Courts

Chief Justice on panel to study tax assessing, local government

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard will co-chair a commission designed to find long-term solutions to the state's property tax crisis, the governor announced today.Along with former Gov. Joe Kernan, the chief justice will lead the Commission on Local Government Reform beginning in early August. One of the questions the commission will look at is whether the township form of government should be abolished.Specifically, questions before the commission will be:- What local government offices might be eliminated to achieve efficiencies and...
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Governor names new Lake, Marion judges

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Gov. Mitch Daniels today chose a Gary attorney and legal counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources director for a pair of judicial openings in Lake and Marion counties.Gary attorney Calvin Hawkins will take over as Lake Superior judge in September, replacing Judge Robert A. Pete who died in March. Admitted to the Indiana bar in 1971, Hawkins has concentrated his practice in civil and church litigation, as well as bankruptcy, probate, and family law. He earned his law degree...
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Court rules on corporate insurance policy issues

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
One of the first things you'll notice about an Indiana Court of Appeals decision issued today is the number of attorneys and parties on the case.The first four pages of the 29-page ruling in Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al. v. U.S. Filter Corp., list the parties and respective attorneys. Those include 13 appellant insurance companies and organizations, two appellees-plaintiffs, and three amici curiae parties from Indianapolis; Washington, D.C.; New York, Chicago; and parts of Michigan.Issues addressed in this case...
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Fort Wayne is first for 'Courts in Classroom' re-enactment

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court will take its educational Courts in the Classroom program on the road for the first time this fall as it celebrates its six-year anniversary.A re-enactment of a historic U.S. Supreme Court case arising out the Fort Wayne area will be the first on the road event Oct. 17 and 18 at the Lincoln Museum. That case, Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. 2 (1866), involved civilians and military tribunals, and the lead defendant, Lambdin Milligan, was from that...
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Justices deny previously granted transfer

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Despite a previous decision to accept a case, the Indiana Supreme Court has decided to revoke its previous order to consider whether Indiana or Illinois law should apply to a dram shop suit.Now, a Court of Appeals decision from March will stand, meaning Indiana law applies to the case.Justices this week vacated its July decision to accept transfer in Rebecca Shaw, Individually, and for the Estate of Kayla Nichole Hughes, and Stephen Hughes v. LDC Enterprises d/b/a I&I Steakhouse, et al., in...
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High court asked to intervene in recount

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court is being asked to toss out a trial judge's order for a Terre Haute mayoral race recount because the petitioner failed to include the winner's middle initial.Attorney James Bopp Jr. with Terre Haute law firm Bopp Coleson & Bostrom filed an emergency request Thursday afternoon for the justices to intervene in the recount challenge, contending that Vigo Circuit Judge David Bolk didn't have jurisdiction to order a recount from the Nov. 6 election. Democratic Mayor Kevin Burke...
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Indiana Supreme Court denies review of Kokomo case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Within hours of hearing oral arguments, the Indiana Supreme Court decided not to grant transfer to review the case involving a Kokomo fire captain ;s demotion to firefighter because of comments made from outside the department. The appeals court had ruled the demotion did not constitute a violation of his First Amendment free-speech rights.The court had not released a decision by early this afternoon, but the City of Kokomo had posted a press release saying the justices did not agree to...
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Interviews for COA spot start today

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Judicial Nominating Commission has started interviewing for a future opening on the Indiana Court of Appeals.This afternoon, the seven-member commission began interviewing eight candidates for the seat currently occupied by Judge Patrick D. Sullivan, who retires in August. Interviews are scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. and will resume with another 12 interviews Tuesday morning.Candidates being interviewed today are Susan E. Boatright, juvenile division supervisor at the Marion County Public Defender Agency; Briane M. House with ProLiance Energy; Marion Superior...
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Court reverses auto theft conviction

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a conviction of auto theft and remanded the case to the trial court, citing insufficient evidence to prove the defendant had exclusive possession of the vehicle from the time of the theft until police saw him in the stolen car. In Steven Shelby v. State of Indiana, 49A05-0704-CR-202, Shelby appealed his conviction and sentence of auto theft, a Class D felony, and the trial court's finding him to be a habitual offender. On Nov. 7,2006,...
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Dog attack justifies battery charge

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Commanding an animal to attack a person can justify an aggravated battery charge under Indiana statute, ruled the Court of Appeals today. In Shaquita Gilbert v. State of Indiana, 49A02-0606-CR-448, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gilbert's conviction for aggravated battery, a Class B felony under Indiana Code 35-42-2-1.5. Gilbert appealed, saying there is insufficient evidence showing she caused the injuries that brought on the aggravated battery conviction. Gilbert commanded a pit bull in the home where she lived to attack Veronica McAtee....
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COA semifinalists interview Wednesday

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Seven semifinalists go before the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission Wednesday in their quest for a seat on the state's second highest appellate court.Facing second interviews, those judges and attorneys will focus their thoughts on what they consider their two finest career accomplishments and what two items need most improving at the Indiana Court of Appeals.The interviews - which are open to the public - will be in the Statehouse, Room 319, which is near the Indiana Supreme Court's courtroom on the...
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First interviews done for COA opening

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
They came to the capitol building in Indianapolis from across the state, facing a barrage of questions about why they want to be an appellate court judge.Seven will return for a second round next month.The Judicial Nominating Commission conducted its first round of interviews Tuesday for a seat on the state's second highest appeals court, an opening that will be created by Judge John T. Sharpnack's retirement in May 2008. The seven semi-finalists, selected after the daylong session of interviews and...
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High court affirms trial court in murder case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A life-without-parole sentence is appropriate for the Elkhart County teen who pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder his girlfriend's mom, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The unanimous decision in Spenser A. Krempetz v. State of Indiana, No. 20S00-0607-CR-270, came down today and affirmed the ruling by Elkhart Circuit Judge Terry Shewmaker.In August 2005, 18-year old Krempetz conspired with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Stone and a mutual friend to "get rid of" Stone's mom because Stone was annoyed that her mother, Barbara Jo...
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Potential COA judges: Apply now

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Applications are now being accepted for the second opening on the Indiana Court of Appeals in less than a year.Judge John T. Sharpnack is stepping down May 3, 2008, because of mandatory retirement, and his successor has until 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to apply for the upcoming vacancy.The seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, chaired by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, will conduct first public interviews with applicants Nov. 12 and 13 in Indianapolis, followed by second interviews Dec. 12. The commission...
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COA named as defendant in federal lawsuit

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a conviction for Class C felony nonsupport of a dependant, despite the court being named as a defendant in a federal suit filed by the disgruntled appellant-defendant.In Christopher J. Stephens v. State of Indiana, 20A05-0702-CR-95, Stephens appealed his felony conviction of nonsupport of his child, as well as issues that should have been challenged during his child support proceedings or trial on the matter. Unhappy with the results of his child support order and conviction,...
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Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter summary being questioned

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A case summary printed in The Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter earlier this year is at issue in a Lake County courtroom, where a judge is considering whether the publisher should be held in contempt for writing about a school negligence case three months after the verdict.The April edition of the monthly publication - published in Indiana since February 2000 - included an outline of a case involving the family of Neal Boyd IV, who had sued Gary Community Schools for not protecting...
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COA affirms warrantless entry

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court decision to deny a defendant's motion to suppress his arrest and charges, ruling the defendant's behavior justified the police officers to enter his home without a warrant. In William McDermott v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0609-CR-755, McDermott brought an interlocutory appeal of the trial court order denying his motion to suppress his arrest and charges stemming from that. McDermott argued the police officers who entered his home were not justified and did so without...
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High court rules on client-attorney relationship

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court today ruled on a case involving an attorney-client relationship, overturning the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the attorney. In Ronald D. Liggett, d/b/a Liggett Construction Company v. Dean A. and Elisabeth Young, No. 38S0-0703-CV-80, Liggett appealed the trial court ruling in a contract dispute with the Youngs. At the time the Youngs hired Liggett to build their home, Dean Young worked as attorney for Liggett on an unrelated matter. Liggett initiated a third-party complaint...
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COA reverses predator's lifetime registration

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals upheld a defendant's convictions and sentence for multiple sexual offenses but reversed the trial court's determination he is a sexually violent predator requiring lifetime registration, citing the statute that was in place during the time the crime happened should dictate the defendant's predator status. In Anthony Thompson v. State of Indiana, 03A01-0610-CR-430, Thompson appealed his convictions and sentence of 63 years for sexual offenses against the victim, as well as his status as a lifetime sexually violent predator....
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Judge: arresting authority gone without oath

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Indiana Attorney General's Office plan to appeal a judge's ruling Tuesday that held Indianapolis officers don't have arresting authority because they didn't retain their sworn status following a police merger at the start of the year.Marion Superior Judge Rueben Hill decided that the January drunk driving arrest of Cheryl Oddi-Smith was illegal because the arresting officer was not sworn in after the Jan. 1 merger between the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police...
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Court rules nurse pay plan proper

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals ruled today Indiana's restructured pay plan for nurses was rational and proper, reversing the judgment of the trial court. In Madison State Hospital, Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, and State Personnel Department V. Karen L. Ferguson, 09A04-0703-CV-259, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's award of relief to Karen Ferguson. Ferguson, a Nurse Supervisor 5 at Madison State Hospital, and six other nurse supervisors, filed separate complaints with the State Employee Appeals Commission, arguing the 2000...
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IJA elects new president

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Felts was elected president of the Indiana Judges Association earlier this month. Judge Felts, along with Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, will serve as spokespersons for Indiana's judges. Judge Felts' goals for his term include continuing the association's efforts to modify and upgrade the judicial pension and benefits by aligning the 1977 and 1985 judicial pension plans and including magistrates under the plan. Currently, magistrates receive benefits separately through the Public Employees Retirement Fund. Legislative...
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High court revises burglary sentence

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court reduced a burglar's sentence, finding his crime didn't justify the 40-year sentence imposed by the trial court. At issue in Steven Hollin v. State of Indiana, No. 69S01-0705-CR-188, is whether the trial court properly sentenced Hollin for his conviction of conspiracy to commit burglary and being a habitual offender.Hollin and a friend knocked on doors in Ripley County to determine if residents were home. If the home appeared empty, they planned to rob the house. Hollin and...
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COA affirms Vectren, Citizens lack of standing

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a breach-of-contract complaint filed by Vectren Energy and Citizens By-products Coal Co. against Executive Risk Specialty Insurance, finding the two companies never had standing to file the complaint because they are trying to fix alleged wrongdoings done to another company, rather than themselves.In Vectren Energy Marketing & Service, Inc., et al. v. Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Co., ProLiance Energy, LLC, et al., 82A05-0702-CV-115, Vectren and Citizens appealed the trial court's order granting Executive...
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Senate confirms Von Bokkelen for U.S. District judgeship

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A federal prosecutor in northern Indiana will be the newest member of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Hammond.The full U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed U.S. Attorney Joseph Van Bokkelen's appointment Thursday, meaning he will succeed retiring Judge Rudy Lozano who is taking senior status.President George W. Bush, who nominated the veteran trial lawyer, still needs to sign Van Bokkelen's appointment, which he could do after Judge Lozano steps down after July 10. Van Bokkelen would be sworn in...
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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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