Courts

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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Governor appoints new Delaware Circuit judge

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed attorney Chris M. Teagle as judge of Delaware Circuit Court No. 5. Teagle succeeds Judge Wayne J. Lennington, who turned in his resignation from the bench earlier this year.Teagle, of Albany, has served in private practice in Muncie since 1985 and has had his own civil law practice since 1993. The Valparaiso University School of Law graduate will start May 16. Judge Lennington sent his resignation letter to the governor in March citing health reasons. An...
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Court upholds murder conviction

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Brown County man's murder conviction, finding there was sufficient evidence to show he killed his wife in 2003. The man, Michael B. Smith, appealed his conviction, arguing evidence was admitted in violation of Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) and that it was insufficient to support his conviction. Smith was found guilty of killing his wife Linda, whom he claimed he found alone in their hot tub after he fell asleep earlier in the evening. In...
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IBA seeks nominations for award

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indianapolis Bar Association's Women and the Law Division is seeking nominations for its 2008 Antoinette Dakin Leach Award. July 31 is the deadline to submit nominations. The Antoinette Dakin Leach Award recognizes a female attorney for her professional and personal accomplishments. Nominees should be those who encourage other women to pursue a legal career or blaze a path not taken by others. Nominees will be evaluated on their accomplishments, service, mentoring, and professionalism. They will be honored at a luncheon this fall....
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Senate Judiciary OKs magistrate for judge

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
U.S. Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence in Indianapolis has just won unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning to become a federal district judge.At the end of its 10 a.m. business meeting that concluded just before 10:30 a.m., the committee voted 10-0 in favor of Magistrate Lawrence's nomination for a judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana. His confirmation hearing was May 2.Now, Magistrate Lawrence awaits confirmation from the full Senate. The president had selected him in February to...
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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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