Courts

Courts weighing execution, mental illness

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Execution and the mentally ill continue to be topics before the courts.The Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments Wednesday in Panetti v. Quarterman, No. 06-640, a Texas case that asks whether it violates a constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment to execute a delusional inmate who does not understand why he is being put to death.That case is one that Indiana Supreme Court justices are closely watching to decide how they ;ll handle a condemned man ;s...
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High court adopts 'substantial trustworthiness' test

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has adopted a "substantial trustworthiness" test to determine the reliability of hearsay evidence in probation revocation hearings.A 5-0 decision came today in George Reyes v. State of Indiana, 01S02-0612-CR-495, which comes from Adams Circuit Court and involves a man once convicted and imprisoned for aggravated battery. Reyes began probation in 2000 after his release from prison, but in February 2005 his probation officer filed a violation petition because Reyes tested positive for marijuana. An agreement with the...
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Court reverses probation revocation

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A mapping system showing a potential day-care center near a residence wasn't enough to convince to the Indiana Court of Appeals that a Marion County sex offender's probation should be revoked for staying at the residence one night.The court unanimously ruled today in Clinton Carden v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0608-CR-700. Marion Superior Magistrate Nancy Broyles had revoked Carden's four-year probation that was a result of his 2001 guilty plea to one felony count of child molesting and part of his overall...
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Court reverses COA decision in zoning issue

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed that both the Board of Zoning Appeals of Evansville-Vanderburgh County and trial court were correct in denying the construction of a cellular tower that would be located too close to a residence under a county zoning code.In St. Charles Tower, Inc. v. Board of Zoning Appeals of Evansville-Vanderburgh County, 82S01-0702-CV-69, the state's highest court yesterday overturned the Court of Appeals ruling that found the BZA's decision to deny St. Charles the special-use permit was not supported by...
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Choke hold violated man's rights, justices rule

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Police violated a man's constitutional protection rights when officers grabbed him by the throat and squeezed to stop him from swallowing a plastic baggie of cocaine, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.Justices issued a unanimous opinion Thursday in John Grier v. State of Indiana, No. 49S05-0702-CR-68. The Marion Superior case involved a traffic stop in August 2005, when officers stopped Grier for having an expired license plate. He was gagging after being ordered out of the car, and when he opened...
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High court will select temporary judge

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court plans to appoint a judge pro tem for Lawrence Circuit Court within days after the local judge was found dead at his home earlier this week.Judge Richard D. McIntyre, 51, of Bedford was discovered in his detached garage Tuesday evening by his wife. The Lawrence County Coroner determined he died of likely self-induced carbon monoxide poisoning, according to an announcement this morning.The Lawrence County native had been the Circuit judge for nearly 20 years, and the county...
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AG urges court not to review voter ID law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The nearing 2008 presidential election is a key reason why the Supreme Court of the United States should not accept a challenge to Indiana's two-year-old voter identification law, the Indiana Attorney General's Office argues in a brief filed with the nation's highest court.Even while recognizing that the constitutionality of voter identification laws is a significant question that may eventually need review, the 29-page brief filed this week urges the court to deny a petition for certiorari.This reply follows the July petition...
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S.C. to hear arresting-powers case

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer to a Marion Superior Court case involving an arrest by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer who did not attend the swearing-in ceremony early this year. At issue is whether that arrest should stand. The Indiana Attorney General's office filed a petition Aug. 27 to bypass the Court of Appeals and transfer the case, State v. Cheryl Oddi-Smith, 49A05-0708-CR-445, directly to the Supreme Court. The state appeals the Aug. 7 ruling by Marion Superior Court...
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Judge rules Fishers can annex Geist

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana caselaw is well settled on jurisdiction relating to annexations and incorporations, and a Hamilton Superior judge has determined Fishers should be allowed to proceed with annexing thousands of acres in Geist.Judge Steven Nation ruled today on a high-publicity case involving the proposed annexation by Fishers of 2,200 homes in unincorporated Geist area. At issue was whether the county had jurisdiction over the annexation because of the timeline of petitions filed.In mid-September Fishers had introduced an ordinance to start annexing the...
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Court rules on judicial mandates

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Trial judges must work with county officials and share the decision making of how court money is spent, the Indiana Supreme Court has reiterated.A pair of anticipated rulings issued Wednesday shows how the state's high court will step in when those disputes can't be managed locally.Justice Frank Sullivan issued both decisions for the unanimous court in Clark County Council and Clark County Auditor v. Daniel F. Donahue, Cecile A. Blau, Vicki Carmichael, and Steven M. Fleece, 10S00-0606-CV-199, and In Re: Order for...
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COA to hear 4 cases; one at Plainfield High School

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in four cases next week, including one on the road at Plainfield High School.A three-judge panel will hear arguments Monday in Meridian Insurance v. Cha Cha, Inc., No. 53A01-0608-CV-352, which poses the question of whether the period for restoration of a business damaged by fire in an adjoining building should be decided by the courts or through the appraisal process.The following day two panels will hear afternoon arguments - David Scholtman v. Taza...
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New trial court management director needed

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Someone new will soon be overseeing aspects of Indiana's trial court management.Colleen O'Brien, who'd served as executive director of trial court management for about a year and been with the Supreme Court's State Court Administration division for about two years, has taken a position as a staff attorney with the Indiana Court of Appeals.The person chosen for this high-level court position will be responsible for overseeing duties relating to the operation of Indiana's trial courts, including the administration of a data...
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Court opinions, orders online

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Internet is now the main method for getting a look at any opinions, orders, and decisions from Indiana's appellate courts.Starting today, the appellate clerk's office hopes to save money and be more environmentally friendly by discontinuing its practice of providing courtesy copies of published orders, opinions, and disciplinary actions. Traditionally, those have been available to media and news outlets free of charge. The office hasn't calculated the budget savings, but hopes to reduce the paper consumption by about 88,000 sheets...
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Partial residential entry enough for conviction

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Whether your whole body, the upper half, or just a hand enters someone else's home, that's enough to be considered "entering" under Indiana statute for conviction of residential entry. The Court of Appeals ruled today on the definition of entering a dwelling under the residential entry statute, something the courts haven't defined in previous cases. In Robert Williams v. State, 49A05-0612-CR-688, Williams appealed his conviction for residential entry, a Class D felony, arguing that only the upper half of his body leaned...
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Chief Justice on panel to study tax assessing, local government

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard will co-chair a commission designed to find long-term solutions to the state's property tax crisis, the governor announced today.Along with former Gov. Joe Kernan, the chief justice will lead the Commission on Local Government Reform beginning in early August. One of the questions the commission will look at is whether the township form of government should be abolished.Specifically, questions before the commission will be:- What local government offices might be eliminated to achieve efficiencies and...
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Governor names new Lake, Marion judges

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels today chose a Gary attorney and legal counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources director for a pair of judicial openings in Lake and Marion counties.Gary attorney Calvin Hawkins will take over as Lake Superior judge in September, replacing Judge Robert A. Pete who died in March. Admitted to the Indiana bar in 1971, Hawkins has concentrated his practice in civil and church litigation, as well as bankruptcy, probate, and family law. He earned his law degree...
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Court rules on corporate insurance policy issues

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
One of the first things you'll notice about an Indiana Court of Appeals decision issued today is the number of attorneys and parties on the case.The first four pages of the 29-page ruling in Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al. v. U.S. Filter Corp., list the parties and respective attorneys. Those include 13 appellant insurance companies and organizations, two appellees-plaintiffs, and three amici curiae parties from Indianapolis; Washington, D.C.; New York, Chicago; and parts of Michigan.Issues addressed in this case...
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Fort Wayne is first for 'Courts in Classroom' re-enactment

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will take its educational Courts in the Classroom program on the road for the first time this fall as it celebrates its six-year anniversary.A re-enactment of a historic U.S. Supreme Court case arising out the Fort Wayne area will be the first on the road event Oct. 17 and 18 at the Lincoln Museum. That case, Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866), involved civilians and military tribunals, and the lead defendant, Lambdin Milligan, was from that...
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Justices deny previously granted transfer

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Despite a previous decision to accept a case, the Indiana Supreme Court has decided to revoke its previous order to consider whether Indiana or Illinois law should apply to a dram shop suit.Now, a Court of Appeals decision from March will stand, meaning Indiana law applies to the case.Justices this week vacated its July decision to accept transfer in Rebecca Shaw, Individually, and for the Estate of Kayla Nichole Hughes, and Stephen Hughes v. LDC Enterprises d/b/a I&I Steakhouse, et al., in...
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High court asked to intervene in recount

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is being asked to toss out a trial judge's order for a Terre Haute mayoral race recount because the petitioner failed to include the winner's middle initial.Attorney James Bopp Jr. with Terre Haute law firm Bopp Coleson & Bostrom filed an emergency request Thursday afternoon for the justices to intervene in the recount challenge, contending that Vigo Circuit Judge David Bolk didn't have jurisdiction to order a recount from the Nov. 6 election. Democratic Mayor Kevin Burke...
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Indiana Supreme Court denies review of Kokomo case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Within hours of hearing oral arguments, the Indiana Supreme Court decided not to grant transfer to review the case involving a Kokomo fire captain ;s demotion to firefighter because of comments made from outside the department. The appeals court had ruled the demotion did not constitute a violation of his First Amendment free-speech rights.The court had not released a decision by early this afternoon, but the City of Kokomo had posted a press release saying the justices did not agree to...
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Interviews for COA spot start today

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Judicial Nominating Commission has started interviewing for a future opening on the Indiana Court of Appeals.This afternoon, the seven-member commission began interviewing eight candidates for the seat currently occupied by Judge Patrick D. Sullivan, who retires in August. Interviews are scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. and will resume with another 12 interviews Tuesday morning.Candidates being interviewed today are Susan E. Boatright, juvenile division supervisor at the Marion County Public Defender Agency; Briane M. House with ProLiance Energy; Marion Superior...
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Court reverses auto theft conviction

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a conviction of auto theft and remanded the case to the trial court, citing insufficient evidence to prove the defendant had exclusive possession of the vehicle from the time of the theft until police saw him in the stolen car. In Steven Shelby v. State of Indiana, 49A05-0704-CR-202, Shelby appealed his conviction and sentence of auto theft, a Class D felony, and the trial court's finding him to be a habitual offender. On Nov. 7,2006,...
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Dog attack justifies battery charge

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Commanding an animal to attack a person can justify an aggravated battery charge under Indiana statute, ruled the Court of Appeals today. In Shaquita Gilbert v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0606-CR-448, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gilbert's conviction for aggravated battery, a Class B felony under Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5. Gilbert appealed, saying there is insufficient evidence showing she caused the injuries that brought on the aggravated battery conviction. Gilbert commanded a pit bull in the home where she lived to attack Veronica McAtee....
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COA semifinalists interview Wednesday

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Seven semifinalists go before the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission Wednesday in their quest for a seat on the state's second highest appellate court.Facing second interviews, those judges and attorneys will focus their thoughts on what they consider their two finest career accomplishments and what two items need most improving at the Indiana Court of Appeals.The interviews - which are open to the public - will be in the Statehouse, Room 319, which is near the Indiana Supreme Court's courtroom on the...
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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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