Courts

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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Comments sought on FMLA jury instructions

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The 7th Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions Committee is accepting public comments regarding the proposed Family and Medical Leave Act pattern civil jury instructions for the Circuit Court. The committee welcomes comment before submission to the Circuit Council for approval and promulgation. Congress on Jan. 28 extended FMLA eligibility to include employees who need time off to handle certain qualifying "exigencies" related to certain family members' service or call-up for service in a war, national emergency, or military operation designated by the...
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Transfer granted to confrontation issue

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to five cases Aug. 14, including a case that asks whether a defendant has the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a certificate of analysis. The high court granted transfer to Richard Pendergrass v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0712-CR-588, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals in July affirmed Richard Pendergrass' convictions of child molesting. The appellate court ruled Pendergrass' Sixth Amendment right to confrontation wasn't violated with the admittance of a certificate of analysis...
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Court orders suit against Papa John's to trial

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of a national pizza chain and its employee, finding there were genuine issues of fact as to whether the employee's statement to police was protected by privilege. In Thomas Williams and Sanford Kelsey v. Kelly Eugene Tharp and Papa John's U.S.A. Inc., No. 29A02-0707-CV-625, Thomas Williams and Sanford Kelsey appealed the trial court grant of summary judgment in favor of Papa John's on their claims for defamation, false imprisonment,...
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COA: Priest abuse suit can proceed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals this week declined to take an interlocutory appeal on a case accusing the Archdiocese of Indianapolis of covering up an ex-priest's history of sexual abuse.In denying the case of Archdiocese of Indianapolis, et al. v. John Doe NM, 49A05-0802-CV-00075, the court has given its go ahead for the Marion County civil suit to proceed to trial; it would be the first of 13 against the archdiocese to survive summary judgment. The suit was brought by a...
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Justices take riverboat revenue case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The state's highest court has agreed to hear a case involving $16 million of East Chicago riverboat casino revenues and whether a private business can shield its financial records from the public.The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Aug. 14 in Steve Carter v. East Chicago Second Century, et al., No. 49A02-0708-CV-722. The case concerns the attorney general's request last year for a public accounting of money disbursed to Second Century from the state-licensed riverboat, which eventually became Harrah's.In a March ruling,...
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Court of Appeals rules against FSSA

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's dismissal of an action against the Family and Social Services Administration regarding the denial of Medicaid applications, finding the FSSA relied on an incorrect statute to justify the denial of new evidence supporting a disability claim on the appellate level. In William Curtis, Gary Stewart, and Walter Raines, on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated v. E. Mitchell Roob Jr., as Secretary of Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and Jeff...
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COA: Attorney must wait to collect fees

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's ruling on when an attorney could receive his compensation under a contingency fee agreement, even though the attorney didn't submit a transcript of the bench trial detailing the trial court's findings. In Thomas J. Herr v. Carter Lumber Inc., The Carter Jones Lumber Company, and Brian L. Oaks, No. 79A02-0803-CV-290, before ruling on the issue Thomas Herr was appealing - whether the trial court erred in ordering he receive compensation under a...
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Judges disagrees about jury-verdict reversal

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The chief judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals is calling a majority's decision today a "radical act" in reversing a $45,000 jury verdict in favor of a former Butler University football player who was suspended from the school after being accused of raping a female volleyball player.In Susana Henri v. Stephen Curto, No. 49A02-0709-CV-777, Chief Judge John G. Baker disagreed with his two colleagues - authoring Judge Patricia Riley and Judge Margret Robb, who reversed the Marion County jury decision and...
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COA Judge John T. Sharpnack retires

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
After 17 years on the appellate bench, Judge John T. Sharpnack is retiring today from the Indiana Court of Appeals.Though he's stepping down as a full-time jurist, Judge Sharpnack plans to continue his work as a senior judge starting Monday; he reaches the constitutionally mandated retirement age of 75 May 7.A 3 p.m. retirement ceremony was planned to mark his departure from the court, with Chief Judge John Baker presiding. Judge Sharpnack's family, colleagues, former law clerks, and special guests were...
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Supreme Court record manager retires

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
After spending 22 years as the Indiana Supreme Court's director of information management, John Newman has decided it's time to leave state government to pursue his passion for writing. Newman's last day is July 25. Newman started his career in state government in 1970, taking oral history interviews for the Indiana State Library. He was later named Indiana's state archivist, a position he held until 1986 when he became the director of information management for the Supreme Court.As court records manager,...
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Appellate office clears backlog

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A new shift in the Indiana Appellate Clerk's Office has helped eliminate a backlog that created delays for some files getting to the appropriate court and appearing on the docket.Dealing with a backlog that's been evident for months, Appellate Clerk Kevin Smith started making changes late last year after becoming concerned with the ability to keep up with growing caseloads and intake workloads. The office implemented staff and organizational changes in January that involved hiring new employees, shuffling existing staff, and...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer late last week to three cases to rule on issues of double recovery, evidence obtained through search warrants, and emotional distress. The court granted transfer to Ronald Mayes v. Second Injury Fund, No. 93A02-0702-EX-162, in which Mayes appealed the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board's denial of his petition for compensation from the Second Injury Fund. Mayes argued his settlement with a third-party tortfeasor shouldn't bar his recovery as a matter of law. At issue in the appeal...
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Solvent defendant must pay for interpreter

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A solvent, non-English speaking defendant in a criminal case must pay for a defense interpreter, but the court will continue to provide for proceedings interpreters at the public's expense, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court, upholding a previous decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The high court granted transfer to Jesus Arrieta v. State of Indiana, No. 10S05-0704-CR-139, to determine whether Arrieta was entitled to a court-funded defense interpreter. Arrieta, who did not speak English, was charged with dealing cocaine, a Class...
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Court: Michigan lawyer to stay away for 2 years

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An embattled Michigan attorney is barred for two years from taking any new cases in Hoosier courts, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today. Justices issued a per curiam opinion today in disciplinary action In the Matter of Geoffrey N. Fieger, No. 98S00-0609-DI-340, finding the attorney committed misconduct by making material misrepresentations in a sworn application for temporary admission to St. Joseph Circuit Court in late 2005. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justices Theodore Boehm and Robert Rucker agreed on the two-year...
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New federal chief judge for Southern District

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A new chief judge has taken the leadership reins for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.On Jan. 1, U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton replaced Judge Larry J. McKinney as chief judge, meaning he'll be expected to handle the court's administrative matters and be a chief spokesperson for the court until 2015.During Judge McKinney's seven-year term as chief of the nation's third-busiest District Court, he'd led a court handling 23,000 civil and criminal cases, helped launch an...
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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