Courts

Judges order new trial following juror issue

March 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving the issue of a prosecutor’s use of a peremptory strike against an African-American member of the jury pool has appeared before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for the third time. This time, the judges vacated the two defendants’ murder and robbery convictions and ordered a new trial.
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COA: Admission of prior convictions fundamental error

March 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a sex offender convicted of failing to register while having a prior conviction. The court ruled the evidence regarding his prior convictions for failing to register shouldn’t have been admitted at trial.
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Trustee: Pastrick's bankruptcy not an abuse

March 8, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Reversing her decision from a month ago, a federal trustee has determined that former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick’s income is not too high to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and his filing should not be considered to be an abuse of the process.
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COA reverses marijuana conviction based on intent

March 8, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel today reversed a conviction of marijuana possession after the defendant contended there was insufficient evidence that she constructively possessed the drug.
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Judges uphold man's remanded drug sentence

March 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the District Court violated the cross-appeal rule when it based his new sentence on remand on evidence that wasn’t relied upon at his first sentencing hearing.
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Johnson County Historical Society gets legal history grant

March 7, 2011
IL Staff
The Johnson County Historical Society has been awarded an Indiana Legal History Grant by the Indiana Humanities Council and the Indiana Supreme Court, the council announced today. The $2,000 award will fund projects and research to increase the understanding of the legal history of the county among those served by the county courts.
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Judges visit Jeffersonville for arguments

March 7, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals travels to southern Indiana Wednesday to hear arguments in a case involving credit time.
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Brizzi discipline case could set new prejudice standard

March 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Commission wants to set a new standard of “actual prejudice” for attorney misconduct. In making that argument, the validity of two high-profile murder convictions that Carl Brizzi secured during his time as prosecutor in the state’s largest county are being questioned.
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7th Circuit denies petition to remove judge

March 4, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a man’s petition for writ of mandamus to remove a federal judge from a case he is involved with that’s still pending in District Court. The man failed to intervene in the case and his interest in the case is too uncertain to give him the rights of a party automatically, the judges ruled Friday.
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Man still fighting dismissal of bar exam suit

March 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The man who sued the Indiana Supreme Court and state Board of Law Examiners because he wants to take the bar exam without going to law school wants a federal judge to reopen his case, arguing that he has no other legal recourse available and the court’s refusal to allow relief is contrary to established precedent.
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Judges uphold IATC’s issuance of alcohol dealer permits

March 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that an association comprised of retail package liquor stores isn’t entitled to injunctive relief preventing the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission from issuing permits to stores in the same manner it has for the last 30 years.
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Investiture set for new tax judge

March 2, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana Tax Court Judge Martha Blood Wentworth’s formal robing ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. March 8 in the Indiana Supreme Court courtroom. Judge Thomas Fisher will preside over the ceremony.
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Porter County can't leave RDA

March 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A northwestern Indiana county can’t withdraw from a regional development authority created by lawmakers to facilitate economic development, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Competitor lacks standing for judicial review

March 2, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court was correct in dismissing the petition for judicial review from a liquor wholesaler who challenged the issuance of a wine and liquor permit to a competitor because the wholesaler lacked standing, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Court weighs needs when timing judicial suspensions

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When deciding that a judge must be suspended and determining when that time off the bench should be, decision-makers must maintain a delicate balance.
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Disciplinary dividing line = R-E-S-P-E-C-T

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Two recent rulings by the Indiana Supreme Court send a message to any attorney who might be accused of misconduct and face disciplinary proceedings.
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Prosecution raises awareness of human trafficking

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
When it comes to human trafficking, most people who are unfamiliar with the crime visualize one person holding another hostage and giving them limited contact with the rest of the world. Some envision a basement in a dungeon-like setting with chains or other restraining devices, say advocates for victims of human trafficking.
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Chief public defender retiring after 30 years

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
If there had been more job prospects for English literature graduates in the early 1970s, Susan Carpenter may not have ever become Indiana’s state public defender.
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Would bill make immigrants feel unwelcome?

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
As a contentious immigration law that went into effect in Arizona last summer continues to be challenged and further changes are being considered by Arizona lawmakers, similar bills at the state and local level, including one in the Indiana Statehouse, have been gaining traction.
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Hogsett takes his oath as U.S. attorney

March 2, 2011
IL Staff
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Joseph H. Hogsett took his official oath of office on Feb. 18 before a crowd of more than 200 members of the state’s legal community as well as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The investiture ceremony was held at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis.
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Dinsmore sworn in as magistrate

March 2, 2011
IL Staff
U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore received his robe and took the official oath of office on Feb. 25 at an investiture ceremony in the Birch Bayh Federal Building in Indianapolis.
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Judicial panel promotes civic education

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court hosted a panel discussion recently to discuss the broad topic of judicial independence, taking a lesson about how the courts operate to an Indianapolis college campus.
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Process outlined for BLE search

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A month after applications were submitted for the state Board of Law Examiner’s executive director position, the Indiana Supreme Court has announced its plan to review those applications and narrow the field.
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Change sought for 3rd murder trial

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Defense attorneys for former Indiana State Police trooper David Camm have asked the state’s intermediate appellate court to accept an interlocutory appeal and decide whether a special judge should have appointed a new prosecutor to preside over the man’s third trial.
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Disciplinary Actions - 3/2/11

March 2, 2011
See who has been suspended, received a public reprimand, and who resigned.
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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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