Courts

Prior misconduct negates self-defense claim

March 8, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Evidence of a defendant's prior alleged domestic violence incidents against his ex-wife shouldn't have been admitted to explain the ex-wife's animosity toward him, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. However, the evidence was admissible because it was relevant to prove the ex-husband's motive to commit the domestic violence he was charged with in the instant case.
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SCOTUS declines death row inmate's appeal

March 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court has declined to accept a death row inmate's case, leaving intact an Indiana judge's ruling that OK'd a federal prison policy banning face-to-face interviews with reporters.
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Justice ponders importance of party-line vote

March 5, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana Supreme Court justices considered the constitutionality of the state's voter ID law this week, one jurist wondered how much the legislative process might factor into the court's analysis of whether a statute is constitutional.
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Justices disagree about evidence issue

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard didn't agree with his colleagues' decision that a defendant couldn't introduce evidence to dispute the judgment of an injured plaintiff's medical providers in choosing certain treatment.
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Appellate ruling addresses priority rights

March 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
In reversing summary judgment for a home loan company on its complaint for strict foreclosure, the Indiana Court of Appeals specifically adopted the reasoning set forth in a federal decision involving priority rights on liens.
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BREAKING: Senate panel OKs Johnsen

March 4, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Dawn Johnsen, nominated to be a key legal advisor for the president, was approved 12-7 along party lines by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Also, two of the three Indiana judicial nominees for the federal bench have gotten a green light from the committee.
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Judge certifies sex offender's class-action suit

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has certified a convicted sex offender's suit against the Indiana Department of Correction as a class action. The plaintiff claims registrants have no procedure to correct errors on the sex and violent offender registry.
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Court hears state voter ID case

March 4, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday morning sharply questioned attorneys about the state's five-year-old voter identification law, debating whether the requirements impose an unconstitutional burden on some voters who can't obtain the necessary photo ID.
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Judges find search of car for gun not justified

March 4, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress evidence of drugs found in his car during a search, but one judge believed the man's cooperation and respect toward the police officer shouldn't factor into their decision making.
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Family courts for pro se parents

March 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While family courts have been around in Indiana for the last decade, the counties that have them continue to make changes to improve access to justice to all litigants who are in the system.
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Lawmakers move court-funding bills

March 3, 2010
In the last days of the legislative session, lawmakers addressed funding proposals in HB 1154 on converting Marion County commissioners into magistrates and using a $35 fee on traffic infractions to pay for this; SB 307 that would allow a $50 fee on Bartholomew County traffic infractions to pay for a new Superior Court there; and SB 399 on capping traffic violation fines statewide.
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Legislature, courts navigate uncertainty about registry laws

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawmakers are revising state law following the confusion created by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year, which involves how convicted sex offenders can be removed from a statewide registry if they believe registration wasn't required at the time of their conviction.
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DTCI: An updated to Employment Non-discriminaiton Act

March 3, 2010
Takeia Johnson, Amy S.More

Mistake invalidates termination of dad's rights

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A father's consent to voluntarily terminate his parental rights so his sister could adopt his daughter was invalidated by misrepresentations made by a family case manager for the Department of Child Services. As such, the father's petition to set aside the judgment should have been granted, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Decision resolves conflicting appellate rulings

March 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
An offense of attempted dissemination of matter harmful to minors can be committed when a defendant attempts to transmit prohibited matter by the Internet to an adult police detective posing as a minor, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
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Appellate court upholds guardian appointment

March 2, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the appointment of a third-party guardian for an incompetent adult because a disinterested person may hopefully prevent unnecessary disputes caused by mistrust between the woman's children and husband.
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Justice honored for commitment to diversity

March 2, 2010
IL Staff
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. will be honored with an American Bar Association Section of Litigation's 2010 Diversity Leadership Award next month. The award honors those who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting diversity in the legal profession.
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Juvenile documentary series wins award

March 1, 2010
IL Staff
The "Lake County Juvenile Justice" documentaries filmed by an Indiana production company will receive this year's Gracie Allen Award for outstanding TV series.
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COA: Consent prevented constitutional violations

March 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of two defendants' motion to suppress evidence even though it wasn't reasonable under the Indiana Constitution because one of the men gave his consent to search the bag which held drugs.
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High court grants 6 transfers

March 1, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer today to decide whether casinos can ban card counters. The high court also granted transfer to five cases Thursday, including a case of first impression regarding post-retirement health-insurance premiums.
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Lawmakers revising sex-offender registry rules

February 26, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawmakers are revising state law following the confusion created by an Indiana Supreme Court ruling last year relating to how convicted sex offenders can be removed from a statewide registry if they believe registration wasn't required at the time of their conviction.
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Judge dismisses soldiers' toxic exposure suit

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge has dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction a suit brought by soldiers who were exposed while in Iraq to a toxic chemical known to increase the risk of developing cancer.
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Judges find stop violated Fourth Amendment

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a defendant's stop by police and subsequent search of a wheelbarrow he was pushing - which led to convictions of burglary and theft - violated the man's Fourth Amendment rights. The Circuit Court ordered the defendant's petition for habeas corpus be granted.
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COA: Commissioners couldn't dissolve district

February 26, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Brown County Commissioners had no authority to enact an ordinance to attempt to dissolve a recently created fire district, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA: inequity in grandparent visitation act

February 25, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals discovered an inequity in the Grandparent Visitation Act due to the lack of biological relationships between the parties in an adoption petition.
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