paid child support to his ex-wife L.W. for his three minor children, who lived with their mother. The mother paid nearly $57 a week in premiums for health insurance covering the three kids. One of the children...
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Judges disagree on intent issue in rape trial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed as to whether a defendant in a rape case put his intent at issue during trial by attempting to show his victim consented to sex with him.
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COA first court to join 'green' ABA program

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has been named as a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. The appellate court is the first court in the country to join the program.
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Judge questioned again for nomination

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
 U.S. District Chief Judge David F. Hamilton of Indianapolis appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon for a rare second hearing on his nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Lawmakers convened the second nomination hearing following complaints from Republican senators in early April about a lack of preparation time for the first hearing, which happened April 1. That hearing was just days before the Senate's two-week break before Easter, and Hamilton answered questions before senators about his 14 years...
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BREAKING: Senate Judiciary delays nomination vote

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed voting on the nomination of U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals because some senators are concerned about the Indianapolis jurist's record on the bench. Senators agreed during an executive business meeting this morning to hold over the nomination vote to the next meeting, which hasn't yet been set. Committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said the delay was because the new ranking Republican committee member, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,...
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SCOTUS: Lab techs must testify

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A decision today from the Supreme Court of the United States will have an immediate impact on Indiana, where state justices are considering at least two cases about whether lab technicians who've tested evidence in a case must appear on the stand.
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Merit-selection override a possibility

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's top executive has rejected the idea of scrapping merit selection in St. Joseph County, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will attempt to override that veto during a special session.On the final day he had to take action, Gov. Mitch Daniels used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected House Enrolled Act 1491, which called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges for six-year terms. It also called for the creation of...
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President picks prosecutor for Northern District

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The veteran federal prosecutor who's filled in three times as interim chief has been chosen for the permanent role as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the White House announced this morning. David Capp, who's been a federal prosecutor for 24 years, has been the acting U.S. Attorney in the Northern District since July 2007, filling the spot after Joseph Van Bokkelen's confirmation to the District Court. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh nominated Capp for the job from several...
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U.S. judge sanctions Indianapolis law firm

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has sanctioned an Indianapolis law firm that employed a few attorneys he says helped abuse the discovery process, failed to correct misleading or false statements made by its client, and didn't properly turn over to the court or opposing counsel key documents relating to an environmental contamination case out of Southern Indiana.In a 66-page order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana determined that Bose McKinney & Evans should be sanctioned for...
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COA: Man didn't waive right to appeal sentence

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court may have made confusing remarks at a man's guilty plea hearing indicating he "may" have waived the right to appeal, only to later inform him of his right to appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the defendant hadn't waived that right to appeal. The appellate court did affirm the defendant's 30-year advisory sentence for dealing in cocaine, finding he failed to prove it was inappropriate. In Luis Ruiz Bonilla v. State of Indiana, No. 20A05-0902-CR-85, the...
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UPDATE: Court suspends indicted judge

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court released an order this afternoon suspending LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe following her indictment on a charge of felony attempted obstruction of justice. Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A), the high court shall suspend a judge with pay if he or she is indicted on a felony charge. The suspension takes effect at midnight May 11 and will continue until further order of the court. As a result of Judge Koethe's suspension, the Supreme Court...
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Judge's nomination vote set - again

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
  The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote June 4 on U.S. Judge David Hamilton's nomination for the 7th Court of Appeals. The panel had postponed the vote originally planned for May 21 to give some members more time to review the judge's record. An agenda shows the executive business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and be webcast live.
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Former Justice Richard Givan has died

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Richard Givan has died, according to a news release from the court. He was 88. Justice Givan was elected to the court in 1968 and served continuously until his retirement in December 1994. He served as chief justice from November 1974 to March 1987. He received an LL.B. from Indiana University in 1951 and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1952. A fourth generation lawyer, his great-grandfather, Noah S. Givan, was a circuit...
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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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