Law & Politics

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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Senate gets resolution on marriage, civil unions

January 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Senate Judiciary Committee spent most of its time this week discussing the definition of marriage in Indiana and whether a constitutional amendment should be sent to voters to make it tougher for courts and legislators to rewrite how they handle both gay marriage and civil unions.
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Committee action deadline nearing

January 22, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana General Assembly's influential judiciary committees have a packed week ahead where both representatives and senators will review a mass of legislation as deadline approaches.
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Provision in new bill would withhold 'big' wins from deadbeat parents

January 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
State lawmakers want to crack down on child support collections and make it tougher for deadbeat parents to not pay what's owed.
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Bill seeks to repeal placements statute

January 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers are considering legislation that would repeal a last-minute 2009 special session provision that gave the Indiana Department of Child Services key control in deciding whether juveniles should be placed outside the state.
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Summit spurs school-focused bill

January 20, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A juvenile justice summit by the Indiana State Bar Association in August has led to the introduction of a bill that would change how students are treated in schools and hopefully decrease the number of school suspensions while increasing statewide graduation rates.
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Committees discuss various bills in second week

January 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana General Assembly made some of its first votes this week, while four legislative committees discussed an array of issues that may be of interest to the state's legal community.
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State funding of judges being explored

January 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers rejected a southern Indiana county's request this week for a new judge to run a family court, even though it proposes paying for it locally rather than with state money.
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Senate panel approves gaming intercept tool

January 13, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The full Senate will now decide whether casinos should be forced to check if certain gamblers winning larger jackpots are on a delinquent child support list, and if those gaming winnings should be automatically frozen and put toward the amount owed.
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What the ACLU of Indiana is tracking

January 8, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
he ACLU of Indiana is keeping an eye on bills that have been introduced this session and is anticipating others that could be introduced, including those that will affect due process, First Amendment rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, Second Amendment rights, and rights based on gender identity and sexual orientation, among other issues covered by the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
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Key Senate committees meet during first week

January 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In the first week after the Indiana General Assembly returned, lawmakers addressed several bills during two key committee meetings particularly relevant to the state's legal community.
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Q&A: DeLaney on township government reform

January 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A longtime Indianapolis attorney who's a freshman lawmaker with the Indiana General Assembly is embracing what he calls the most significant local government reform issue expected this session.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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