Courts

Justices accept 4 cases

April 11, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has taken four cases, including one that deals with an insurance dispute over cleanup costs.
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Pilot project uses secure network for foreclosure settlement agreements

April 11, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday a new program that allows parties in mortgage foreclosure settlement cases to exchange financial documents over a secure online network.
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Government shutdown would have little impact on federal legal system

April 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Even if the U.S. Congress fails to pass a short-term budget measure and prevent a government shutdown before midnight Friday, the various arms of the Indiana federal legal community will remain operating mostly as usual – at least for the time being.
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COA: personal injury action should be allowed to proceed

April 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals examined how the 120-day time limit under Indiana Trial Rule 15(C) on amending a complaint to substitute a party interacts with the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, and held that the 120-day time limit can’t be allowed to operate prematurely to bar a claim when the statute of limitations is still running.
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Judges divided on calculation of damages after negligence

April 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split in deciding whether an estate received the correct amount of damages from the Indiana Patients’ Compensation Fund. One judge believed the trial court used an incorrect approach for calculating damages because the deceased man had at least a 50 percent chance of survival before the medical negligence.
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Exonerated death-row inmate to speak at Indiana University campuses

April 7, 2011
IL Staff
Randy Steidl, who was nearly executed for a crime he didn't commit and went on to become the public face of the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois, will tell his story during visits to Indiana University campuses in Bloomington and Indianapolis.
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Court tackles 'sexual activity' meaning in statute

April 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed Thursday the term “sexual activity” – an issue in which there is scant law – and ordered a man be acquitted. The man was convicted under federal statute for attempting to entice a girl he believed to be less than 18 years old to engage in any sexual activity while they chatted online.
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Judges affirm denial of post-conviction relief

April 6, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a man’s petition for post-conviction relief claiming ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The man failed to introduce the original trial transcript at his post-conviction hearing and the post-conviction court didn’t take judicial notice of the record, as it’s now able to do under an amended Indiana Evidence Rule.
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Judge dismisses civil forfeiture suit against state prosecutors

April 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has tossed a lawsuit against 78 county prosecutors being accused of breaking the law by not turning over seized assets from criminals to a school construction fund. In doing so, the judge expressed concern about the lack of reasoning and consistency demonstrated by prosecutors throughout the state.
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State won't immediately appeal IBM 'deliberative processes' ruling

April 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
At least for now, the Indiana Court of Appeals isn’t being asked to consider a Marion County judge’s decision that held a “deliberative process” privilege exists in Indiana.
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Coroner's office loses 2nd reverse-discrimination appeal

April 5, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a reverse-discrimination case against Marion County should be able to proceed in federal court in Indianapolis because evidence shows the former county coroner’s decision to terminate a forensic pathology company’s contract may have been based on race.
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Federal judge upholds Evansville man's death sentence

April 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has upheld the death sentence of a condemned man who killed his wife and two young children in Evansville a decade ago.
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COA reverses judgment in title insurance issue

April 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has declined to extend to an insurance agent the duty of an insurer as declared by the state’s highest court. In doing so, the judges reversed the denial of a title insurance company’s motion for summary judgment.
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Circuit Court orders new trial on Rule 404(b) grounds

April 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has found an Indiana federal court should not have allowed evidence of a defendant’s prior drug convictions under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b). As a result of the violation, the judges reversed the man’s drug conviction and ordered a new trial.
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Case asks whether school board members can run for political office

April 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Lake Superior judge may not be breaking any new legal ground with an election-related ruling this week, but he’s set the stage for an appeal that could clear up confusion about whether nonpartisan school board members must give up their right to run for a public office that requires the candidate to declare their political party affiliation.
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Bankruptcy courts seek comments on local rules

April 1, 2011
IL Staff
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana is seeking public comment on several proposed changes to local rules, and the addition of a new local rule.
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COA to hear appeal at University of Southern Indiana

April 1, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will be in Evansville April 4 to hear an appeal regarding methamphetamine convictions.
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7th Circuit rules on Rolls-Royce job-bias case

March 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A day after the nation’s highest court heard arguments on the largest female gender-discrimination case in history, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has delved into that same territory and upheld a federal judge’s decision denying class certification in a sex discrimination suit in which a group of female Rolls-Royce employees accused the manufacturer of paying women less than men for the same or similar work.
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Judges: defendant should be able to confront witness

March 31, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the District Court to grant a convicted murderer’s habeas petition, finding the admission of out-of-court statements at his trial violated the man’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.
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Indy lawyer pays $371,000 to settle Fair Finance lawsuit

March 31, 2011
Greg Andrews
Fair Finance Co.’s bankruptcy trustee has reached a $371,000 settlement with Stephen Plopper, an Indianapolis attorney accused of defaulting on a 2003 loan from the Tim Durham-owned business.
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Court: DNR case can proceed despite 11-year delay

March 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has looked past a trial rule calling for diligent prosecution of claims, finding that a state Department of Natural Resources land ownership dispute can proceed despite an 11-year delay in prosecuting because it’s of great public importance and should be decided on the merits.
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Court: 'ingress' and 'egress' doesn't include parking

March 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a trial judge on a land use dispute between two sets of neighbors, finding that the clear meanings of “ingress" and "egress” do not include parking as two of the Porter County residents had argued based on past caselaw.
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SCOTUS asked to take Indiana stun belt case

March 30, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States is being asked to consider an Indiana case about a convicted murderer’s claim that he was improperly restrained with a stun belt during his trial and that led to a wrongful conviction.
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COA to hear appeal in stalking case at IU-South Bend

March 30, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Thursday at Indiana University – South Bend.
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Legal analysts use media to educate public about issues

March 30, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Lawyers and judges who eat, sleep, and breathe the law might find it easy to forget that not everyone understands the finer points of how the justice system works. This is where legal commentators – analysts of the inner workings of the legal system – come into play.
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  1. 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)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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