Government

Second Indy township official charged with embezzlement

January 9, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
Federal prosecutors have charged a Center Township official in Indianapolis with embezzling tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security payments intended for disabled and elderly recipients.
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Bill would block local limits on large livestock facilities

January 9, 2015
 Associated Press
Local governments would be prohibited from placing restrictions on large livestock facilities in rural areas under a bill being considered in the Indiana Senate.
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CNBC’s ‘American Greed’ puts focus on Conour as appeal proceeds

January 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
The CNBC program “American Greed,” which bills itself as a “shocking true crime series (that) examines the dark side of the American Dream,” has taped an episode profiling former Indianapolis lawyer and convicted fraudster William Conour.
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Housing agency, not court, ordered banned woman from properties

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a woman’s argument that the court imposed as part of her trespass sentence an order to stay away from any properties owned by the Indianapolis Housing Agency.
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Senate committee advances bill to raise judges’ retirement age

January 7, 2015
Dave Stafford
A proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age for appellate judges from 75 to 80 narrowly advanced in the Indiana General Assembly Wednesday.
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Fate uncertain for bill to end Sunday alcohol sales ban

January 7, 2015
 Associated Press
A House committee chairman says he hasn't decided if he'll allow a hearing on a proposal to end Indiana's long-running ban on retail stores selling alcohol on Sunday — the last of its kind in the nation.
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Civil Rights Commission exceeded authority in upholding complaint

January 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Finding the Indiana Civil Rights Commission overstepped its authority, the Indiana Supreme Court has vacated the organization’s final order regarding an “intra-group squabble” over a dinner menu.
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Electric utilities battle over annexing territories

January 6, 2015
Indianapolis Business Journal, Kathleen McLaughlin
When it comes to annexing nearby land, the city of Greenfield has a proposition that officials say sells itself.
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McKinney grad Carrasco appointed Indiana inspector general

January 6, 2015
IL Staff
Longtime executive director of the Office of Inspector General Cynthia Carrasco has been appointed Indiana inspector general, Gov. Mike Pence announced in a statement Tuesday. The appointment is effective Jan. 11.
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Government: Tweak Conour release conditions

January 5, 2015
Dave Stafford
Special conditions imposed on convicted fraudster and former attorney William Conour after he serves a 10-year federal sentence should be modified, but the conditions largely should stay in place, according to the government’s brief in his appeal.
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Tax Court: Alleged puppy mill owner wrongly denied refund

January 5, 2015
The Indiana Department of Revenue improperly denied a refund of the value of 240 dogs seized by the state from an alleged Harrison County puppy mill, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Dec. 31.
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Bill would let Hoosiers refuse gay-wedding services

January 5, 2015
 Associated Press
Legislation that supporters contend is needed to protect Indiana residents with strong religious beliefs by allowing them to refuse services for same-sex weddings is drawing fire from gay rights groups and others who say it would legalize discrimination.
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2014 Year in Review

December 31, 2014
IL Staff
This year could be described as a historic one for Indiana. The state's ban on gay marriage was overturned by the courts, and, for the first time, a woman was chosen as chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court. In fact, women are leading most of the courts in Indiana. In 2014, we saw changes in the law schools, a new criminal code implemented, and attorneys in trouble with the court and the law. (Remember the attorney who doesn't like to wear socks?)
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Artwork honoring Shepard has 'stalled'

December 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A plan by the inaugural class of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy to honor retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard has unraveled, and class members are preparing to consider several options for moving forward, including scrapping the project altogether.
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State Fair stage collapse appeal puts tort caps on trial

December 31, 2014
Dave Stafford
While the lone victim of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse who declined to settle with the state aims to prove caps on its liability are unconstitutional, judges who heard the appeal focused on why she was denied her day in court.
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Driver’s lack of appellee brief reinstates license revocation

December 30, 2014
Dave Stafford
A motorist who won a trial court judgment vacating the suspension of his driver’s license didn’t file a brief when the Bureau of Motor Vehicles appealed the decision and, therefore, lost his challenge of the BMV action.
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‘Second haircut’ nixed by tax court

December 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A finance company that purchased car loans at a discounted price is entitled to recoup all the sales tax on the loans which have since gone into default.
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Impact of Indiana's criminal code changes unclear

December 29, 2014
 Associated Press
Indiana's prosecutors and judges are still adjusting to sweeping changes to the state's criminal code intended to send more low-level, nonviolent criminals to community corrections programs and jails instead of state prisons.
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Little Statehouse appetite exists for government reform

December 29, 2014
 Associated Press
Indiana lawmakers set to reconvene next week aren't showing any signs they'll embrace some of the more sweeping changes to the structure of the state's local government proposed by a bipartisan commission.
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Gov. Pence hasn't issued single pardon in 2 years

December 22, 2014
 Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence, who has said he wants Indiana to be a leader in giving criminals who've served their time a second chance, hasn't granted a single pardon during his first two years in office.
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Fired IDEM employee entitled to unemployment benefits

December 19, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a 25-year state employee did not breach a duty reasonably owed to her employer when she failed to meet monthly quotas because she thoroughly reviewed cases instead of quickly approving expenses.
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Indiana senator plans medical marijuana proposal

December 17, 2014
 Associated Press
A state senator says she plans to push for the legalization of medicinal marijuana in Indiana.
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Judge holds 2013 abortion law violates Equal Protection Clause

December 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
A ruling in federal court has essentially struck down Indiana’s restrictions on drug-induced abortions, but the argument that the law places an undue burden on women caused the court to refrain from making a final judgment.
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Death records law causing headache for genealogists

December 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the Indiana Supreme Court recently confirmed that death certificates listing the cause of death are public records, the state is continuing to grapple with questions over privacy and online access to the documents.
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Frustrations with patent trolls spark push for pest control

December 17, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Three years after passing the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act which overhauled the U.S. patent system, Congress and state legislatures have been introducing bills that primarily seek to reform the process by clamping down on so-called patent trolls.
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  5. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

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