Law & Politics

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Johnsen

March 17, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
More than a year since she was first nominated to head the Office of Legal Counsel, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee March 4 approved Indiana law professor Dawn Johnsen along party lines for the second time.
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Legislature's final days bring up merit selection, out-of-state placement issues

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawyers and judges were kept on the edge of their seats as the Indiana General Assembly navigated its final days of the session, reviving talk on two issues that have significant impact on the state's judiciary and legal system.
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Agencies examine UPL

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Long before he became Greenwood's police chief, attorney Joe Pitcher recalls sitting as a special judge in town court and facing an Unauthorized Practice of Law case that may be one of few like it in Indiana.
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Legislature's end suspenseful for legal community

March 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana General Assembly got down to its final hours in a short-session, significant changes for the Hoosier legal community were on the table to possibly increase the number of appellate judges, change how one county chooses its trial judges, and impact how juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Legislators revisit vetoed merit-selection measure

March 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In the final days of the Indiana General Assembly session, as lawmakers pushed to finish and put final touches on the end-of-term business, a 2009 measure that divided the Hoosier legal community came back into play.
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Lawmakers miss self-imposed deadline

March 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana General Assembly tried to end the session more than a week before the constitutional March 14 deadline, but impasses on school funding and unemployment insurance caused the legislators to miss their March 4 self-imposed deadline.
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Lawmakers mull veto override on merit selection

March 11, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Vetoed legislation that would scrap St. Joseph County's merit selection for judicial elections and also add a new three-judge panel to the Indiana Court of Appeals is back in play.
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Houses active as session nears end

March 5, 2010
IL Staff
As this year's legislative session winds down, several bills of interest to the legal community have made it through both houses, but many remained stuck in conference committee Thursday.
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House OKs child support-casino bill

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers have passed a bill that allows the Indiana Department of Child Services to more efficiently collect delinquent child support, including a gaming intercept requiring casinos to check whether gamers are on a state delinquency list before releasing large jackpots to them.
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Lawmakers move court-funding bills

March 3, 2010
In the last days of the legislative session, lawmakers addressed funding proposals in HB 1154 on converting Marion County commissioners into magistrates and using a $35 fee on traffic infractions to pay for this; SB 307 that would allow a $50 fee on Bartholomew County traffic infractions to pay for a new Superior Court there; and SB 399 on capping traffic violation fines statewide.
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Committees wrapping up business

February 19, 2010
Michael Hoskins
With legislative deadlines fast approaching for the Indiana General Assembly, lawmakers have reached crunch time in moving legislation through for consideration before the short session comes to a close.
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Lawmakers criticize traffic court fines

February 19, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A legislative committee this week unanimously approved a bill that would cap the fines a court could assess for traffic violations.
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Police animal amendment moves to full House

February 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The proposed amendment making it a Class D felony for someone who kills a police animal while driving drunk has found a home in legislation.
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Judges see more cases that involve veterans

February 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
For a little more than a year, Grant Superior Judge Mark Spitzer has presided over his local drug court and has witnessed what he describes as remarkable results from the problem-solving court model.
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School-focused bill moves to Senate

February 17, 2010
An amended version of House Bill 1193, which came about as a result of a juvenile justice conference in August, passed out of the Senate's Judiciary Committee 6-1 Feb. 10. One major change in the bill approved by the committee was the deletion of the section about training for police officers who deal with juveniles on a regular basis.
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Lawyers balance public role as legislators

February 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In his 35 years as a lawyer-legislator, Sen. Richard Bray has thought about whether he should get involved in litigation because of his role as an elected state official. While he doesn't recall this ever affecting his involvement on a case or legislation before him, the veteran attorney from Martinsville, who practices with his son at The Bray Law Office, sees how it could present problems.
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Make net metering, renewable energy an issue

February 17, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Energy is one of the major issues environmentalists and lawyers who work with companies concerned about green technology are keeping an eye on during the 2010 Indiana legislative session.
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Police deaths, injury inspire late legislation

February 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although the deadline has passed to introduce new legislation, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak has called on legislators to find current bills that will allow amendments to statute in response to two separate car accidents involving police officers.
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Report: Laws alone won't stop cell phone use while driving

February 12, 2010
IL Staff
A House bill looking to ban texting while driving in Indiana on its own may not be very effective in preventing drivers from using their cell phones in the car, according to a policy brief from an Indiana University research center.
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General Assembly reaches midpoint

February 5, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At the midway point in this Indiana General Assembly session, dozens of bills died this week when one house didn't vote on them while others moved on for further consideration.
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Juvenile justice bill passes Senate

February 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A bill that incorporated suggestions from attendees and organizers of an Indiana State Bar Association-sponsored juvenile justice summit last summer passed the Indiana Senate 45-3 Feb. 18.
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Committees hit deadline for first half of session

January 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
During the final week of committee hearings before the Indiana General Assembly reaches its midpoint, the legal community watched as many bills died in their current form for lack of a hearing while others remained in play and moved to the full House or Senate for a potential vote.
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Out-of-state placement bill goes to House

January 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A legislative committee has given its OK to a bill that would repeal a last-minute 2009 special session provision, which gave the Indiana Department of Child Services key control in deciding whether juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Conservation Day highlights energy issues

January 29, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A renewable electricity standard and net metering expansion were among the legislative priorities addressed at Conservation Day at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday.
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What the ISBA is watching this session

January 22, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana State Bar Association is watching several bills introduced in this 2010 session, including probate and family law matters.
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  1. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  2. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  3. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  4. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  5. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

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