Courts

Court officials chosen for juvenile justice program

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's largest county has been chosen to join six other states in a series of leadership-development workshops to study juvenile justice reform nationally.On May 13, the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation selected Marion Superior Juvenile Magistrate Gary Chavers and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Chris Ball to participate in the program because of their work recently on juvenile detention alternatives. For the past two years, the county has been Indiana's only site participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI), which has...
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D.C. attorney argues voter I.D. case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
One of the most vocal civil liberties advocates battling Indiana's voter identification law won't make his pitch to the Supreme Court of the United States this week.When the nation's highest court hears the much-anticipated arguments Wednesday morning, Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher will argue for the state attorney general's office. But Ken Falk, who heads the legal department of American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, won't face the justices, nor will Indianapolis attorney William Groth, who represents the plaintiff, the Indiana...
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Court: Search invalid, statements admissible

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant did not have the ability to consent to a police search of the car he was riding in because the driver's consent to the search was invalid, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday. The court also ruled the defendant's recorded statements made in the back of a police cruiser were voluntary and admissible at his trial. In Sergio Campos v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0804-CR-199, Sergio Campos was the passenger in a car driven by Cesar Santiago-Armendariz, which was stopped...
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Overstreet granted stay of execution

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The man who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a Franklin College student has been granted a motion for a stay of execution. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon of the South Bend Division issued the order granting Michael Dean Overstreet's stay of execution Monday. Overstreet, who was sentenced to death in 2000 for killing Kelly Eckart, filed the motion in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division May 9. In the motion, Michael Dean Overstreet v....
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Children's rights topic of ACLU discussion

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
"Children's rights: Who's responsible?" will be the subject of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's next First Wednesday discussion. This is the final First Wednesday discussion of the spring 2008 series.The discussion will be from noon to 12:50 p.m. May 7 at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. Panelists include Jackie Bowie-Suess, attorney for the ACLU of Indiana; Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division Judge Marilyn Moores; and Cindy Booth, executive director of Child Advocates.Indiana Lawyer has a...
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End of parental rights not based on disability

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the involuntary termination of a couple's rights to their children, ruling the final order was valid even without the presiding magistrate judge's signature, and the fact the mother has a hearing disability was not a reason why the mother's parental rights were ended. In R.W. Sr. (father) and D.B.W. (mother) v. Marion County Dept. of Child Services, et al., No. 49A04-0801-JV-64, married parents R.W. Sr. and D.B.W. challenged the court's decision to terminate their parental rights...
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Indy IP firm loses Monroe publicity rights case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge's decision in California this week represents a significant legal loss for an Indianapolis intellectual property firm relating to the publicity rights of Marilyn Monroe.U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled Monday that Marilyn Monroe LLC and Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide don't own rights of publicity, and that a studio and licensing company have the right to market and license images of the famous actress.The judge's action reversed a ruling from...
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COA: Date-rape drug made victim 'unaware'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today tackled the meaning of "unaware" in the state's statute addressing rape in regards to the victim being under the influence of a known date-rape drug. In Herman Filice v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0707-CR-591, Chief Judge John Baker authored the unanimous opinion that required the court for the first time to address the various legal issues surrounding the defendant's sexual contact with a woman who had Rohypnol in her system during the contact. Filice met the...
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Sommer Barnard merging with Ohio firm

January 1, 2008
Scott Olson
The 64 partners of Sommer Barnard unanimously voted today to approve the firm's merger with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister. The vote means Taft Stettinius & Hollister will absorb Sommer Barnard on May 1, meaning Indianapolis will lose one of its largest law firms. Sommer Barnard was founded in 1969 and has 103 lawyers, making it the seventh-largest in the city, according to Indianapolis Business Journal statistics. Taft Stettinius, whose roots date to 1885, has 200 lawyers in Cincinnati and additional...
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Ball State shooting trial starts Tuesday

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An excessive force and wrongful death trial starts in federal court Tuesday involving a Ball State police officer's shooting of a college student about four years ago.Jury selection begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis in McKinney v. Duplain. The 21-year-old Michael McKinney was shot four times by campus officer Robert Duplain, who was responding to a report of a stranger pounding on the door of a house early on Nov. 8, 2003. Tests later showed that McKinney had a...
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COA rules on stipulation requirement

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Prosecutors must be allowed to present their cases as they see fit and not be forced into agreements, the Indiana Court of Appeals confirmed today.In State of Indiana v. Harold Lewis, No. 72A05-0610-CR-564, the three-judge panel unanimously reversed and remanded the case to Scott Superior Judge Nicholas South. The trial judge had determined in 2006 to grant the defendant's motion prohibiting prosecutors from mentioning the death of the man who Lewis had shot. He was being tried on a felony charge of...
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Appeals court: Civil RICO claims not preempted

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act does not preempt a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In an issue of first impression, the court was asked to decide in AGS Capital Corp., Inc., et al. v. Product Action International, LLC, No. 49A02-0702-CV-176, whether civil provisions for treble damages based on certain criminal acts are covered by the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act (IUTSA). AGS Capital Corp., which owned Fast Tek Group and Superior Metal Technologies,...
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Court: punitive penalty not allowed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A juvenile court erred when it found a juvenile in civil contempt of court and imposed an additional term of confinement as a result, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. In K.L.N. v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0708-JV-411, K.L.N., a juvenile, had appealed the juvenile court's decision to impose an additional term of confinement against him for being found in contempt of court. K.L.N. was confined to a secure facility for 120 days and often did not follow the rules. As...
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Enhancement not allowed for attempted crimes

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a sentence enhancement for a man convicted of attempted rape. The enhancement was for being a repeat sexual offender, but attempted rape is not a crime listed under the repeat sex offender statute that allows for the enhancement. In William E. Wright v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0708-PC-678, the Court of Appeals agreed with Wright that his appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in regards to challenging the sentence enhancement and that Wright's petition for post-conviction relief should...
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Court mulls 'vicarious exhaustion' in jail suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A court ruling issued Monday by a federal judge in Indianapolis touches on a legal nuance that's yet to be addressed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and is also a relatively new argument for Indiana.In the jail-condition prisoner suit of Trevor Richardson v. Monroe County Sheriff, et al., No. 1:08-cv-0174 U.S., Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, denied a motion from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to dismiss the suit and...
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U.S. allowed to join Indy case arguments

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the federal government to have a voice in arguments of an Indiana case later this month, testing the competency standards for pro se litigants in criminal cases.On March 14, justices of the nation's highest court granted a motion from the U.S. Solicitor General to participate in arguments as amicus curiae in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, 07-208, set for 10 a.m. March 26.At issue is what the Sixth Amendment dictates when determining whether someone found competent...
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Court: 'mistakes' in judge's sentence

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the sentence of man convicted of defrauding Medicaid because the District Court judge's sentencing transcript was "laced with apparent mistakes and misunderstandings." In United States of America v. William J. Higdon, No. 07-3951, William Higdon appealed his 60-month sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard Young of the Southern District, Evansville Division. Higdon pleaded guilty to defrauding the Indiana Medicaid program, and the judge and parties agreed the sentencing guideline was 18 to 24 months....
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Court: Student complaints are absolute privilege

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court held complaints made by current students under a university's anti-harassment policy are protected by absolute privilege.The Supreme Court granted transfer to Virginia Hartman and Suzanne Swinehart v. Dr. Gabe Keri, No. 02S03-0706-CV-233, to determine whether Hartman and Swinehart's statements alleging sexual harassment against professor Keri were granted absolute privilege or qualified privilege. Keri was a professor in the education department at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW), and Hartman and Swinehart...
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COA: Stop lacked reasonable suspicion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a defendant's drug conviction because the traffic stop that led to his arrest was unconstitutional; the police officer who pulled the car over didn't have reasonable suspicion there was criminal activity going on in the car. Damen Holly appealed his conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor in Damen Holly v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0711-CR-930. Holly was pulled over by a police officer after the officer ran a license plate check of...
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COA adjusts sentence for child molestation

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's convictions of child molestation and child exploitation, but it adjusted his sentence after finding a mathematical error by the trial court. In Roy Bennett v. State of Indiana, No. 79A05-0705-CR-240, Bennett appealed his convictions and sentence for two counts of Class D felony child exploitation and three counts of Class C felony child molestation. Bennett's adopted daughter accused him of sexually molesting her and police searched Bennett's home, finding several computer discs containing pornographic...
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BREAKING: Lawrence confirmed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
U.S. Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence in Indianapolis has been confirmed as the newest federal judge on the Southern District of Indiana.Just about 4 p.m., the U.S. Senate took a break from discussion on wiretapping to move on to judicial nominations. They held a roll call vote at 4:35 p.m. They voted 97-0 at 5 p.m. to confirm Magistrate Lawrence to the judgeship, meaning he'll be the Southern District's first ever magistrate to be elevated to the constitutionally established Article III...
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Moving forward on merit selection: Judiciary, bar association support statewide change

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An effort that began more than 50 years ago is being resurrected and could eventually reshape how judges are selected throughout Indiana. Stars are aligning for a multi-faceted thrust toward merit selection and retention for all trial judges statewide, an endeavor that's been brewing behind the scenes for years but is now gaining more steam from the state's judiciary and largest bar associations. While no guarantee exists that lawmakers would even consider such a change, key players supporting the concept in...
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Firefighters allege reverse discrimination

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A reverse discrimination suit filed Tuesday in federal court against the Indianapolis Fire Department is the second bias claim made against the city in a year.The newest suit in the Southern District names 20 white firefighters who allege they were passed over for promotions to lieutenant and captain in favor of less-qualified black candidates. The case is Glen Scott, et al. v. City of Indianapolis, et al.Brought by 19 men and a woman, the suit names the city and Indianapolis Fire...
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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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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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