Courts

COA: Insurance policy not contrary to code

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A minimum-coverage insurance company's policy language that excludes coverage for leased vehicles in certain circumstances isn't contrary to Indiana Code, the Court of Appeals ruled today. In the appeal of Safe Auto Insurance Co. v. Enterprise Leasing Company of Indianapolis, et al., No. 01A02-0712-CV-1120, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Enterprise Leasing on Safe Auto Insurance's complaint for declaratory judgment. Safe Auto filed the complaint arguing its policyholder, Jeffrey Harrison, was not...
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Court agrees with IDEM on 'public water system'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management was correct in interpreting a federal safe drinking water act to mean that a public water system can be composed of separate, unconnected wells serving a larger area together, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In IDEM v. Construction Management Associates L.L.C. and Hilltop Farms, No. 52A02-0711-CV-994, a three-judge panel reversed a Miami Circuit judge's ruling that the state agency had incorrectly determined that separate, unconnected wells constituted a public water system and required the apartment...
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Supreme Court rules on belated appeals

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to two cases dealing with belated appeals. The high court granted transfer with opinion in Demond Hughes v. State of Indiana, No. 49S04-0802-CR-86. At issue was whether Hughes was allowed to file a belated appeal to challenge the appropriateness of his 40-year concurrent sentence. Hughes pleaded guilty to felony murder and Class A misdemeanor reckless possession of a handgun. Initially, the trial court sentenced Hughes to a 50-year concurrent sentence, with five years suspended. Hughes...
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Former recorder's extortion convictions upheld

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a former Lake County Recorder's convictions of extortion, but remanded so that his sentence could be revised because the District Court placed too much weight on following the sentencing guidelines.In United States of America v. Morris Carter, No. 06-2412, Morris Carter challenged his three convictions and sentence of 51 months of incarceration on extortion charges. Carter was found guilty of violating the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 1951(a) while he was still county recorder....
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Peace of mind restored: Cemetery trust case results in multi-million dollar settlement

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
It was bad enough that Cecilia Means had to watch as her grandmother's casket was pulled from a waterlogged gravesite where it had been buried for 17 years. On that day in March 2007, the southeast Indiana woman stood covering her mouth and sobbing as workers pulled the stainless steel casket from several feet of muddy brown water and a steady stream of water leaked from where the lid joined the sides. That day seemed liked a nightmare at the 40-acre...
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Pro bono services conclave April 25

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The deadline to RSVP for the conclave on the delivery of pro bono services in Indiana has been extended through Monday, April 14. A subcommittee of the Indiana State Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee has organized the all-day event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25 at Barnes & Thornburg Conference Center, 11 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis. Event organizers extended the deadline to RSVP after realizing some people were on spring break this week. The event will feature education and...
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UPDATE: Voter ID questions remain

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier voters should be ready to show their government-issued photo identification at the polls next week after the Supreme Court of the United States gave a green light to Indiana's voter ID law. Other states may follow suit following the high court's ruling Monday that upheld Indiana's three-year-old statute.But voters and the legal community should be just as ready for a new wave of Election Day regulation and subsequent litigation because six justices agreed to some extent that voters could...
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Allen County judge arrested

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Allen County judge was arrested in Indianapolis for allegedly driving drunk and is scheduled to appear in Marion Superior Court Wednesday.Indiana State Capitol Police, a division of the Indiana State Police, stopped a car driven by Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts early on the morning of July 18 for a traffic violation in downtown Indianapolis. As the police officer began to get out of his car, Judge Felts' car backed up and struck the police vehicle, according to a police...
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Court: EPA approval required for expansion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Porter County sewer company must receive prior approval from the Environmental Protection Agency per a federal consent decree in order to be able to expand its services, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. The appeal from the Indiana Regulatory Commission, Application of South Haven Sewer Works, Inc., City of Portage v. South Haven Sewer Works, Inc., No. 93A02-0703-EX-204, came before the court because the City of Portage believed the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission's grant of a certificate of territorial authority...
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High court ponders sex-offender registry law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Supreme Court justices this morning listened to arguments in the cases of two convicted sex offenders who are challenging a state law requiring them to register for life on a public database, even though they weren't required to do so at the time of their criminal convictions.The arguments came in the combined case of Todd L. Jensen v. State and Richard P. Wallace v. State, No. 02S04-0803-CR-137, which delves into issues with the state's sex-offender registry the court hasn't explored...
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Judge orders new Cinergy trial

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Indianapolis has ordered a new trial for Cinergy Corp because the energy company now owned by Duke Energy committed misconduct earlier this year and tainted the liability phase of the litigation. U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney issued a 29-page decision in U.S., et al. v. Cinergy Corp, et al., 1:99-cv-1693, on Thursday, unsealing it and making the ruling public Dec. 22. "In summary, the Court concludes that Cinergy's misrepresentations about payment of one of its fact...
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Issue of fact exists in firefighter demotion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court grant of summary judgment because there is a genuine issue of fact as to why a firefighter was demoted. In Jeffrey Kochis v. City of Hammond, Indiana, et al., No. 45A03-0709-CV-445, Kochis appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of Hammond in his complaint that he had been demoted even though no charges had been filed against him and that he didn't receive due process. Kochis had been a firefighter with the...
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SCOTUS decides Indiana pro se case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has found that a criminal defendant who's been declared competent to stand trial does not necessarily have the right to represent himself.About 10 minutes into its public sitting that started at 10 a.m., the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 7-2 ruling in Indiana v. Edwards, No. 07-208. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the opinion, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissenting. Opinions are typically posted on the high court's Web site within an hour of...
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Breaking News: Judge, commissioner face charges

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Breaking News: April 4, 2008 A Marion County judge and his part-time commissioner face nearly a dozen judicial misconduct charges each for delays and dereliction of duty that resulted in an Indianapolis man staying in prison for almost two years after DNA testing cleared him of a 1984 rape.The Indiana Judicial Qualifications Commission late Wednesday afternoon filed charges against Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Commissioner Nancy L. Broyles, relating to their involvement in a post-conviction case for Harold D....
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Sole justice disagrees with sentencing transfer

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has cut an Indianapolis child molester's prison sentence in half from 120 to 60 years, reanalyzing the penalty he received for being convicted of multiple counts of victimizing his stepdaughter.But one of the state's top jurists objected to the court accepting this sentencing case, emphasizing that reviewing and revising this penalty goes against the high court's role as one of "last resort" and could lead to trial judges being less cautious and measured in sentencing.A 4-1 ruling...
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Juvenile's DOC placement affirmed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Addressing the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals supported a juvenile court's decision to place an illegal immigrant juvenile delinquent with the Department of Corrections instead of deporting him back to his home country. In J.S. v. State of Indiana, No. 15A01-0706-JV-276, J.S., a 15-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico, appealed his placement in the DOC. The boy, who had already once illegally entered the U.S. and was arrested in Kentucky for driving without a license and deported, was...
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Court tosses man's stalking conviction

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Simply parking on a public street and watching someone's home doesn't alone fall within the definition of "impermissible" conduct and can't be considered stalking, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In a case of first impression, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 on Donald D. Vanhorn v. State of Indiana, 84-A01-0711-CR-505, overturning the Terre Haute man's conviction for felony stalking. At issue in the case was the interplay between "harassment" and "impermissible contact" and whether enough evidence existed to support a stalking conviction.Donald...
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Court: S.C. decision not retroactive

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that retroactivity doesn't apply to a year-old Indiana Supreme Court decision that held charging information must be amended within 30 days before the omnibus date.As a result of the ruling, a Hendricks County man convicted of child molesting doesn't get relief.At issue in Terry Leatherwood's appeal in Terry Leatherwood v. State of Indiana, No. 32A05-0710-PC-573, is whether the post-conviction court erred in refusing to apply the holding of Fajardo...
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Newest COA judge's robing ceremony Friday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The newest Indiana Court of Appeals judge will formally join the court Friday. Judge Elaine Brown's robing ceremony will be in the courtroom of the Indiana Supreme Court. Judge Brown's first day on the court was May 5. Chief Judge John Baker will preside over the ceremony, and Gov. Mitch Daniels will join Judge Brown's family, colleagues, and special guests to administer the oath of office. Judge Brown was named to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Gov. Daniels earlier this...
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Indiana RICO Act applies to 'foot soldiers'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Supreme Court decision Feb. 27 regarding the state's racketeering laws creates a larger net of potential defendants that can be charged under it. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that under Indiana's RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, a person can be implicated under the state act even if he or she doesn't participate in directing the racketeering activity. In Linda Keesling, Harold Lephart, et al. v. Frederick Beegle III, John Bucholtz, et al., No. 18S04-0704-CV-150, the high court accepted...
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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers Thursday for cases originating in Evansville - one involves a shopping center and access to a public thoroughfare, and the other deals with the failure to make payments for the modification of a Web site. In State of Indiana v. Kimco of Evansville Inc., et al., No. 82A01-0607-CV-301, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a $2.3 million jury award that stemmed from a road project in 2000 impacting a shopping plaza along State Road...
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Judge: Prisoner suit can proceed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
  A federal judge has decided a state prison inmate can proceed with his lawsuit against a Department of Correction official and food service provider, claiming that both denied him enough food to stay healthy and went against a medically prescribed diet restricting onions.U.S. District Judge William Lee in South Bend ordered March 11 that Joshua Ketchem be allowed to proceed with his suit filed in January 2007. The case is Joshua Ketchum v. J. David Donahue, et al., No. 3:07-CV-316 WL.A prisoner...
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Attorneys urged to learn court technology

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Ever worried about what happens if you don't know, understand, or use courtroom technology correctly in preparing for trial?A new video from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana offers a glimpse into the possibilities, from the dramatic portrayal of a federal judge dozing off during trial to a nervous attorney sweating profusely in court when jurors and courtroom staff can't hear him.After updating its Web site and revising a video on the Video Evidence Presentation System late...
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SCOTUS makes history, shoots down gun ban

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Answering a 217-year-old constitutional question, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling this morning that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to have a gun in his or her home.The ideologically split 5-4 decision in District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, No. 07-290, struck down a city handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and defined the scope of the gun rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the 21st century.Specific to this case, the court affirmed a Circuit Court ruling...
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Judges disagree over 'access' in statute

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their ruling today on a man who was convicted of performance harmful to minors, with the majority affirming the conviction.In Frederick A. Zitlaw v. State of Indiana, No. 29A05-0701-CR-35, Zitlaw appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the performance harmful to minors charge, a Class D felony. A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy saw Zitlaw expose himself in a public park. The probable cause affidavit alleged children were present in the park....
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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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