Courts

IPBC exec director's last day Friday

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
Friday will be Monica Fennell's last day as executive director of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission - at least until she returns next August. Fennell will be in Washington, D.C., for a one-year fellowship with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Her replacement for a one-year fellowship of her own is Trischa Zorn-Hudson.Zorn-Hudson has already been working with Fennell, and her first full day will be July 23. "I know that the Pro Bono Commission...
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Amici briefs support Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Eleven parties have submitted amici briefs in support of Indiana's voter identification law, which goes before the Supreme Court of the United States in January.Parties had a Monday deadline to submit briefs in the pair of cases Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25), which the nation's high court will hear arguments on Jan. 9. Both challenge the law that took effect July 2005 and has been upheld by the 7th Circuit Court of...
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Tax Court sets arguments next month

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court will hear arguments next month on a suit challenging the constitutionality of the state's property tax assessment system.Arguments are set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in Mel Goldstein, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., 49T10-0709-TA-00045. Indianapolis attorney John Price filed the suit earlier this month on behalf of 11 residents from around the state and seven citizens' organizations pushing for tax reform. The suit includes 14 counts relating directly to Marion County...
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Court rules in favor of municipal utilities

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The state's eminent domain statute allows Indiana municipalities to acquire operations of privately owned water and sewer utilities that serve recently annexed portions of that community, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.The split 3-2 decision came in Utility Center, Inc., d/b/a Aquasource v. City of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 02S04-0706-CV-248.This case from Allen Circuit Judge Thomas Felts involves Fort Wayne's initiation of condemnation proceedings against a company operating a competing public water utility in and around the city, which also owns its...
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Commission studies mental illness, death penalty

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana could be the first state to bar the mentally ill from being executed, two recognized legal experts told a legislative commission Friday.Of course, doing so would mean first agreeing on a definition for what "mentally ill" entails.That was the topic discussed during the first legislative meeting of the Bowser Commission, the legislative interim study committee designed to study mental illness as it relates to the death penalty. The group was formed in recognition of the late Sen. Anita Bowser, D-Michigan...
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Indiana's GAL/CASA program receives $49,000

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A national grant will help pay for an Indiana Supreme Court program serving neglected and abused children whose families are in the court system.The state's highest court announced Wednesday that the Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate (GAL/CASA) Program is receiving $49,000 from the National CASA Association.Formed in 1990, the state court's program was the first in the nation last year to be certified for meeting standards. It also offers training and support for about 65 counties across the state -...
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Misconduct not inappropriate enough to alter trial outcome

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A prosecutor ;s request to call opposing defense counsel to the stand during a Pike County trial may have been inappropriate, but the Indiana Court of Appeals has determined it didn ;t rise to the level of misconduct that would have impacted the outcome.The appellate panel issued its decision today in Joshua J. Nolan v. State, which stems from a 2005 case leading to Nolan ;s conviction for criminal deviate conduct and residential entry. He raised three issues on appeal, but...
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High court rules on estate issue

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled on a matter of first impression today regarding the disposition of an entire estate during life or death. In the Matter of the Guardianship of E.N., Adult,No. 88S01-0703-CV-121, deals with the issue of whether the guardianship estate planning statute authorizes dispositions of a protected person's entire estate, not just "excess" assets, as defined in the statute. In this case, E.N. married and had two children - Shirley and Marvin. He executed a will in 1983 and...
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Supreme Court grants 3 transfers

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer in three cases - David Michael Green v. State of Indiana; Beth Palmer Kopczynski and Alisha Palmer v. David B. and Peggy L. Barger; and Richard U. and Delores J. Pflanz v. Merrill Foster, et al. In Green v. State, 45A05-0612-CR-708, Green appealed his conviction and sentence for two counts of felony murder, claiming his victim's death was out of self-defense and an accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed the state presented sufficient evidence to...
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Court to hear Carmel annexation arguments

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals hears arguments Tuesday in the second Carmel annexation case in the state's appellate courts in a year.Arguments begin at 1 p.m. in City of Carmel v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory Landowners, 29A04-0510-CV-578.The court had planned to consider the case a year ago, but delayed arguments until the Indiana Supreme Court could make a decision on a similar case also stemming from Carmel. That happened June 27 with the potentially landmark decision in City of Carmel,...
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Circuit Court rules against deputy town marshal

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
A Fort Wayne couple will get their day in court after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined the Orland deputy town marshal violated the couple's constitutional rights during an altercation at a towing lot three years ago.In Ryan L. Belcher and Daraina Gleason v. Vaughn Norton and Town of Orland, the court ruled 2-1 Wednesday that the case shouldn't have been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann in Fort Wayne. The district judge had ruled that Norton, the town's deputy...
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Homeowners must follow health codes

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
Owners of houses or mobile homes they construct themselves still must follow Indiana health codes, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The appellate court overturned a trial court's ruling that a section of Indiana code exempted certain homeowners from obtaining a permit for septic systems. At issue in Washington County Health Department and Mike Haddon v. Jeff and Robin White, No. 88A04-0703-CV-126, is whether the Whites' mobile home, which had a discharge pipe running from the bottom of it to the...
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School board to settle with superintendent

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Parties have reached a tentative agreement in a case involving the firing of a Perry Township Schools superintendent, meaning a broader legal question arising from the possible appeal of a federal judge's June ruling likely will have to wait for another day.Specifically, the issue would be the legal scope of a superintendent's employment.The question arises in the case of embattled superintendent H. Douglas Williams, who was placed on paid indefinite administrative leave in November after a 4-3 vote by the school...
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Home Place plans to appeal ruling

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The annexation battle between Carmel and Home Place isn't over yet.Residents in the unincorporated community voted Saturday to appeal the Oct. 17 decision in City of Carmel v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory Landowners, No. 29A04-0510-CV-578.Attorney Stephen Buschmann plans to file a petition this week asking the Indiana Supreme Court to hear the appeal. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Carmel last month, holding the city adequately proved it could afford to annex part of the nearby community and...
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SCOTUS rules on patent obviousness

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States today ruled that an invention can be too obvious for a patent.Taking up the patent issue and question of "How obvious is too obvious?" for the first time in 20 years, the court ruled unanimously in KSR International v. Teleflex that a gas pedal design was too obvious.Engineering company Teleflex sued KSR International, a Canadian maker of gas pedals, for alleged infringement of a patent it owned on an adjustable gas pedal assembly (which...
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COA reverses annexation decision

January 1, 2007
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's decision in a northern Indiana annexation case, citing a recent ruling on the subject from the Indiana Supreme Court. In the case In the Matter of the Annexation Proposed by Ordinance No. 2004-11-38, et al. v. Chris Fetcko, et al., 45A03-0611-CV-549, the city of Crown Point appealed the trial court's order granting the motion for involuntary dismissal filed by Fetcko and other remonstrators to a city ordinance annexing certain land. Crown Point...
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Dubious people no threat at federal courthouse in Indianapolis

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Suspicious camouflage-clad characters were thought to be creeping on the roof of the federal courthouse in Indianapolis this morning.But a report about 9 a.m. to the U.S. Marshals Office in Indianapolis turned out to be "completely unfounded," according to senior inspector Mark Robinett.Rather than a viable security threat, though, the call from the Chase building across the street turned out to involve window washers, according to accounts from both Robinett and Jo McNight, chief deputy clerk at the U.S. District Court...
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SCOTUS to hear East Chicago case in October

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The court docket for the nation's highest court is published, and the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in an East Chicago case during the first week it returns in October.Justices will consider U.S. v. Efrain Santos as its sixth case of the term on Oct. 3, according to the session calendar. It will be the first Indiana case heard by the high court since the Hammond v. Indiana arguments in March 2006. The court agreed in April...
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State waited too long to file charges, court rules

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a voluntary manslaughter case on grounds that prosecutors waited too long to file charges.Appellate judges issued a decision today in Ralph Barnett v. State of Indiana, 48A02-0605-CR-389 which stems from a 1993 physical confrontation at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. Barnett got into fight with fellow inmate Ricky Combs after being released from cells for a creation session, and Barnett maneuvered a handmade pick away from Combs before starting to walk away. When Combs attacked...
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Carmel met requirements for Southwest Clay annexation

January 1, 2007
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court today found for the City of Carmel in a case regarding landowners who opposed annexation of their property in Southwest Clay Township following a settlement between the city and an organization who called themselves No Ordinance for Annexation (NOAX), who filed a remonstrance and agreed to the settlement in 2005.The opinion, City of Carmel, Indiana v. Certain Southwest Clay Township Annexation Territory Landowners, 29S00-0608-CV-300, addresses two issues, according to Bryan Babb, an attorney who represents the City...
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Court accepts habitual traffic violator case

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court decided Thursday to consider a case that presents an issue of first impression regarding an Operating While being a Habitual Traffic Violator statute.In the case State of Indiana v. Karl D. Jackson, 29A02-0610-CR-867, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles determined in 2003 that Karl D. Jackson was a habitual traffic violator and suspended his license. The state agency mailed a notice to Jackson, but he hadn't notified the BMV that he had moved so he never received it.A...
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Court rules on military retirement benefits during divorce

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
State courts can't treat military retirement pay waived for veterans' disability pay as marital property to be divided during divorce, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.Citing caselaw from the nation's highest court, a unanimous three-judge panel reversed and remanded a Randolph County decision in William A. Griffin, Jr. v. Shari L. Griffin, No. 68A01-0611-CV-491.William and Shari married in 1985 and divorced in 2006, agreeing as part of the dissolution to divide in half his $1,522 retirement pay from the U.S. Air...
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Court rules on grandparent visitation

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
What is likely to be a ruling of first impression in Indiana and one of a few nationally, the Indiana Court of Appeals today reversed a ruling that had ended a grandmother's visitation with her grandson following the adoption of her adult mother.The 11-page ruling comes in a guardianship action involving the minor, J.E.M, in Maxine E. Handshoe v. Jessica L. Ridgway, No. 76A03=0612-CV-603.Grandmother Maxine Handshoe is appealing the Steuben Circuit ruling that terminated her visitation privileges with her biological grandson,...
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Indiana governor subpoenaed in Vioxx litigation

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will testify this fall in the ongoing federal court litigation involving recalled painkiller Vioxx, which is being blamed for thousands of heart attacks nationwide.Documents in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana's online filing system show that subpoenas went out Tuesday, and Daniels will give a taped deposition in Indianapolis Sept. 11. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is scheduled to do the same Sept. 4 in his home state.Both governors have ties to the drug industry -...
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Court increases registration fee for lawyers

January 1, 2007
Michael Hoskins
Indiana attorneys will have to pay $10 more a year to be licensed to practice law in the state, though they'll still fare better than most of their colleagues around the country.The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order this week increasing the fee from $105 to $115, making it effective for this year's Oct. 1 due date.This is the first increase in five years, when the fee rose from $95 to $105.Delinquency fees stay the same: $65 will be added for fees...
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  1. 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

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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