Courts

Local courts seek public comment

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Courts in 16 Indiana counties are seeking public comment on proposed local rule changes, including caseload allocations and court reporter services and fees. The comments are due by the end of June or the middle of July, depending on the county.Cass, Daviess, Lake, LaPorte, Madison, Miami, Jasper, Porter, St. Joseph, Vanderburgh, and Wabash are seeking comment on their courts' caseload allocation plans. Jackson, Morgan, Perry, Ripley, and Warrick counties are seeking comment regarding court reporter fees.In addition to caseload plans, LaPorte...
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Supreme Court clarifies credit time rules

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A trio of opinions from the Indiana Supreme Court gives trial courts additional guidance about how to handle prisoner claims regarding how credit time is applied to sentences.The three-ruling package deal came down late Thursday, with the court simultaneously granting transfer and deciding Keith Neff v. State of Indiana, No. 49S02-0806-CR-362; and Charles Young v. State of Indiana, Nos. 27S02-0806-PC-363 and 27S02-0806-PC-364.Justice Frank Sullivan authored the decisions that are all designed to clarify a ruling the Supreme Court made in Robinson v....
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Former inmate files suit over medical care

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A former Indiana Department of Correction inmate has filed a federal suit claiming that county jail staff and contracted medical personnel didn't give him proper medical care and contributed to his development of cancer while he was behind bars.New Richmond resident Phillip Andrew Springer filed suit Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis seeking damages against the Putnam County Sheriff's Department, correctional authorities, and contracted medical providers for "deliberate indifference" to his medical needs while he was incarcerated. As a...
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Conference to address poverty, globalization

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
How the law and legal associations can lessen the impacts of poverty both at home and abroad will be the focus of a Law, Poverty and Economic Inequality Conference April 3 and 4 at Valparaiso University School of Law.Visiting professor Penelope Andrews organized the conference in response to the various ways globalization has affected poverty through job loss, diminishing labor rights, lower earnings, and an increase in private companies taking over the former responsibilities of governments. The event will consist of...
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Court officials chosen for juvenile justice program

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's largest county has been chosen to join six other states in a series of leadership-development workshops to study juvenile justice reform nationally.On May 13, the non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation selected Marion Superior Juvenile Magistrate Gary Chavers and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Chris Ball to participate in the program because of their work recently on juvenile detention alternatives. For the past two years, the county has been Indiana's only site participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI), which has...
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D.C. attorney argues voter I.D. case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
One of the most vocal civil liberties advocates battling Indiana's voter identification law won't make his pitch to the Supreme Court of the United States this week.When the nation's highest court hears the much-anticipated arguments Wednesday morning, Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher will argue for the state attorney general's office. But Ken Falk, who heads the legal department of American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, won't face the justices, nor will Indianapolis attorney William Groth, who represents the plaintiff, the Indiana...
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Court: Search invalid, statements admissible

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant did not have the ability to consent to a police search of the car he was riding in because the driver's consent to the search was invalid, ruled the Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday. The court also ruled the defendant's recorded statements made in the back of a police cruiser were voluntary and admissible at his trial. In Sergio Campos v. State of Indiana, No. 45S03-0804-CR-199, Sergio Campos was the passenger in a car driven by Cesar Santiago-Armendariz, which was stopped...
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Overstreet granted stay of execution

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The man who was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a Franklin College student has been granted a motion for a stay of execution. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon of the South Bend Division issued the order granting Michael Dean Overstreet's stay of execution Monday. Overstreet, who was sentenced to death in 2000 for killing Kelly Eckart, filed the motion in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division May 9. In the motion, Michael Dean Overstreet v....
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Children's rights topic of ACLU discussion

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
"Children's rights: Who's responsible?" will be the subject of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's next First Wednesday discussion. This is the final First Wednesday discussion of the spring 2008 series.The discussion will be from noon to 12:50 p.m. May 7 at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. Panelists include Jackie Bowie-Suess, attorney for the ACLU of Indiana; Marion Superior Court Juvenile Division Judge Marilyn Moores; and Cindy Booth, executive director of Child Advocates.Indiana Lawyer has a...
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End of parental rights not based on disability

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the involuntary termination of a couple's rights to their children, ruling the final order was valid even without the presiding magistrate judge's signature, and the fact the mother has a hearing disability was not a reason why the mother's parental rights were ended. In R.W. Sr. (father) and D.B.W. (mother) v. Marion County Dept. of Child Services, et al., No. 49A04-0801-JV-64, married parents R.W. Sr. and D.B.W. challenged the court's decision to terminate their parental rights...
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Indy IP firm loses Monroe publicity rights case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal judge's decision in California this week represents a significant legal loss for an Indianapolis intellectual property firm relating to the publicity rights of Marilyn Monroe.U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow of the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled Monday that Marilyn Monroe LLC and Indianapolis-based CMG Worldwide don't own rights of publicity, and that a studio and licensing company have the right to market and license images of the famous actress.The judge's action reversed a ruling from...
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COA: Date-rape drug made victim 'unaware'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today tackled the meaning of "unaware" in the state's statute addressing rape in regards to the victim being under the influence of a known date-rape drug. In Herman Filice v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0707-CR-591, Chief Judge John Baker authored the unanimous opinion that required the court for the first time to address the various legal issues surrounding the defendant's sexual contact with a woman who had Rohypnol in her system during the contact. Filice met the...
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Sommer Barnard merging with Ohio firm

January 1, 2008
Scott Olson
The 64 partners of Sommer Barnard unanimously voted today to approve the firm's merger with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister. The vote means Taft Stettinius & Hollister will absorb Sommer Barnard on May 1, meaning Indianapolis will lose one of its largest law firms. Sommer Barnard was founded in 1969 and has 103 lawyers, making it the seventh-largest in the city, according to Indianapolis Business Journal statistics. Taft Stettinius, whose roots date to 1885, has 200 lawyers in Cincinnati and additional...
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Ball State shooting trial starts Tuesday

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An excessive force and wrongful death trial starts in federal court Tuesday involving a Ball State police officer's shooting of a college student about four years ago.Jury selection begins Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis in McKinney v. Duplain. The 21-year-old Michael McKinney was shot four times by campus officer Robert Duplain, who was responding to a report of a stranger pounding on the door of a house early on Nov. 8, 2003. Tests later showed that McKinney had a...
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COA rules on stipulation requirement

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Prosecutors must be allowed to present their cases as they see fit and not be forced into agreements, the Indiana Court of Appeals confirmed today.In State of Indiana v. Harold Lewis, No. 72A05-0610-CR-564, the three-judge panel unanimously reversed and remanded the case to Scott Superior Judge Nicholas South. The trial judge had determined in 2006 to grant the defendant's motion prohibiting prosecutors from mentioning the death of the man who Lewis had shot. He was being tried on a felony charge of...
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Appeals court: Civil RICO claims not preempted

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act does not preempt a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In an issue of first impression, the court was asked to decide in AGS Capital Corp., Inc., et al. v. Product Action International, LLC, No. 49A02-0702-CV-176, whether civil provisions for treble damages based on certain criminal acts are covered by the Indiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act (IUTSA). AGS Capital Corp., which owned Fast Tek Group and Superior Metal Technologies,...
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Court: punitive penalty not allowed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A juvenile court erred when it found a juvenile in civil contempt of court and imposed an additional term of confinement as a result, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled. In K.L.N. v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0708-JV-411, K.L.N., a juvenile, had appealed the juvenile court's decision to impose an additional term of confinement against him for being found in contempt of court. K.L.N. was confined to a secure facility for 120 days and often did not follow the rules. As...
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Enhancement not allowed for attempted crimes

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a sentence enhancement for a man convicted of attempted rape. The enhancement was for being a repeat sexual offender, but attempted rape is not a crime listed under the repeat sex offender statute that allows for the enhancement. In William E. Wright v. State of Indiana, No. 48A02-0708-PC-678, the Court of Appeals agreed with Wright that his appellate counsel provided ineffective assistance in regards to challenging the sentence enhancement and that Wright's petition for post-conviction relief should...
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Court mulls 'vicarious exhaustion' in jail suit

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A court ruling issued Monday by a federal judge in Indianapolis touches on a legal nuance that's yet to be addressed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago and is also a relatively new argument for Indiana.In the jail-condition prisoner suit of Trevor Richardson v. Monroe County Sheriff, et al., No. 1:08-cv-0174 U.S., Judge Richard Young of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, denied a motion from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office to dismiss the suit and...
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U.S. allowed to join Indy case arguments

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court will allow the federal government to have a voice in arguments of an Indiana case later this month, testing the competency standards for pro se litigants in criminal cases.On March 14, justices of the nation's highest court granted a motion from the U.S. Solicitor General to participate in arguments as amicus curiae in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, 07-208, set for 10 a.m. March 26.At issue is what the Sixth Amendment dictates when determining whether someone found competent...
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Court: 'mistakes' in judge's sentence

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the sentence of man convicted of defrauding Medicaid because the District Court judge's sentencing transcript was "laced with apparent mistakes and misunderstandings." In United States of America v. William J. Higdon, No. 07-3951, William Higdon appealed his 60-month sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Richard Young of the Southern District, Evansville Division. Higdon pleaded guilty to defrauding the Indiana Medicaid program, and the judge and parties agreed the sentencing guideline was 18 to 24 months....
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Court: Student complaints are absolute privilege

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Supreme Court held complaints made by current students under a university's anti-harassment policy are protected by absolute privilege.The Supreme Court granted transfer to Virginia Hartman and Suzanne Swinehart v. Dr. Gabe Keri, No. 02S03-0706-CV-233, to determine whether Hartman and Swinehart's statements alleging sexual harassment against professor Keri were granted absolute privilege or qualified privilege. Keri was a professor in the education department at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW), and Hartman and Swinehart...
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COA: Stop lacked reasonable suspicion

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a defendant's drug conviction because the traffic stop that led to his arrest was unconstitutional; the police officer who pulled the car over didn't have reasonable suspicion there was criminal activity going on in the car. Damen Holly appealed his conviction of possession of marijuana as a Class A misdemeanor in Damen Holly v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0711-CR-930. Holly was pulled over by a police officer after the officer ran a license plate check of...
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COA adjusts sentence for child molestation

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant's convictions of child molestation and child exploitation, but it adjusted his sentence after finding a mathematical error by the trial court. In Roy Bennett v. State of Indiana, No. 79A05-0705-CR-240, Bennett appealed his convictions and sentence for two counts of Class D felony child exploitation and three counts of Class C felony child molestation. Bennett's adopted daughter accused him of sexually molesting her and police searched Bennett's home, finding several computer discs containing pornographic...
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BREAKING: Lawrence confirmed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
U.S. Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence in Indianapolis has been confirmed as the newest federal judge on the Southern District of Indiana.Just about 4 p.m., the U.S. Senate took a break from discussion on wiretapping to move on to judicial nominations. They held a roll call vote at 4:35 p.m. They voted 97-0 at 5 p.m. to confirm Magistrate Lawrence to the judgeship, meaning he'll be the Southern District's first ever magistrate to be elevated to the constitutionally established Article III...
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