Courts

Court: business license fee not a tax

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed summary judgment for the city of Hammond, where an attorney who practices law there contested an ordinance that would charge a fee to have a business license. The lawyer claimed the fee was tantamount to a tax.In the opinion, David Paul Allen v. City of Hammond, 45A03-0708-CV-372, it states that on July 28, 2005, Allen filed a complaint for declaratory judgment against the city to invalidate the ordinance requiring businesses to have a license....
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Breaking: Court suspends Marion Superior judge

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins from the bench until the court is able to decide his final penalty resulting from a disciplinary action against him.Justices issued an order this afternoon suspending Judge Hawkins with pay, effective today. A second order appoints Indianapolis attorney James Osborn as judge pro tempore until justices issue a final resolution. Osborn was elected this year as a new Marion Superior judge and is slated to take the bench in January.This is the...
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UPDATE: Senate acting on magistrate's confirmation

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate is about to vote on whether a federal magistrate in Indianapolis will be elevated to a constitutionally established judgeship. The senators started to voted after 4:30 p.m. Around 4:15 p.m. the senators started discussing the nominees in executive session. The session can last up to an hour, after which they will come back for a public confirmation vote. Just before 4 p.m., the U.S. Senate took a break from discussion on wiretapping to move on judicial nominations. A unanimous confirmation appeared on...
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Investigation goes beyond one case of delay

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Harold D. Buntin is a focal point of the judicial misconduct investigation into a Marion Superior Court judge and his part-time commissioner, but the Indianapolis man could be just the tip of the iceberg for what's been happening in that criminal court.The nearly dozen charges brought separately Wednesday against Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins and Master Commissioner Nancy L. Broyles, both assigned to Criminal Court 5 since January 2001, not only deal with a single case of possible wrongdoing but...
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Courthouse construction to begin in summer

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Construction is set to begin this summer on the new federal courthouse in Terre Haute. The project is expected to be complete by summer 2009. The new courthouse will have 14,000 square feet of rentable space and will house the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District, clerks' offices for both courts, U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District, U.S. Probation Office, and U.S. Marshals Service. U.S. General Services Administration spokesperson David...
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Marion County senior judge dies

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A former Marion Superior judge and deputy prosecutor died May 2 after a long battle with cancer. Judge John R. "Jack" Barney Jr., 73, also served as a senior judge for Marion Circuit and Superior courts.Judge Barney, an Indianapolis native, earned his law degree from Indiana University School of Law in 1962 and joined his father's law firm, Barney & Hughes, after graduation. He practiced at the firm, which later became Barney & Barney, until 1984. Judge Barney was a Marion...
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Commission publicly admonishes Circuit judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A Carroll Circuit judge received a public admonition from the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications today in lieu of filing formal disciplinary proceedings. Hon. Donald Currie was arrested in December 2007 for public intoxication after a police officer saw the judge outside of his car near Interstate 65 in Boone County. The judge pleaded guilty to the Class B misdemeanor in Boone Circuit Court and is currently serving a one-year probationary sentence in Boone County. According to the public admonition, both...
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COA: Rescue doctrine applies to injured man

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue that hasn't been decided by Indiana courts, the Court of Appeals ruled that the "rescue doctrine" applies to people who are injured after stopping to help direct traffic after a car accident or other traffic issue. There is no clear answer in Indiana caselaw or other jurisdictions as to whether someone who helps direct traffic is considered a "rescuer" entitled to a rescue doctrine jury instruction, wrote Judge Michael Barnes in Star Transport, Inc. and Jeffrey Cottingham v. Hervey...
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COA: OK counsel didn't raise Blakely claim

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant's appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise a Blakely claim on appeal because raising the issue was outside his counsel's objective prevailing professional norms at the time, ruled a majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel today. However, the dissenting judge cited numerous examples of other counsel amending appeals with a Blakely claim during the same time period. In Steven Kendall v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0707-PC-391, Kendall appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief petition by...
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COA: Animal seizure allowed without warrant

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Police and animal control officers were justified in removing malnourished animals from a property without a warrant, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today. The court also overturned a Bartholomew County man's convictions of neglect on four dead horses because of lack of evidence they died of neglect.In Terry Baxter v. State of Indiana, No. 03A04-0710-CR-596, Terry Baxter appealed his convictions of four counts of Class D felony failure to properly dispose of a dead animal, and 12 counts of Class...
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Southern District Court seeking comments

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana wants to hear from you. The court is seeking public comment on the revision of certain local rules. The proposed revisions look to modify Local Rule 5.1 - general format of documents presented for filing, Local Rule 6.1 - extensions of time, and Local Rule 56.1 - summary judgment procedure. Changes have also been made regarding the discipline imposed by other courts, reinstatement, and the service of papers and other notices.The...
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Supreme Court grants 5 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted five transfers within the past week to cases dealing with traffic stops, life insurance polices, unpaid medical expenses, modification of a custody order, and plea agreements. The high court granted transfer and released its opinion yesterday in Sergio Campos v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0804-CR-199, involving a traffic stop and Sergio Campos' arrest after police found drugs in the car. A story in today's Indiana Lawyer Daily covers the Campos case in more detail. The Supreme Court granted...
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Court: Alleged negligence didn't cause injury

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurance agent because it found her alleged negligence was not a cause of injury to the plaintiffs. At issue in Jerry and Becky French v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company and Jane Hodson, No. 18A02-0612-CV-1161, is whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Hodson on the Frenches' claim of negligent advice and procurement of insurance. The Frenches decided to...
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UPDATE: 5 appellate jurists seek retention

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
All of Indiana's appellate jurists facing retention this year will appear on November's ballot.Facing a Tuesday deadline to file retention paperwork, the five jurists told Indiana Lawyer they hope to return to the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Tax Court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justices Theodore R. Boehm and Brent E. Dickson, Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, and Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher are up for retention.The Indiana Secretary of State's Election Division reports that all...
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Judge: Love is loser in nonfraternization policy

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Although the United Parcel Service Inc. came out as winners in a discrimination case in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, love and marriage were deemed the losers by the appellate judges. In Gerald C. Ellis v. United Parcel Service Inc., No. 07-2811, Ellis filed a discrimination claim against UPS after he was fired for fraternizing with a fellow employee. Ellis, a manager who is African-American, claimed he was fired after his supervisors discovered he was dating and eventually married a white...
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Court rules on parental rights terminations

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals today ruled for the first time on an aspect of a state statute dictating when the Department of Child Services can initiate parental rights termination proceedings.A unanimous decision today affirms a trial court judgment in the case of In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of A.B. and Dawn B. v. Department of Child Services, No. 02A03-0712-JV-599. The appellant-respondent's daughter, when she was 6, was hospitalized in 2002 for violent, uncontrollable behavior and the...
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COA: Growing crops go in marital pot

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that crops growing in the ground that haven't been harvested are considered marital assets. This is the first time Indiana courts have ruled on the issue. In In Re the Marriage of: James R. Webb v. Nancy J. (Webb) Schleutker, No. 49A02-0707-CV-568, James Webb appealed the trial court decision to include soon-to-be harvested crops in the marital pot. The trial court issued its dissolution decree in February 2007, and included crops growing in August...
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Majority: hospital owed duty to patient

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their decision March 12 regarding whether a hospital that performed a surgery on a woman with suspected domestic violence injuries should have prevented her from leaving with her ex-husband and alleged abuser, who later killed both of them on the way home from the hospital. At issue in Ava McSwane and Danielle Hays v. Bloomington Hospital and Healthcare System and Jean M. Eelma, M.D., No. 53A04-0705-CV-243, is what duty the hospital owed to McSwane's daughter, Malia...
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New voter ID lawsuit filed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The League of Women Voters of Indiana filed a lawsuit today in Marion County challenging the state's three-year-old voter identification statute recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.At 2 p.m. today, the organization filed the suit with the Marion Superior Court against Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita, arguing that it has the standing to sue on behalf of its members because the state statute burdens potential voters and would cause the league to have to spend "precious resources" assisting voters...
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COA affirms conservancy district

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had the opportunity to determine whether construction of a bridge and road is permitted under Indiana Code when establishing a conservancy district, but didn't rule on the issue because taxpayers wouldn't be responsible for paying for construction.In In re: Petition for the establishment of the Millpond Conservancy District, No. 76A03-0711-CV-536, remonstrators argued the trial court erred in establishing a conservancy district initiated by the Town of Hamilton. They claim because the construction of a road and bridge...
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Missing records case affirmed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Don't go looking for any reference in a Thursday memorandum opinion relating to missing court files in an Allen County murder case. You won't find one.The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the murder conviction of Daniel Favela, whose case made the news last year after his mother had been jailed for about two weeks on contempt of court charges for taking, hiding, and refusing to turn over the 13-volume file in her son's appeal. Adela Favela finally returned them to Allen...
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Builders want impact fee case dismissed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis wants a lawsuit dismissed that involves the lawfulness of park impact fees in Zionsville. Attorneys for BAGI filed a motion for summary judgment on March 5 in Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis v. Zionsville, which was filed in October 2006 and challenges the town's impact fee ordinance adopted in 2005.Park impact fees go to recreational land and facilities necessitated by new residents, and are usually paid for by homebuilders when obtaining a building permit to...
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COA: Bank not required to restrict withdrawals

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a small claims court ruling that held a bank in contempt for failing to restrict the withdrawal of funds from a garnishee's account, noting the bank followed procedure according to Indiana Code. In JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Laura and Dennis Brown, c/o Green, Richard & Trent and Rebecca Recht, No. 02A03-0801-CV-2, the appellate court had to interpret I.C. Section 28-9-4-2 to determine whether a depository financial institution that has received notice of garnishment proceedings...
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Prosecutor files to suspend judge's license

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office will ask that Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts' driver's license be suspended following the results of a blood test. The prosecutor's office received the results this morning, which showed Judge Felts' blood alcohol level was 0.19 when he was tested July 18. Matthew Symons, spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, said the office would file a motion to suspend Judge Felts' license today. It is up to the trial court judge whether or not the...
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Panel to discuss race, death penalty

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Black Law Students Association and the American Constitution Society of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington are sponsoring the program, "Intersection of Race and Jury Composition with the Death Penalty" April 1.Panelists for the program are: Marla Sandys, associate professor of criminal justice at IU - Bloomington; Paula Sites, Indiana Public Defender Council; and Jessie Cook, an attorney in private practice who has dealt with death penalty cases. In addition to discussing the issue of race and the death...
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  1. 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.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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