Courts

State must arbitrate with tobacco companies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
States involved in a settlement agreement with certain tobacco companies to recover health care costs for smoking-related illnesses must participate in a single, national arbitration panel when arbitrating issues, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals today. In State of Indiana, ex rel., Stephen R. Carter, Attorney General of Indiana v. Philip Morris Tobacco Company, et al., No. 49A02-0706-CV-494, the state appealed the trial court order requiring Indiana to arbitrate with Philip Morris and other tobacco companies the decision of the independent auditor...
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Famous Civil War trial re-enactment March 4

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A famous Indiana Civil War trial that remains particularly relevant is being re-enacted on March 4, which is President Benjamin Harrison Day.About 250 middle and high school students are expected at the Indiana Statehouse for the educational re-enactment of the case, Ex Parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866), which involved citizens and military tribunals. A resident of Huntington, Ind., Milligan was sentenced to death by a military tribunal for his outspoken opposition to President Abraham Lincoln's Civil War draft. Several famous...
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COA footnotes: more past delays found

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Examples are still surfacing about how files had been delayed in getting transmitted to the Indiana Court of Appeals, although the Appellate Clerk's office has been backlog-free for about a month and these instances only highlight what had happened in the past.Two opinions in the past week show cases that were not transmitted from the clerk's office for eight months and almost two years, respectively. Both included footnotes explaining the situation, recent reforms, and advice to counsel about keeping tabs on...
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Law firm pays $50,000, ending $18M nightmare

January 1, 2008
An Indianapolis law firm has paid $50,000 to the Indiana Department of Insurance in a deal that extricates it from an $18 million jury verdict stemming from the collapse of a health insurance trust. The department released Fillenwarth Dennerline Groth & Towe from the massive judgment that a Marion County jury handed down against the law firm two years ago. In return, the firm transferred to the department the bad-faith claims it is pursuing against its malpractice insurer, Alabama-based ProNational Insurance...
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St. Joseph County seeks judicial applicants

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Any St. Joseph County attorney who wants to be a trial court judge can now apply for that opportunity.The county's Judicial Nominating Commission is accepting applications until 5 p.m. Aug. 29 for the judicial vacancy when St. Joseph Superior Judge William T. Means retires Sept. 30. The commission, which will recommend candidates for consideration to the governor, met last week to set a schedule for the application process.Interviews for applicants will be Sept. 12 in South Bend.According to state law, the...
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Justices affirm search warrant, convictions

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court yesterday affirmed a defendant's convictions of dealing in cocaine and possession of marijuana because the initial search warrant was supported by sufficient probable cause. One justice dissented, fearing the logic used by the majority to affirm the search warrant would invite more searches by the government that could violate both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions. In Willie Eaton v. State of Indiana, No. 89S04-0802-CR-106, Willie Eaton appealed his drug convictions, arguing the initial search warrant wasn't supported by...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Thursday to three cases that involve amending charging information after the omnibus date, police questioning about drugs during a routine traffic stop, and consolidating a preliminary injunction hearing with a trial on the merits without notice. In Michael Hill v. State of Indiana, No.49A02-0701-CR-110, the appellate court affirmed the trial court didn't err by allowing the state to amend the charging information to add the attempted sexual misconduct with a minor charge after the omnibus date....
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Court: media ban does not pass test

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, ruling there were genuine issues of fact as to why they denied death row inmates from giving face-to-face interviews with the media. In David Paul Hammer v. John D. Ashcroft, et al., No. 06-1750, Hammer sued Bureau of Prison officials, including then-Attorney General of the U.S., John Ashcroft, and former wardens of the federal prison in Terre Haute, Harley Lappin and Keith...
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Hoosier bankruptcy filings among highest

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Bankruptcy filings have increased so much in Indiana that some U.S. trustees handling Chapter 7 proceedings may want to add an extra session each month to hear new cases.Attorneys statewide are seeing more clients from an uptick in filings, and as a result are not surprised to hear that federal filings across the country surged 38 percent in 2007. Nor are they surprised that Indiana ranked fourth highest in the nation overall and top in the country for the number of...
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Morgan County Courthouse damaged, closed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Morgan County Courthouse is closed today as a result of damage sustained by high winds from Tuesday's storm, and a courthouse disaster plan mandated by a new state rule has been kicked into gear for the first time.North and west sides of the courthouse's roof were heavily damaged in the storm. One half of the roof has been blown completely off, including the tresses and some of the brick wall it was attached to, said Jeff Neal, director of Morgan...
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Inmate matters, court provisions signed into law

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Bills about the discharge of long-term inmates, judges' pensions, and various provisions concerning courts were among the remaining 33 bills sent to the governor's office that were signed into law yesterday.SEA 258 deals with the discharge of long-term inmates, GPS monitoring of certain sex offenders, and the conditions for probation or parole of a sex offender.SEA 329 allows full-time magistrates on or after July 1, 2010, to become participants in the judges' 1985 benefit system; increases the court administration fee from...
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Evening visits don't count toward credit

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Overnight visits must take place overnight in order to be used in a claim for parenting time credit under the child support guidelines, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Aug. 19. In Marla K. Young v. Timothy S. Young, No. 09S05-0803-CV-136, the high court addressed whether evening visits could be credited as overnight visits when calculating child support. Timothy Young was awarded 104 overnights, including 52 which were for two additional evenings per week he spent with their kids. But evening visits shouldn't...
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Courts weigh in on sex-offender restrictions

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A city's law prohibiting registered sex offenders from visiting parks or recreation areas is likely on its way to the Indiana Court of Appeals in what a civil liberties attorney said could be the first appellate case of its kind in the country.A ruling from Hendricks Superior Judge Robert Freeze March 14 upholds a Plainfield ban of sex offenders in parks and recreational areas, finding the six-year-old local ordinance constitutional and not in violation of any guideposts established by the state...
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SCOTUS sets date for second Indiana case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear its second case this term from Indiana on March 26, considering whether a defendant found competent to stand trial should also be allowed to represent himself.Justices granted certiorari in December for Indiana v. Edwards, No. 07-208, which follows an Indiana Supreme Court ruling in May 2007. The case stems from a July 1999 downtown Indianapolis incident in which Ahmad Edwards was caught on surveillance tape stealing shoes. He ultimately shot at police multiple...
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Justices grant five transfers

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted five new cases. At its weekly conference Aug. 28, justices granted transfer in two civil cases, two criminal cases, and a tax court case. • Brenda and Darren Wagner v. Bobbi Yates, et al., No. 22A01-0710-CV-474: An underinsured motorist policy case from Floyd County. The Court of Appeals in April affirmed the lower court's granting of a motion for summary judgment in favor of American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin, the Wagners' automobile insurer. The court ruled that American Standard can set...
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Indiana District Courts amending local rules

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has published the amendments made to its Local Rules. After considering the proposed amendments and comments received, changes have been made to several rules including Rule 5.1 - General Format of Documents Presented for Filing, Rule 56.1 - Summary Judgment Procedure, and Rule II - Discipline Imposed by Other Courts. To view all of the changes, visit the District Court's Web site and click on the "Notice of Amendments to...
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SCOTUS defines money-laundering 'proceeds'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States has defined money laundering and tossed out the convictions of an East Chicago man in a split decision today.The high court ruled on U.S. v. Efrain Santos, et al., No. 06-1005, which involved a money-laundering ring in East Chicago. This was one of two money-laundering cases decided by the court today; the other came in Cuellar v. U.S., No. 06-1456, which held that mere concealment of money during a transport is not enough to support...
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State's justices set record together

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court made history this week.The current five justices reached a record-setting milestone Feb. 24 in the number of days they've served together on the state's highest court. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Ted Boehm, Brent Dickson, Robert Rucker, and Frank Sullivan have been together for 3,040 consecutive days, according to the Appellate Clerk's Office.To be clear: They've been together since Justice Rucker joined the court Nov. 19, 1999.The previous record goes back to 1985. Justices Alfred Pivarnik, Dixon...
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Settlement reached in equal pay suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A day before a multi-million dollar class action suit was supposed to go to trial, attorneys reached a settlement in the state employees' equal pay case that is expected to give every plaintiff what they asked for.The class - made up of as many as 15,000 former state employees - wanted compensation for hours they worked between 1973 and 1993 and didn't receive equal pay of fellow workers, who had only worked 37 1/2 hours compared to their 40 hours a...
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COA reverses contempt finding

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order finding a father in contempt of court for not complying with orders stemming from post-dissolution proceedings, ruling the father did comply with an order requiring he update his ex-wife with documents regarding a trust for his children's education. In David L. Bartlemay v. Nancy Witt, f/k/a Nancy Bartlemay, No. 89A04-0802-CV-50, David Bartlemay appealed a 2007 trial court order that he was in contempt of court for violating previous orders following the dissolution...
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Indiana General Assembly back in session

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana General Assembly reconvened today with property tax issues consuming much of the focus of the 2008 short session. Also receiving much attention are issues regarding sex offenders, education, and the environment. Another bill of interest to the legal community is House Bill 1045, which introduces a courthouse preservation advisory commission and courthouse preservation fund, and requires the commission to provide assistance for courthouse related projects. Grandparent visitation rights are dealt with in Senate Bill 48, which allows for a...
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High court grants 4 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted four transfers last week, though one was remanded to the state's Court of Appeals while another came with a significant ruling about community rental restrictions.In taking the cases, justices now have a chance to weigh in on the denial of post-conviction relief regarding a habitual offender enhancement and driving an ATV while drunk on private property.On May 13, the high court granted transfer in State of Indiana v. Adam L. Manuwal, No. 50A05-0703-CR-182, which asks whether the...
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President signs new federal IP law: Legislation considers piracy issues, creates 'copyright czar'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The United States is stepping up to better protect intellectual property. If there was any doubt before, it's official now with a new law signed by President George W. Bush Oct. 13. Known as the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008, or PRO IP for short, the law is designed to strengthen existing copyright laws, create civil forfeiture clauses so equipment believed to be used in an IP crime can be seized, and establish a cabinet-level position...
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COA differs on when 'critical stage' starts

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges agreed that a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of a polygraph test should have been granted by the trial court. But the judges had differing reasons for granting the reversal of the trial court, with the majority deviating from precedent on when the right to counsel begins.In Thomas E. Caraway v. State of Indiana, No. 47A01-0709-CR-416, Thomas Caraway appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to suppress and exclude all evidence of a...
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Court: father not responsible for late payment

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court denial of a father's post-dissolution motion for rule to show cause why his ex-wife shouldn't be held in contempt, and remanded for the court to enter a new order. In John L. Richardson v. Susan E. Hansrote, No. 72A01-0706-CV-288, Richardson appealed the trial court denial, raising three issues: whether the trial court erred when it determined he had a child-support arrearage; whether the error by the court clerk, who mistakenly applied Richardson's child...
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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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