Courts

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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Responses for Tinder investiture due April 4

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana State Bar Association members have until April 4 to RSVP to attend the investiture of Judge John D. Tinder as a circuit judge for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The investiture will be at 2:30 p.m. April 11 in the William E. Steckler Ceremonial Courtroom in the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis. A reception at the Columbia Club, 121 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, will immediately follow the ceremony. The ISBA is now...
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Paper wants judge to set aside libel verdict

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A Terre Haute newspaper is asking the judge who presided over a libel trial against the paper to set aside the $1.5 million jury verdict. The Tribune-Star Publishing Company Inc., which produces the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, filed its 39-page brief to support a motion to correct errors Aug. 22 in Sullivan Circuit Court.In July, a jury awarded Clay County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Maynard $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit against the newspaper, Jeff...
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Senator facing health concerns

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Indiana Senate assistant majority floor leader and attorney Sen. David Ford, R-Hartford City, is hospitalized and awaiting news from his doctors regarding his health.Ford, 58, was hospitalized Jan. 15 in Fort Wayne and underwent surgery Jan. 18, the same day he and Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, announced they would postpone town hall meetings scheduled for Jan. 19.A four-term senator, Ford represents Senate District 19, which covers Adams, Allen, Blackford, Grant, and Wells counties. He chairs the Technology Subcommittee of the Senate...
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Supreme Court dismisses moot appeal

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court Feb. 26 granted transfer and dismissed a case involving state officials who violated the law by not following the public bidding process when they attempted to privatize a Fort Wayne development center that housed developmentally disabled adults. In Anita Stuller, et al. v. Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr., et al., No. 02A05-0601-CV-22, the high court dismissed the case as moot "because of events that transpired after the appeal was initiated," according to the order.The development center at issue in the...
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Death penalty film, discussion Thursday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The death penalty is the topic of a film screening and discussion May 22 presented by the Indiana Coalition Acting to Suspend Executions (InCASE), Indiana University School of Law -Indianapolis' Law Students Against Capital Punishment, and the Independent Film Channel. The film, "At the Death House Door," is a personal and intimate look at the death penalty in Texas from the perspective of Carroll Pickett, a pastor who served 15 years as the death house chaplain in a Huntsville prison unit and presided...
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Grant available for Family Court Project

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A one-year grant of up to $40,000 is available to launch a Family Court Project. The grant is an opportunity for county governments to get funding for a project that provides judicial coordination of multiple cases involving the same family. Last year, only two new projects received funding for the 2008 year, so the Indiana Supreme Court had an extra $40,000 to include in the 2009 budget, said Loretta Olesky, Family Court manager. Typically, the grants run on two-year cycles; however,...
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Judge dismisses prisoner suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge in Fort Wayne has dismissed a pro se complaint against a local sheriff and jail officials because it doesn't adequately state a claim to recover for alleged sexual harassment during a weapons strip search.U.S. District Judge Philip Simon ruled in Nathan W. Romine v. Nick Yoder, et al., No. 1:08-CV-036 PS, which involved a suit from an Adams County Law Enforcement Center inmate. Romine said he was sexually harassed at the jail during a strip search for...
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Justices: MySpace use not harassment

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A teenager's use of the social networking site MySpace.com didn't rise to the level of harassment because her expletive-laden postings criticizing her principal about school policy weren't available to everyone online, the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled.In a unanimous ruling late Tuesday afternoon, the state's five justices agreed to reverse a lower court's decision in A.B. v. State of Indiana, No. 67S01-0709-JV-373.While the case presented justices with a chance to explore free speech rights as they pertain to online activity in...
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Judge penalizes no-show juror

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A Lake County criminal court judge took a former juror to task Tuesday for skipping jury duty during a murder trial this spring.Superior Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. found a 20-year-old Cedar Lake resident in contempt of court and sentenced him to three hours in the county jail, as well as ordering him to carry a 24-inch by 24-inch sign saying "I failed to appear for jury duty" from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Monday outside the Crown Point courthouse.That will be a warning...
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Courts can review public school financing

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier courts have the authority to review the state's school financing formula to determine whether Indiana is meeting a constitutional requirement to provide a quality public education for all students, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled May 2.A 2-1 ruling from the COA revives the public education financing case of Joseph Bonner, et al. v. Mitch Daniels, et al., No. 49A02-0702-CV-188, which presents an issue of first impression. Nine public school students and their families from eight different school systems throughout the...
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Justices find ineffective assistance in case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has determined an appellate attorney rendered ineffective assistance in an Evansville kidnapping case that resulted in a police dog being fatally shot 10 years ago.A unanimous court ruled Feb. 27 in Antwain Henley v. State of Indiana, No. 82S05-0701-PC-31, which comes from a Vanderburgh County case at the post-conviction relief stage involving a pro se litigant. The Court of Appeals panel issued a ruling in October 2006, reversing and holding in favor of the defendant Henley, and remanding for a new...
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Court: delayed rape conviction OK

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's rape conviction, finding his due process rights weren't violated when charges were filed in 2005 for a rape that happened nearly 25 years earlier. In Thomas N. Schiro v. State of Indiana, No. 10A01-0701-CR-21, Thomas Schiro appealed his conviction of felony rape, arguing the trial court erred by denying his motion to dismiss the charges brought against him in 2005 for two rapes that occurred in 1980 and by admitting his written sexual...
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Hearing set in Lake County early-voting case

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Special Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider has set a hearing for the consolidated Lake Circuit Court and Lake Superior Court cases involving early-voting sites, according to Indiana Supreme Court spokesperson Kathryn Dolan. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT Oct. 20 in Courtroom 1, 232 Russell St., Hammond. The Indiana Supreme Court appointed Lake Superior Judge Schneider as special judge Thursday to resolve the dispute between the Lake County courts as to whether satellite early-voting sites should be allowed to be...
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Convict fights tooth and nail, loses on the tooth

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A tooth is considered a "bodily member or organ" within the definition of the state's aggravated battery statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled March 7.Deciding a case of first impression in Derrick C. Smith v. State of Indiana, No. 45A03-0708-CR-357, the appellate court ruled that a Lake Superior judge properly determined that enough evidence existed to support Smith's conviction under the state's aggravated battery statute.Incarcerated at the Lake County Jail in August 2006, Smith and another inmate overpowered a jail...
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Court decides 2 disputed land cases

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on two cases today involving disputed tracts of land on lakefront properties and adverse possession in Kosciusko County. In Daisy Farm Limited Partnership v. Michael and Jill Morrolf, No. 43A04-0707-CV-390, the appellate court reversed the trial court judgment in favor of Michael and Jill Morrolf that a disputed tract of land didn't pass to Daisy Farm by virtue of adverse possession. Daisy Farm and its predecessors owned the lot adjoining the Morrolfs' in a neighborhood located...
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Plan: protect educators who discipline students

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wants more legal protection for educators who discipline students to keep order in their schools.A news release issued this morning announced the governor's plans to work with lawmakers in the coming legislative session to pass a law providing legal immunity for those teachers and school staff members who, in good faith, discipline students. He also wants the Indiana Attorney General's Office to use its statutory authority to defend any teacher who becomes the target of unreasonable litigation.The...
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Court: Official can take office once bonded

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Elected public officials who haven't secured bond by the date they are to take office can begin their elected position once they have obtained the bond, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals.At issue in Tom Shetler Sr. and Suzan Nicholson v. Linda K. Durham, No. 82A01-0706-CV-273, is whether Durham can hold office as elected trustee of Knight Township even though she failed to secure bond by her official start date. Durham was elected trustee in November 2006 and met with the incumbent...
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Magistrate named for Southern District

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis attorney is the new magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.Debra McVicker Lynch, of counsel at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, fills the position left empty after Judge William T. Lawrence was elevated to Article III judgeship July 1. Lynch said she is elated and honored that the court expressed its confidence in her to select her as magistrate judge. Although she has enjoyed her time in private practice, she said she's aspired to be a...
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Court can determine when defendant testifies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Defendants have the constitutional right to testify at trial, but they do not have the right to dictate when they take the stand, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 25.At issue in Kevin Book v. State of Indiana, No. 49A05-0707-CR-385, is whether the trial court violated Book's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights when he was allegedly compelled to make a decision whether to testify at a particular time during his trial. Book was accused of smothering to death his girlfriend's 20-month-old...
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ISBA receives more artwork of courthouses

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
Three more donations of artwork depicting Indiana courthouses have been received by the Indiana State Bar Association: the bar associations of Daviess, Lake, and Sullivan counties have donated images of their respective county courthouses. Photos are now on Indiana Lawyer's Web site as part of a slideshow of all 12 works the ISBA has received so far.The ISBA acquired the artwork of Daviess County Courthouse by Ervin R. Clark June 26; it was donated by the Daviess County Bar Association. The painting...
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Comments sought on child support rules

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Domestic Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana is seeking public comment concerning Indiana's Child Support Rules and Guidelines as part of its review process to propose changes to the Indiana Supreme Court. Written comments are due July 3 and may be submitted by an online survey, by fax to (317) 233-3367, or by mail to Indiana Judicial Center c/o the Domestic Relations Committee, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 900, Indianapolis, IN 46204-3564. A public hearing will be conducted...
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  1. 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.

  2. 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;

  3. The story that you have shared is quite interesting and also the information is very helpful. Thanks for sharing the article. For more info: http://www.treasurecoastbailbonds.com/

  4. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  5. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

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