Courts

Settlement ends bitter battle over Mel Simon estate

December 12, 2012
Cory Schouten
A bitter battle over the $2 billion estate of the late shopping mall tycoon Melvin Simon has ended with a confidential settlement.
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Bankruptcy judge warns of impact of ‘fiscal cliff’

December 12, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Chief Judge James K. Coachys in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana sent a memo to the Indiana State Bar Association Wednesday explaining how budget cuts and the potential “fiscal cliff” have affected the court.
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Housing group sues Buckingham over apartment accessibility

December 11, 2012
Scott Olson
A not-for-profit fair housing group is suing Indianapolis-based Buckingham Cos., claiming the apartment developer has ignored government rules requiring accommodations for people with physical disabilities.
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Justices decline to take 12 cases

December 11, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court accepted none of the 12 cases before it on transfer request last week.
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Court reverses felony convictions stemming from domestic incident

December 11, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The state didn’t provide sufficient evidence to support convictions of Class D felony strangulation and domestic battery, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday. The court did order the domestic battery conviction entered as a Class A misdemeanor.
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Judges reverse teen’s conspiracy to commit murder conviction

December 11, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed Paul Henry Gingerich’s conviction of Class A felony conspiracy to commit murder, finding the Kosciusko juvenile court abused its discretion in denying the then-12-year-old’s request for a continuance of a waiver hearing.
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Justices deny Bisard’s blood evidence appeal

December 11, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court let stand a ruling by the Court of Appeals allowing blood test results to be admitted in the drunken driving fatality trial of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer David Bisard.
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Company’s offer to replace driveway an enforceable agreement

December 10, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a small claims judgment in favor of a concrete company regarding whether the company had to follow through on replacing a driveway for a customer who was unhappy with the work a year later.
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Failure to report abuse charges to proceed against athletic director

December 10, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of LaPorte Community School Corp.’s athletic director Edward Gilliland’s attempt to dismiss two counts of misdemeanor failure to report child abuse filed against him. The charges stem from the conduct of LaPorte High School’s junior volleyball coach Robert Ashcraft.
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David, Rush appointed as liaisons for juvenile program

December 10, 2012
IL Staff
Chief Justice Brent Dickson has appointed Justices Steven David and Loretta H. Rush to serve as the Indiana Supreme Court’s liaison representatives to the Court Improvement Program executive committee.
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Indiana likely to be involved in gay marriage cases before SCOTUS

December 10, 2012
IL Staff
Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office announced late Friday that Indiana will likely participate in some way in the California case involving the definition of marriage that the U.S. Supreme Court accepted Dec. 7.
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COA rules it doesn’t have jurisdiction over online comment appeal

December 10, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals issued a 20-page order Dec. 7 outlining why Judges Edward Najam and Elaine Brown dismissed The Indianapolis Star’s latest appeal against having to release the name of an online commenter to the plaintiff in a lawsuit.
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COA overturns conviction, ruling statements about age not relevant for treatment

December 7, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A Marion County man had his conviction overturned after the Indiana Court of Appeals found a social worker’s statements about his age were hearsay because they were not made specifically for a medical purpose.
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COA: Admitted evidence of 20-year-old crimes requires reversal

December 7, 2012
Dave Stafford
A civil judgment in favor of a woman who claimed her ex-husband battered her and forged her name on a quitclaim deed was vacated Friday. A Court of Appeals panel ruled that evidence of the ex-husband’s criminal convictions from the 1980s were prima facie error.
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Majority affirms trial court in failed lease suit

December 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of a leasing company on a suit brought by the homeowners after the lessees failed to pay their rent.
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COA splits over reversing possession conviction

December 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Court of Appeals upheld a man’s possession of marijuana conviction that stemmed from a 911 call. Dissenting Judge James Kirsch doesn’t believe that the providing of a name by a 911 caller removes this case from the category of an anonymous caller, thus the call doesn’t give police enough evidence to stop the car the defendant was in.
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Judge moves venue for trial of IMPD officer

December 7, 2012
IL Staff
Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins has ordered the trial for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer David Bisard moved from the Indianapolis media market because of publicity surrounding the fatal accident involving the officer in 2010.
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Insurer doesn’t have to cover cleanup of California sites

December 6, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on California law and a case from 2006, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that an insurer of former film-processing sites has no obligation to indemnify Thomson Inc. for the remediations of three California locations.
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COA rules against longtime shooting range owner

December 6, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A Marshall Circuit judge erred in granting partial summary judgment in favor of a shooting range owner on his neighbors’ claims of nuisance, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday. The appellate judges found a statute cited by the trial court did not apply to the owner.
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7th Circuit upholds $3M restitution order for copper theft

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s argument that the court should go against its precedent that restitution is not a criminal penalty and that a recent U.S. Supreme Court holding means the jury should determine the amount of restitution he should pay for his role in copper theft.
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Judges affirm 911 recording properly admitted as evidence

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Court of Appeals held a 911 recording that involves statements by a caller that were relayed from a victim are admissible where the victim had personal knowledge of the underlying incident but the caller did not.
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COA not persuaded by defendant’s claims on appeal

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Bret Lee Sisson’s felony convictions of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, finding no abuse of discretion or fundamental error during his trial.
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Refusal to give jury instruction not harmless error

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court’s error in refusing to give a defendant’s tendered self-defense and resistance of unlawful force instructions during his trial was not harmless and requires the man’s conviction of Class D felony resisting law enforcement be overturned, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Mother’s consent to adoption not required

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by the Wabash Circuit Court to deny a father and his wife’s petition to allow his wife to adopt his minor child, finding the biological mother’s consent is not required.
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Court split over valid ID requirement for name change

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday that the trial court erred when it required a valid driver’s license or state identification card as a prerequisite to grant a petition for a name change under Indiana Code 34-28-2, but split over whether an elderly man can change his name because he’s never had a valid state-issued ID.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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