7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Inmate not disadvantaged by appearing at trial by video

June 23, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Monday that a New Jersey inmate who filed a retaliation lawsuit against officials at an Indiana prison while he was housed there was not disadvantaged when the judge denied his request to be transported to Indiana for the trial. The judge instead ordered he appear by video conferencing.
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7th Circuit revives Anderson transit worker’s ADA claim

June 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
A mechanic's helper with the City of Anderson Transit System won the right to pursue his claims that his firing violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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7th Circuit: No evidence officer was victim of racial discrimination

June 10, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment on a St. Joseph County Police sergeant's lawsuit claiming discrimination because he is African-American. The judges held the man was unable to prove discrimination after he was passed over for promotions or began working in the department's property room.
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AG may appeal death penalty reversal in deputy’s slaying

June 3, 2015
IL Staff
The state is considering whether it will appeal a federal court ruling Tuesday that reversed the death penalty imposed on a man convicted of killing a Morgan County deputy sheriff nearly 14 years ago.
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Death sentence reversed in 2001 slaying of Morgan deputy

June 2, 2015
Dave Stafford
The death sentence imposed on a man for the killing Morgan County Deputy Sheriff Daniel Starnes in 2001 has been reversed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit affirms solitary confinement; cautions against it

June 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana inmate's 30-day stint in solitary confinement at the Miami Correctional facility didn't violate his civil rights, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. But the panel cautioned judges and prison officials against wide use of the practice.
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7th Circuit affirms denial of railroad disability benefits

May 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A railroad worker treated in Indiana for years for back injuries and pain failed to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals he was entitled to federal disability benefits.
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7th Circuit again denies Notre Dame’s request for injunction in contraception suit

May 20, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A month after rehearing the University of Notre Dame’s request for a preliminary injunction that it need not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals again affirmed the denial of the school’s request.
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Pressure on PACER

May 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
On May 1, protestors across the country launched their ire on the federal judicial branch. They were not maligning the judges or their decisions, but rather they were imploring the courts to upgrade and improve the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system.
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Outlaws member had no legal interest in forfeited properties

May 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who claimed an interest in property forfeited to the government after two fellow members pleaded guilty to racketeering charges did not have an interest under the law, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Monday.
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Do-over expected to bring same result in contraception case

May 6, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
In a second round of oral arguments regarding the University of Notre Dame’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals not only remained dubious of the school’s assertions but also seemed perplexed as to why the case came back to the court.
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7th Circuit wants rationale for sentence

May 5, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A defendant was unable to get his revocation of probation overturned, but he is heading back to court for another sentencing after the District judge failed to give reasons for imposing a two-year jail term.
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Split 7th Circuit allows death penalty challenge asserting intellectual disability

May 4, 2015
Dave Stafford
A killer sentenced in Texas and awaiting execution on federal death row in Terre Haute will be allowed to proceed with efforts to present new evidence of intellectual disability that would make him ineligible for capital punishment, a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals en banc review determined in a 6-5 opinion.
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7th Circuit affirms sentence, vacates release conditions

April 21, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Gary felon who tried to force a woman at gunpoint to have sex with him was not improperly sentenced to a federal term of 92 months in prison on top of his state court conviction for pointing a weapon, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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7th Circuit: No plain error in not applying 'safety valve' in sentencing

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Whether firearms belonging to co-conspirators in a drug ring attributed to a defendant for purposes of the firearm sentence enhancement can be considered for a two-level reduction in her offense level under the so-called “safety valve” for nonviolent, first-time drug offenders is a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the judges declined to address the issue because the woman failed to raise it at sentencing.
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Murderer’s writ for relief denied by 7th Circuit

April 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
For the fourth time, a northern Indiana man’s appeal of his death sentence for four murders has come before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. This time, the judges affirmed the denial of his writ for habeas corpus.
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Court affirms amount of heroin attributable to defendant

April 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man convicted of conspiracy to distribute heroin could not convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that the trial court incorrectly found him to be responsible for buying and selling at least 1,040 grams of heroin over a six-year period.
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Judging how Indy elects judges

April 8, 2015
Dave Stafford
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals posed tough questions for the state’s defense of the pay-to-play, power-sharing system of judicial slating in Marion County.
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7th Circuit decision provides 'well-reasoned test' for standard exclusion provision

April 8, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
When construction on a mixed-use development project in Missouri ran short of money and eventually stopped, the “standard exclusion” included in many title insurance policies came before to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for another review.
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7th Circuit grills state over Indy judge election system

April 2, 2015
Dave Stafford
As Indiana endured the harsh national glare from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act controversy this week, Indianapolis’ pay-to-play, power-sharing system for electing Marion Superior Court judges was on trial in Chicago.
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7th Circuit affirms Outlaws members’ convictions, remands over suspicionless search condition

April 1, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Three members of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club lost their appeals before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday, however, the judges did decide that one man’s probation condition needs further consideration.
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Judges affirm drug dealer’s convictions but vacate portion of sentence

March 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claims that his convictions stemming from his involvement in a drug dealing operation should be overturned, but the judges did vacate the conditions of his supervised release Friday.
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Man’s right to speedy trial not violated, 7th Circuit says

March 13, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The speedy-trial clock did not begin to run upon the federal government’s filing of a complaint and detainer against an Indiana man, so the 16-month delay in filing the federal indictment did not violate his right to a speedy trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday.
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SCOTUS to 7th Circuit: Review Notre Dame birth control case

March 9, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
The Supreme Court is ordering the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to take another look at the University of Notre Dame’s lawsuit concerning the overhaul of federal health care rules on paying for contraceptives.
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7th Circuit reinstates alleged racketeering lawsuit

March 2, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a federal judge to dismiss a man’s lawsuit because it is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. A man who had his gas station foreclosed upon claimed the defendants acted in cahoots to defraud him out of his business.
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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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