Courts

No constitutional violations in stopping car with interim dealer plate

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding an Indianapolis police officer had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop of a car with an interim dealer plate, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the driver’s conviction of Class C felony operating a motor vehicle after his driving privileges had been forfeited for life.
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State to appeal ruling in fenced deer-hunting case

October 16, 2013
IL Staff
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General announced Tuesday that it will appeal a recent Harrison County ruling that held the state couldn’t regulate a fenced deer-hunting operation.
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Man convicted before felony classes implemented can’t convert conviction to misdemeanor

October 16, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who pleaded guilty in 1977 to felony possession of a controlled substance was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that he is entitled to have his conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
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In arguing for leniency, Conour cites previous ‘stellar’ career

October 16, 2013
Dave Stafford
Convicted former attorney William Conour argues in a court filing Wednesday that he deserves leniency in sentencing and should receive less than the minimum advisory range of 14 to 17.5 years in federal prison for defrauding three-dozen clients of nearly $7 million.
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Prosecution wants 20-year sentence for Conour, now accused of stealing nearly $7 million

October 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
Citing his lack of remorse for the theft of nearly $7 million from clients over the years, federal prosecutors want former wrongful-death and personal-injury attorney William Conour sentenced to the maximum term of 20 years Thursday, according to a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday.
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Prosecution: Conour deserves 20 years; victim tally now nearly $7 million

October 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
The toll from fraud perpetrated by former wrongful-death and personal-injury attorney William Conour has increased significantly from earlier estimates, federal prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday.
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Judges disagree on when duty to exercise ordinary care extends to beneficiaries

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was divided Tuesday on whether a legal malpractice lawsuit filed by third-party beneficiaries of a will against their relative’s attorney should proceed beyond summary judgment. The case hinged on the interpretation of the “known” requirement outlined in Walker v. Lawson.
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Ex-wife not entitled to half of pension earned after divorce

October 15, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a trial court did not impermissibly modify a property settlement agreement or decree, but simply clarified that the intent of the parties was to divide the marital property acquired during the marriage and before the final date of separation.
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$14.5 million defamation judgment against State Farm stands

October 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. is on the hook for a $14.5 million award to a contractor on his defamation lawsuit after the Indiana Supreme Court declined to take the case last week.
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7th Circuit affirms above-guidelines sentence for embezzlement

October 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man’s 60-month sentence for stealing from his employer for many years – a sentence beyond the advisory guidelines range – is reasonable, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. The man challenged the District Court’s recalculation of his guidelines range after he appealed his sentence.
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IMPD officer Bisard trial begins in Fort Wayne

October 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Jury selection began Monday in the trial of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer accused of driving while intoxicated, leading to an accident that killed one motorcyclist and injured two others in 2010. David Bisard’s trial was moved to Allen County due to pre-trial publicity.
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Teacher’s suggestive messages to student were ‘immoral’ but not a crime, COA rules

October 11, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Indiana Court of Appeals found a high school teacher’s behavior toward a 16-year-old female student to be “deplorable and immoral,” it overturned his convictions because his actions were not criminal under statute.
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COA reverses contempt finding, but upholds sanctions

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A nurse who made false allegations leading to the detention of a co-worker for mental health reasons will have to pay as ordered toward the woman’s attorney fees even though the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed an indirect civil contempt finding.
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Divided COA: Statement on record unneeded to waive jury trial

October 11, 2013
Dave Stafford
The majority of a Court of Appeals panel affirmed a Hendricks County man’s conviction in a bench trial of misdemeanor intimidation, but a dissenting COA judge wrote the defendant was improperly denied a jury trial and his conviction should be tossed.
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COA clears way for negligence complaint against medical device company

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit filed against medical device manufacturer Medtronic following the death of a man who had one of the company’s medical devices implanted can continue, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday. It held the Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act does not preempt a family’s negligence claim.
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Jury should hear discrimination suit filed by fired ‘salesman of the year’

October 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The reasons a company gave for firing its most productive salesman – who also happened to be its oldest – raise potential credibility issues, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. The judges decided the salesman’s age discrimination lawsuit should proceed to a jury.
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South Bend attorney to be sentenced in December on forgery convictions

October 11, 2013
IL Staff
A disbarred sole practitioner from South Bend who was found guilty in September on three counts of forgery will be sentenced Dec. 11 in St. Joseph County.
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Indiana consumers to receive payout in settlement with negative option marketer

October 11, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday that a company accused of deceptive advertising has entered into a $30 million settlement with 48 states, resulting in $238,900 in money for Indiana customers.
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Mother unable to show error in terminating her parental rights

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother of four children with special needs who also has a cognitive disability, was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals she should be allowed to keep custody of her children.
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COA still finds supervised visitation argument moot

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After acknowledging that a father did file a reply brief arguing the issue of supervised parenting time was not moot, the Indiana Court of Appeals on rehearing still found his argument to be moot.
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COA affirms parental termination in child’s best interest

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother’s inability to adequately care for her child, leading to the girl’s failure to thrive, supports the termination of mother’s parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Contractor owed no duty to worker injured during construction of Carmel arts center

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Summary judgment for a contractor on the Carmel Regional Performing Arts Center construction was appropriate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, rejecting an injured worker’s argument that a duty was owed to him based on federal workplace safety regulations.
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Having the ingredients is not proof of a man’s intention to cook

October 10, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite the state’s attempt to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that its decision in a similar case was erroneous, the panel upheld precedent and found that a man’s possession of cold tablets and batteries is not proof he intended to manufacture methamphetamine.
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Owners of spooked horse entitled to summary judgment in negligence suit

October 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that the owners of a horse that trampled a man after getting loose at the Marshall County 4-H Fairgrounds didn’t have reason to know the horse had any dangerous propensities prior to the accident. The court affirmed summary judgment in a negligence lawsuit on the issue.
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Fake IOLTA notice potential phishing scheme

October 9, 2013
IL Staff
Some lawyers received two email notices involving Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts this week. But, only the one sent from the state courts is legitimate. The other may be a phishing scheme.
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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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