Courts

Deputy prosecutor new Madison Circuit judge

October 5, 2009
IL Staff
A deputy prosecutor of Madison County was appointed as Madison Circuit judge Sunday by Gov. Mitch Daniels. Rudolph R. Pyle III succeeds Judge Fredrick Spencer, who resigned Sept. 25.
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COA travels north to hear arguments

October 5, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels to Marion and South Bend this week to hear arguments in an appeal of voluntary manslaughter and criminal recklessness convictions, and a case involving a conviction of child solicitation.
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Testimony showed intent in identity deception

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
During a trial for identity deception, a court correctly admitted evidence under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) of the defendant's prior interaction with the victim of his identity theft and previous instances of using the victim's information, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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High court grants 4 transfers

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court agreed Oct. 1 to hear four cases, including one dealing with whether a defendant should have a new murder trial and another involving whether a prior conviction in conspiracy to deal in cocaine counts as a conviction for dealing in cocaine under the state's habitual offender statute.
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Putative dad can file paternity petition for child

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that although a putative father's paternity petition should be dismissed, he could proceed as the next friend of the alleged daughter in her paternity petition.
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Trial court erred in terminating parenting time

October 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the termination of a father's parenting time with his teenage daughters, finding the trial court erred because the decision wasn't supported by the record or statute.
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Committee ponders DCS authority of juveniles

October 2, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An interim legislative committee is deciding what it should do about a last-minute, special session addition giving the Department of Child Services even more control over juvenile justice decisions that judges have historically been entrusted to make.
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Lawsuit alleges city violated Fair Housing Act

October 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The United States has filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus accusing it of violating the Fair Housing Act because it refused to grant a permit to a nonprofit group that wanted to operate a group home for men recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.
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Fingerprint info now needed in appearance form

October 1, 2009
IL Staff
The state's Supreme Court has amended Indiana Criminal Rule 2.1 to require the prosecuting attorney to include fingerprint information when filing an appearance form in a criminal proceeding. The amendment takes effect Jan. 1, 2010.
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Court: No rehearing based on another decision

October 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Tax Court granted a petition for rehearing to clarify its ruling that a Hamilton County property qualified for a charitable/religious exemption. The Tax Court also denied rehearing a St. Joseph County case that claimed the decision in that case should be reconsidered based on the original ruling in the Hamilton County case.
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E-Ticket program wins 2 awards

September 30, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court's electronic ticketing program has won awards from two safety associations.
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Court denies rehearing in adoption case

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court won't reconsider its reversal of an adoption order granted to a New Jersey man of twin girls born by a surrogate in Indiana.
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SCOTUS accepts Indiana offender-registry case

September 30, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court has taken an Indiana case that asks whether someone can be criminally prosecuted under a federal sex-offense registry law if that defendant's underlying offense and move to another state predated the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act's passage.
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COA splits on cheek-swab requirements

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires reasonable suspicion only, not probable cause, under federal and state constitutions.
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Judges dissent on search after 'knock and talk'

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' view that a police "knock and talk" investigation didn't violate a man's rights under the Indiana Constitution, fearing the circumstances of the case could lead to a general distrust of law enforcement.
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Escaping execution

September 30, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Exoneree joins statewide campaign calling for a death-penalty moratorium.
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Recent changes impact state justice system

September 30, 2009
Michael Hoskins
National and state advocates pushing for wrongful conviction reforms judged that Indiana was behind other jurisdictions in strengthening its justice system, but they emphasized that ongoing discussions were a good starting point for the Hoosier legal community.
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Court: Association has no standing to sue

September 29, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a landowners association lacked standing to sue over the rezoning of property despite the argument that its claim survives under the "public standing doctrine."
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7th Circuit discovery pilot program starts Oct. 1

September 29, 2009
IL Staff
The first phase of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' Electronic Discovery Pilot Program kicks off Thursday.
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Longtime Owen County prosecutor dies

September 29, 2009
IL Staff
The longest consecutive serving prosecutor in Indiana died Sept. 26. Owen County Prosecutor Allan Fountain was 64.
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Court erred in ordering DCS to pay costs

September 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services isn't responsible for the costs of a minor's secure detention because it never entered into a written agreement with the juvenile court to cover the costs, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA: findings don't support attorney fees

September 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals remanded a case today involving attorney fees - the appellate court questioned whether the Indiana High School Athletic Association was trying to dissuade appeals by athletes - because the findings of the case currently don't support the judgment.
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Court split on if lab tech must testify

September 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The state's highest court was split in its ruling on whether the failure of a lab technician who processed DNA evidence to testify at a man's trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights.
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High court grants transfer Thursday

September 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to a case questioning whether the Indiana Department of Transportation is liable for the death of an employee of an independent contractor working on a highway project.
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Madison County judge resigns amid misconduct investigation

September 24, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A longtime Madison County judge who's been repeatedly sanctioned and even suspended in the past is resigning amid a new investigation into his alleged misconduct during a 2007 murder trial.
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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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