Courts

UPDATE: Hamilton vote set for Thursday

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The full U.S. Senate will hold a roll call vote at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on an Indianapolis judge's controversial nomination, deciding whether U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton will move up to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Eight months after President Barack Obama chose him, and five months after getting through the Senate Judiciary Committee on a partisan vote, Judge Hamilton will learn whether he'll be elevated to the appellate bench from the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, where he currently...
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Senate Judiciary sets nomination hearing

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week plans to consider an Indianapolis federal judge's nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.A hearing on U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton's nomination for the appellate seat is set for 2:30 p.m. April 1 in Washington, D.C., according to an agenda posted online today. The hearing will be webcast live. An assistant attorney general nominee for the Department of Justice is also scheduled to be considered at that hearing.President Barack Obama nominated...
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DCS sued for cuts to adoption, foster care rates

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Add foster and adoptive parents to the list of people unhappy with the Indiana Department of Child Services for making rate cuts in 2010. Some of those parents filed a class action suit Tuesday in federal court against DCS director James W. Payne in hopes of preventing the cuts. The foster and adoptive parents are unhappy about a 10 percent cut in all current foster care rates and adoption payments beginning January 2010. The parents received a letter from DCS...
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High court seeks comment on rule changes

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is seeking comment on potential changes to the Indiana Professional Conduct Rules, Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Trial Rules. The court's Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure is considering recommending to the high court changes to Professional Conduct Rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5, which deal with lawyer advertising, recommendations or solicitations of professional employment, and communication of specialty practice; Rules of Appellate Procedure 14, 18, 39, 41, 46, 49, and 50, which include interlocutory...
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Professor testifies about recusal

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
A professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to testify before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommitee on Courts and Competition.Professor and judicial ethics expert Charles G. Geyh told the committee that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey serves as a wake-up call to state and federal courts to begin taking judicial disqualifications more seriously. Geyh gave a general outlook on judicial disqualification, noting the challenges in having sitting...
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Jefferson courts relocate, salvage documents

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Jefferson Superior and Circuit courts have relocated in Madison and are working to get their offices up and running to handle emergency matters. The courts were forced out of the Jefferson County Courthouse after a fire May 20. Circuit Court has moved to the Venture Out business center at 875 Industrial Dr. on the hill in Madison. Circuit Judge Ted Todd said the court is still trying to set up and is using folding tables and chairs until they can...
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Indiana Northern District judge dies

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp in the Northern District of Indiana died at his home Friday, ending more than 30 years on the federal bench. He was 77. A notice of his death was posted on the Northern District of Indiana's Web site Friday. Appointed to the federal bench Oct. 11, 1973, by President Richard Nixon, Judge Sharp took the bench that following month and served until taking senior status in November 2007. He was the fourth longest-serving active District judge in...
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COA: 'Serious deficiency' in treating mentally ill

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals used an opinion today to highlight what it considered a "serious deficiency" in the statutes for the treatment of developmentally disabled and mentally ill people in the state's criminal courts. "Simply said, the Indiana statutory framework allows courts to recognize the mental illness of a criminal defendant only in terms of guilt for the crime alleged, rather than as a condition that prevents the defendant's ability to form a punishable intention to...
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BREAKING: COA says voter I.D. law unconstitutional

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's 4-year-old voter identification law is unconstitutional, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. Finding that the statute regulates voters in a manner that's not uniform and impartial, a unanimous appellate panel has reversed and remanded a Marion Superior judge's decision and declared the statute void. The decision comes in League of Women Voters of Indiana and League of Women Voters of Indianapolis v. Todd Rokita, No. 49A02-0901-CV-40.This story will be updated.
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Justices: Attorneys must consult with clients

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended for three months a longtime attorney who prepared wills for clients without ever personally consulting with them.Issuing an order In the Matter of Paul J. Watts, No. 60S00-0809-DI-510, the justices ruled 4-1 that Spencer-based attorney Paul J. Watts, who's been practicing since 1974, should be suspended for 120 days starting Jan. 29, 2010. The order was posted online today and is dated Dec. 22.The case stems from a previous disciplinary action involving Bloomington attorney David...
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SCOTUS urged to not take Indiana case

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Attorney General's Office wants the nation's top jurists to reject a Hoosier case posing Fourth Amendment questions about police searches, valid search warrants, and probable cause.
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Judges reverse insurance double credit

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it issued a mother two health insurance credits instead of one, which led to a miscalculation of the child support owed between the parents, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. In D.W. v. L.W., No. 20A04-0907-CV-375, father D.W. paid child support to his ex-wife L.W. for his three minor children, who lived with their mother. The mother paid nearly $57 a week in premiums for health insurance covering the three kids. One of the children...
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Judges disagree on intent issue in rape trial

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed as to whether a defendant in a rape case put his intent at issue during trial by attempting to show his victim consented to sex with him.
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COA first court to join 'green' ABA program

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has been named as a Law Office Climate Challenge Partner by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. The appellate court is the first court in the country to join the program.
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Judge questioned again for nomination

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
 U.S. District Chief Judge David F. Hamilton of Indianapolis appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon for a rare second hearing on his nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.Lawmakers convened the second nomination hearing following complaints from Republican senators in early April about a lack of preparation time for the first hearing, which happened April 1. That hearing was just days before the Senate's two-week break before Easter, and Hamilton answered questions before senators about his 14 years...
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BREAKING: Senate Judiciary delays nomination vote

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee has postponed voting on the nomination of U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals because some senators are concerned about the Indianapolis jurist's record on the bench. Senators agreed during an executive business meeting this morning to hold over the nomination vote to the next meeting, which hasn't yet been set. Committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., said the delay was because the new ranking Republican committee member, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,...
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SCOTUS: Lab techs must testify

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A decision today from the Supreme Court of the United States will have an immediate impact on Indiana, where state justices are considering at least two cases about whether lab technicians who've tested evidence in a case must appear on the stand.
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Merit-selection override a possibility

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The state's top executive has rejected the idea of scrapping merit selection in St. Joseph County, but it remains unclear whether lawmakers will attempt to override that veto during a special session.On the final day he had to take action, Gov. Mitch Daniels used his veto power for the third time this session and rejected House Enrolled Act 1491, which called for non-partisan elections to choose the county's eight Superior judges for six-year terms. It also called for the creation of...
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President picks prosecutor for Northern District

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The veteran federal prosecutor who's filled in three times as interim chief has been chosen for the permanent role as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the White House announced this morning. David Capp, who's been a federal prosecutor for 24 years, has been the acting U.S. Attorney in the Northern District since July 2007, filling the spot after Joseph Van Bokkelen's confirmation to the District Court. Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh nominated Capp for the job from several...
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U.S. judge sanctions Indianapolis law firm

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge has sanctioned an Indianapolis law firm that employed a few attorneys he says helped abuse the discovery process, failed to correct misleading or false statements made by its client, and didn't properly turn over to the court or opposing counsel key documents relating to an environmental contamination case out of Southern Indiana.In a 66-page order issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in the Southern District of Indiana determined that Bose McKinney & Evans should be sanctioned for...
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COA: Man didn't waive right to appeal sentence

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court may have made confusing remarks at a man's guilty plea hearing indicating he "may" have waived the right to appeal, only to later inform him of his right to appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the defendant hadn't waived that right to appeal. The appellate court did affirm the defendant's 30-year advisory sentence for dealing in cocaine, finding he failed to prove it was inappropriate. In Luis Ruiz Bonilla v. State of Indiana, No. 20A05-0902-CR-85, the...
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UPDATE: Court suspends indicted judge

January 1, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court released an order this afternoon suspending LaPorte Superior Judge Jennifer Koethe following her indictment on a charge of felony attempted obstruction of justice. Pursuant to Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A), the high court shall suspend a judge with pay if he or she is indicted on a felony charge. The suspension takes effect at midnight May 11 and will continue until further order of the court. As a result of Judge Koethe's suspension, the Supreme Court...
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Judge's nomination vote set - again

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
  The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote June 4 on U.S. Judge David Hamilton's nomination for the 7th Court of Appeals. The panel had postponed the vote originally planned for May 21 to give some members more time to review the judge's record. An agenda shows the executive business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. and be webcast live.
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Former Justice Richard Givan has died

January 1, 2009
IL Staff
st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Richard Givan has died, according to a news release from the court. He was 88. Justice Givan was elected to the court in 1968 and served continuously until his retirement in December 1994. He served as chief justice from November 1974 to March 1987. He received an LL.B. from Indiana University in 1951 and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1952. A fourth generation lawyer, his great-grandfather, Noah S. Givan, was a circuit...
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Court sanctions Indianapolis attorney

January 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An Indianapolis attorney has received a public reprimand in the third and final leg of a yearlong disciplinary triangle, which has led to a Marion Superior judge's suspension and a commissioner's resignation and banishment from the bench.
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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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