Courts

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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Court sponsors Northwest Ordinance lecture

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is sponsoring a lecture celebrating the 221st anniversary of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the legal issues related to Indiana's southern borders established by the ordinance. The lecture will begin at 3 p.m. on July 14.Seating in the Supreme Court's courtroom for "221 Years of Unsettled Borders: Indiana and the Northwest Ordinance" is no longer available for the free lecture, but a monitor and overflow seating will be available in the atrium area, as well as...
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Larry Bird sues over use of name

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Former college and NBA basketball star and current president of basketball operations of the Indiana Pacers Larry Bird has filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court against the owners of his childhood home. Bird filed the suit, Larry Bird v. Legend of French Lick LLC, No. 4:08-CV-0070-DFH-WGH, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division Monday against Georgianna Lincoln and Christopher Cooke, who purchased Bird's childhood home in French Lick from the Larry Joe Bird Revocable...
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Election choices fade for Marion Superior Court

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Three unslated contenders for Marion Superior judgeships have withdrawn their names from the May primary ballot, including two sitting judges who between them have almost a half-century of judicial experience.By the noon deadline on Feb. 25, incumbent Marion Superior Judges Kenneth H. Johnson and Gary L. Miller withdrew their names after filing their candidacies late last week. Both were overlooked at the county Republican Party's slating convention Feb. 16.Indianapolis attorney Angela Dow Davis, who'd filed to run against the Democrats' slate also chosen...
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Justices to demonstrate electronic ticketing

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Two Indiana Supreme Court justices will be on hand in Indianapolis tomorrow for a demonstration of a new, statewide electronic ticketing system.Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan will join Indianapolis Public Safety Director Scott Newman and law enforcement to show how the new system will work. Called eCWS - electronic Citation and Warning System - the new mobile system allows police to create tickets electronically and send them to a central location for law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts...
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International law CLE to be webcast

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A free CLE program featuring discussion about the international prosecution of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity will take place in the Indiana Supreme Court's Courtroom from 3 to 4:30 p.m. May 7. Event organizers have received enough RSVPs to fill the room, but stand-by reservations are still being accepted as of today for what planners say is a short waiting list so far.This program has been approved for 1.5 CLE credit hours. For those unable to make it, there...
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Court urges early review of offender litigation

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana state prison inmate has filed dozens of lawsuits with claims that a painful odor violated his constitutional rights, he's been repeatedly denied access to public records, victimized by excessive force, and not given proper treatment behind bars.The Indiana Appellate Clerk's Office has 35 of Eric D. Smith's appeals, most being civil suits that include one decided today, and six that remain pending awaiting action.Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed one of the 29-year-old's string of suits and the...
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Child support abatement starts on petition date

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order setting the date in which an incarcerated man can receive an abatement in his child support, finding the date the man filed his order was when it could be first applied. The ruling could open the door for the Indiana Supreme Court to decide when an abatement can take effect.In In re the marriage of: Gary Becker v. Heather Becker, No. 49A04-0804-CV-205, Gary Becker appealed the trial court order modifying his...
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Justices to hear 'robocalls' arguments Monday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Terre Haute Monday for arguments in a case dealing with "robocalls." The issue in State of Indiana v. American Family Voices, Inc., Jim Gonzalez, and John Does 2-10, is whether pre-recorded, automated "robocalls" with political content can be limited under Indiana's Automatic Dialing Machine Statute, Indiana Code Section 24-5-14-5.The case stems from complaints about American Family Voices' use of automated calls; the attorney general's office filed an action against the group in September 2006 in...
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Judges rule on marital property division

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Trial courts that order parties to sell marital residences can take into account any needed repairs and costs associated with selling residences when figuring the value, as long as those amounts are based on evidence in the record, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.A unanimous three-judge appellate panel ruled today in David Keown v. Cynthia Marie Keown, No. 49A02-0706-CV-496, a Marion County case in which the ex-husband challenged a trial court's decision in recalculating the value of the marital residence as...
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Justice encourages judicial applications

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
An Indiana Supreme Court justice is in South Bend today to actively encourage attorneys to apply for an opening on the St. Joseph Superior Court that will be available when Judge William T. Means retires Sept. 30."Being a judge is a challenging but enormously gratifying way for an attorney to use all of his or her legal skills in a way that improves both the quality of life in our community and the quality of justice in our state," Justice Frank...
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Merged conviction violates double jeopardy

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals vacated a defendant's conviction of conspiracy to deal methamphetamine because it violated Indiana's double jeopardy law, but the court affirmed his conviction and sentence for dealing methamphetamine. In today's ruling in Robert R. Gregory Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 15A01-0708-CR-348, Gregory raised several issues on appeal, arguing evidence supporting his convictions was obtained before police had a valid search warrant, a witness's testimony shouldn't have been allowed at trial, there was prosecutorial misconduct, and his...
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Court: private cause of action allowed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Tackling an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined the "Equal Access Law" in Indiana Code creates a private cause of action for bail agents. In Dave Galloway in his capacity as Hendricks County Sheriff v. David Hadley, d/b/a D & D Bonding, No. 32A-04-0707-CV-400, Galloway appealed the trial court order granting Hadley a preliminary injunction against the use of a "preferred agent list" by the Hendricks County Sheriff's Department. The list contains the names of preferred bail agents,...
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Tax Court upholds agency's loan decision

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court has upheld a state agency's decision approving loans to fund fire department operations in a Morgan County township.In Virginia Perry and Gregg Terhune, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., No. 49T10-0712-TA-78, the court affirmed the DLGF's approval of two Madison Township loans - a reduced $409,000 emergency amount for operating expenses and $650,000 for new vehicles and equipment - that the petitioning taxpayers didn't want to pay for in 2007. Those taxpayers argued...
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Court: Evidence needed to enforce CID

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Attorney General must provide at least a verified petition to a court to enforce a civil investigative demand and show the demand is proper, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.In Nu-Sash of Indianapolis, Inc. d/b/a McKee Sunroom Designs v. Steve Carter, Indiana Attorney General, and Liberty Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Booster Club Productions, No. 49S02-0801-CV-16, Nu-Sash appealed a trial court order that the company respond within 10 days to a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by Attorney General Steve Carter regarding...
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Defendant had right to confront lab technician

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's drug conviction, finding his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was denied when he was unable to depose or cross-examine the lab technician who prepared a report stating cocaine was found in his car.In Ricky L. Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 27A02-0710-CR-902, Ricky Jackson appealed his conviction of dealing in cocaine, invoking the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), which ruled that when testimonial statements are at issue,...
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COA reverses termination of father's rights

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order terminating the parental rights of a father, finding the trial court erred when it relied on an independent investigation to end his rights without giving the father a chance to view or respond to the investigation. In In Re: The Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of S.F. and J.F., Michael Farley v. Allen County Child Services, No. 02A03-0707-JV-306, the appellate court was asked to decide whether Farley was denied...
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Public defender facing suspension

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A Marion County public defender is being suspended from his job after his arrest during an undercover child sex sting this weekend.The chair of the public defender office's board of directors confirmed that Ryan Snyder, 29, is being suspended today and the Marion County Public Defender's Agency is determining whether that will be paid leave or not."We don't want to be premature, and we have to let the judicial system work," said chair Jimmie McMillian, an associate with Indianapolis firm Barnes...
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Nebraska: Electric chair unconstitutional

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A landmark ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court this morning means that the last state allowing electric chair executions can't use the method because it's considered cruel and unusual punishment.The 6-1 ruling today in State of Nebraska v. Richard Mata, Jr., S-05-1268, affirms the death sentence but stays the execution. The court decided that the legislature may vote to have a death penalty but not one that offends rights under the state constitution. Because the decision is based solely on state...
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Prosecutor's office allowed to file counterclaim

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office was allowed to vacate property it leased after repeated water leaks because the landlords constructively and actually evicted the office from the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed March 4. At issue in Village Commons, LLC and Rynalco, Inc. v. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Carl Brizzi, No. 49A05-0704-CV-195, is whether the exclusive-remedy provision in the lease between Village Commons and Rynalco (landlords), and the prosecutor's office barred the office from asserting it was evicted...
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Attorney, ICLU founder dies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A prominent and well-respected labor attorney who had a great impact on Indianapolis and the legal community died July 27.Alan T. Nolan, an attorney, author, and historian, was 85. Calling and a memorial service will be Aug. 10 and 11.Nolan was born in Evansville and moved to Indianapolis at the age of 10. He attended Harvard Law School and clerked for Sherman Minton at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. He returned to Indianapolis in 1948 and practiced law...
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Public defender finalists named

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two men vying for Marion County's top public defender spot will face public interviews next week before members of the county agency's governing board decide which one will ultimately be recommended for the position.The Marion County Public Defender Agency's board of directors declined to release names publicly until today. The board is searching for someone to succeed chief defender David E. Cook, who is leaving the agency for Indianapolis immigration firm Gresk & Singleton.Indianapolis defense attorneys Robert J. Hill Jr. and...
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Supporting politicians: Legal industry among biggest contributors to campaigns

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
 Attorneys' total contributions nationally to 2008 presidential candidates*:If you've been getting calls since the primaries or even earlier, asking you to donate to political party A or candidate B, or to help to spread the word about issue C, you're not alone. It's no secret that attorneys - whether as individuals or as a combined effort of attorneys in a firm - contribute to campaigns. In federal campaigns in 2004 and so far this year, Indiana lawyers are listed as...
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UPDATE: SCOTUS upholds Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A week before Hoosier voters head to the polls, the nation's highest court has upheld Indiana's law requiring voters to show identification before casting a ballot. The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision, this morning in the pair of consolidated Hoosier cases William Crawford, et al. v. Marion County Election Board, et al., No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party, et al. v. Todd Rokita, No. 07-25. The decision rejected the constitutional challenge to the strictest voter ID law in...
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Supreme Court affirms COA decision

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals on a case it granted transfer to Friday. Justices granted transfer late last week in Floyd Tewell v. State of Indiana, No. 48S02-0701-PC-118, in which the court was asked to rule on whether Tewell's request challenging his prison detainment should have been treated as post-conviction relief or a writ of habeas corpus. In an order posted online today and dated Jan. 11, the Supreme Court adopted the opinion of the...
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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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