Courts

COA affirms Lake County early-voting sites

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals late this afternoon has affirmed a preliminary injunction allowing the operation of three early-voting locations in Lake County. In John B. Curley, et al. v. Lake County Board of Elections and Registration, et al., No. 45A03-0810-CV-512, the appellate court held the trial court's order wasn't clearly erroneous when the court determined the offices of the Circuit Court Clerk in Hammond, East Chicago, and Gary are not "satellite" offices and that Indiana Code Section 3-11-10-26(a)(1) doesn't restrict the...
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Improperly fastened seatbelt can lead to stop

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Front-seat passengers in cars must have their seatbelts properly fastened when the car is in motion, meaning the lap belt must be fastened and the shoulder belt across his or her shoulder, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The appellate court examined Indiana Code Section 9-19-10-2 to come to the conclusion that to avoid being stopped by a police officer for a seatbelt violation, a person must have both the lap and shoulder harnesses fastened and placed properly on the...
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Responses for Tinder investiture due April 4

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana State Bar Association members have until April 4 to RSVP to attend the investiture of Judge John D. Tinder as a circuit judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The investiture will be at 2:30 p.m. April 11 in the William E. Steckler Ceremonial Courtroom in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis. A reception at the Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, will immediately follow the ceremony. The ISBA is now...
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Paper wants judge to set aside libel verdict

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Terre Haute newspaper is asking the judge who presided over a libel trial against the paper to set aside the $1.5 million jury verdict. The Tribune-Star Publishing Company Inc., which produces the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, filed its 39-page brief to support a motion to correct errors Aug. 22 in Sullivan Circuit Court.In July, a jury awarded Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Maynard $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit against the newspaper, Jeff...
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Senator facing health concerns

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana Senate assistant majority floor leader and attorney Sen. David Ford, R-Hartford City, is hospitalized and awaiting news from his doctors regarding his health.Ford, 58, was hospitalized Jan. 15 in Fort Wayne and underwent surgery Jan. 18, the same day he and Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, announced they would postpone town hall meetings scheduled for Jan. 19.A four-term senator, Ford represents Senate District 19, which covers Adams, Allen, Blackford, Grant, and Wells counties. He chairs the Technology Subcommittee of the Senate...
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Supreme Court dismisses moot appeal

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court Feb. 26 granted transfer and dismissed a case involving state officials who violated the law by not following the public bidding process when they attempted to privatize a Fort Wayne development center that housed developmentally disabled adults. In Anita Stuller, et al. v. Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., et al., No. 02A05-0601-CV-22, the high court dismissed the case as moot "because of events that transpired after the appeal was initiated," according to the order.The development center at issue in the...
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Death penalty film, discussion Thursday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The death penalty is the topic of a film screening and discussion May 22 presented by the Indiana Coalition Acting to Suspend Executions (InCASE), Indiana University School of Law -Indianapolis' Law Students Against Capital Punishment, and the Independent Film Channel. The film, "At the Death House Door," is a personal and intimate look at the death penalty in Texas from the perspective of Carroll Pickett, a pastor who served 15 years as the death house chaplain in a Huntsville prison unit and presided...
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Grant available for Family Court Project

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A one-year grant of up to $40,000 is available to launch a Family Court Project. The grant is an opportunity for county governments to get funding for a project that provides judicial coordination of multiple cases involving the same family. Last year, only two new projects received funding for the 2008 year, so the Indiana Supreme Court had an extra $40,000 to include in the 2009 budget, said Loretta Olesky, Family Court manager. Typically, the grants run on two-year cycles; however,...
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Judge dismisses prisoner suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Fort Wayne has dismissed a pro se complaint against a local sheriff and jail officials because it doesn't adequately state a claim to recover for alleged sexual harassment during a weapons strip search.U.S. District Judge Philip Simon ruled in Nathan W. Romine v. Nick Yoder, et al., No. 1:08-CV-036 PS, which involved a suit from an Adams County Law Enforcement Center inmate. Romine said he was sexually harassed at the jail during a strip search for...
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Justices: MySpace use not harassment

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A teenager's use of the social networking site MySpace.com didn't rise to the level of harassment because her expletive-laden postings criticizing her principal about school policy weren't available to everyone online, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.In a unanimous ruling late Tuesday afternoon, the state's five justices agreed to reverse a lower court's decision in A.B. v. State of Indiana, No. 67S01-0709-JV-373.While the case presented justices with a chance to explore free speech rights as they pertain to online activity in...
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Judge penalizes no-show juror

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A Lake County criminal court judge took a former juror to task Tuesday for skipping jury duty during a murder trial this spring.Superior Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. found a 20-year-old Cedar Lake resident in contempt of court and sentenced him to three hours in the county jail, as well as ordering him to carry a 24-inch by 24-inch sign saying "I failed to appear for jury duty" from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Monday outside the Crown Point courthouse.That will be a warning...
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Courts can review public school financing

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier courts have the authority to review the state's school financing formula to determine whether Indiana is meeting a constitutional requirement to provide a quality public education for all students, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled May 2.A 2-1 ruling from the COA revives the public education financing case of Joseph Bonner, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 49A02-0702-CV-188, which presents an issue of first impression. Nine public school students and their families from eight different school systems throughout the...
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Justices find ineffective assistance in case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has determined an appellate attorney rendered ineffective assistance in an Evansville kidnapping case that resulted in a police dog being fatally shot 10 years ago.A unanimous court ruled Feb. 27 in Antwain Henley v. State of Indiana, No. 82S05-0701-PC-31, which comes from a Vanderburgh County case at the post-conviction relief stage involving a pro se litigant. The Court of Appeals panel issued a ruling in October 2006, reversing and holding in favor of the defendant Henley, and remanding for a new...
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Court: delayed rape conviction OK

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's rape conviction, finding his due process rights weren't violated when charges were filed in 2005 for a rape that happened nearly 25 years earlier. In Thomas N. Schiro v. State of Indiana, No. 10A01-0701-CR-21, Thomas Schiro appealed his conviction of felony rape, arguing the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the charges brought against him in 2005 for two rapes that occurred in 1980 and by admitting his written sexual...
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Hearing set in Lake County early-voting case

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Special Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider has set a hearing for the consolidated Lake Circuit Court and Lake Superior Court cases involving early-voting sites, according to Indiana Supreme Court spokesperson Kathryn Dolan. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT Oct. 20 in Courtroom 1, 232 Russell St., Hammond. The Indiana Supreme Court appointed Lake Superior Judge Schneider as special judge Thursday to resolve the dispute between the Lake County courts as to whether satellite early-voting sites should be allowed to be...
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Convict fights tooth and nail, loses on the tooth

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A tooth is considered a "bodily member or organ" within the definition of the state's aggravated battery statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled March 7.Deciding a case of first impression in Derrick C. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-0708-CR-357, the appellate court ruled that a Lake Superior judge properly determined that enough evidence existed to support Smith's conviction under the state's aggravated battery statute.Incarcerated at the Lake County Jail in August 2006, Smith and another inmate overpowered a jail...
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Court decides 2 disputed land cases

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on two cases today involving disputed tracts of land on lakefront properties and adverse possession in Kosciusko County. In Daisy Farm Limited Partnership v. Michael and Jill Morrolf, No. 43A04-0707-CV-390, the appellate court reversed the trial court judgment in favor of Michael and Jill Morrolf that a disputed tract of land didn't pass to Daisy Farm by virtue of adverse possession. Daisy Farm and its predecessors owned the lot adjoining the Morrolfs' in a neighborhood located...
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Plan: protect educators who discipline students

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wants more legal protection for educators who discipline students to keep order in their schools.A news release issued this morning announced the governor's plans to work with lawmakers in the coming legislative session to pass a law providing legal immunity for those teachers and school staff members who, in good faith, discipline students. He also wants the Indiana Attorney General's Office to use its statutory authority to defend any teacher who becomes the target of unreasonable litigation.The...
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Court: Official can take office once bonded

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Elected public officials who haven't secured bond by the date they are to take office can begin their elected position once they have obtained the bond, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.At issue in Tom Shetler Sr. and Suzan Nicholson v. Linda K. Durham, No. 82A01-0706-CV-273, is whether Durham can hold office as elected trustee of Knight Township even though she failed to secure bond by her official start date. Durham was elected trustee in November 2006 and met with the incumbent...
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Magistrate named for Southern District

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis attorney is the new magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.Debra McVicker Lynch, of counsel at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, fills the position left empty after Judge William T. Lawrence was elevated to Article III judgeship July 1. Lynch said she is elated and honored that the court expressed its confidence in her to select her as magistrate judge. Although she has enjoyed her time in private practice, she said she's aspired to be a...
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Court can determine when defendant testifies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Defendants have the constitutional right to testify at trial, but they do not have the right to dictate when they take the stand, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 25.At issue in Kevin Book v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0707-CR-385, is whether the trial court violated Book's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights when he was allegedly compelled to make a decision whether to testify at a particular time during his trial. Book was accused of smothering to death his girlfriend's 20-month-old...
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ISBA receives more artwork of courthouses

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
Three more donations of artwork depicting Indiana courthouses have been received by the Indiana State Bar Association: the bar associations of Daviess, Lake, and Sullivan counties have donated images of their respective county courthouses. Photos are now on Indiana Lawyer's Web site as part of a slideshow of all 12 works the ISBA has received so far.The ISBA acquired the artwork of Daviess County Courthouse by Ervin R. Clark June 26; it was donated by the Daviess County Bar Association. The painting...
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Comments sought on child support rules

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana is seeking public comment concerning Indiana's Child Support Rules and Guidelines as part of its review process to propose changes to the Indiana Supreme Court. Written comments are due July 3 and may be submitted by an online survey, by fax to (317) 233-3367, or by mail to Indiana Judicial Center c/o the Domestic Relations Committee, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 900, Indianapolis, IN 46204-3564. A public hearing will be conducted...
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Attorney blamed for lack of proper relief

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the U.S. District Court in Hammond in which two plaintiffs were injured by a drunk driver and then awarded less-than-adequate relief from a jury, agreeing that any proper relief denied to the plaintiffs was a result of their attorney.In Christina Soltys and Danuta Pauch v. Yvonne Costello, No. 06-3175, the 7th Circuit affirmed the District Court didn't err in denying the plaintiffs' eleventh-hour motion to amend their complaint to add a count...
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Five appellate jurists will be on ballot

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Michael W. Hoskins mhoskins@IBJ.com 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 have told Indiana Lawyer they hope to return to either the Indiana Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or Tax Court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, Justices Theodore M. Boehm and Brent E. Dickson, Court of Appeals Judge Carr Darden, and Tax Court Judge Thomas G. Fisher are up for retention. Late last week,...
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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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