Court opinions

On rehearing, appeals court reins in DCS on CHINS custody change

September 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services lost on rehearing its argument that a custody modification ordered in a child in need of services case survives the CHINS proceeding.
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COA: third-party perpetrator evidence not relevant

September 8, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A man sentenced to 40 years for murder failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals he was unable to adequately defend himself at trial because he was prohibited from pointing an accusatory finger at the victim’s brother-in-law.
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Circumstantial evidence supports murder conviction

September 8, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Despite not having a direct link showing Donald Burns intended to kill his 74-year-old grandmother, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the amount of circumstantial evidence was enough to support his murder conviction.
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Appeals court orders physical custody of child back to father

September 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
A mother has lost primary physical custody of her daughter after the Indiana Court of Appeals decided on Thursday to reverse and remand a decision that would have taken the daughter out of the custody of her father and instead place her in the primary custody of her mother.
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Bad-faith deal after bar assault clears insurer

September 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
Trial court rulings in favor of an insurer finding it had no duty to pay the victim of a punch in the jaw at a New Castle bar were affirmed Thursday. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a consent judgment between the tavern, the victim, and the man convicted of the crime was executed in bad faith.
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COA finds notice on out-of-state parties sufficient to affirm

September 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
Lawyers for a man injured in a crash involving a tractor-trailer sufficiently served the truck driver and the transport company, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in affirming a default judgment in favor of the injured driver.
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Tax Court stands by lower assessment basis for big-box store

September 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
Indiana Tax Court rejected a county assessor’s appeal of the slashed assessed valuation of a department store, forcefully affirming that large retailers may base their assessments on the sale prices of similar vacant or “dark” retail store properties.
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COA reverses resisting law enforcement convictions based on video evidence

September 8, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned convictions of mistreatment of a law enforcement animal and resisting law enforcement after finding that law enforcement officers’ testimony in the case was in direct contrast to video evidence.
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Justices rule expungements can’t erase civil forfeitures

September 2, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court held Thursday that Indiana’s second-chance laws that allow expungement of certain criminal convictions do not permit erasure of records of civil forfeitures connected to expunged charges.
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Company barred from mentioning standard in negligence case

August 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A company being sued for negligent design by a man who fell out of its utility truck bucket and became paralyzed may not mention a specific design standard at a new trial on the issue, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Spitting satisfies ‘fighting’ element of disorderly conduct statute

August 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Monday found that the term “fighting” in the disorderly conduct statute is ambiguous and only covers physical altercations, but still upheld a man’s conviction based on his spitting on his wife during an argument.
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Breach of contract suit to get new venue

August 29, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court should have granted the city of Lawrenceburg’s request to move a breach of contract lawsuit against it filed by Franklin County out of Franklin County, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Woman’s outburst politically ambiguous; disorderly conduct conviction stands

August 26, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Michigan City woman’s disorderly conduct conviction after finding the focus of her speech was politically ambiguous and the state acted rationally in impairing her speech while trying to serve an arrest warrant.
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Doctor’s profit sharing plan not recoverable by slain wife’s estate

August 25, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The estate of a woman whose husband shot and killed her and himself just hours after they married is not entitled to any funds from the husband’s profit sharing plan based on Indiana probate law, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded Thursday.
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Trust beneficiary’s complaint reinstated by COA

August 25, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The lawsuit filed by a man who claimed the trustee of the irrevocable trust in which he is the beneficiary mismanaged assets will move forward after the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed dismissal of the suit.
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COA calls for guidance on social media use during criminal trials

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
In affirming that a man was not deprived due process when the media live tweeted during his murder trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted that it’s time for the judicial branch to address social media use concerns.
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Outlaws member denied motorcycle club’s seized property

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club who wanted to intervene in a forfeiture action involving paraphernalia bearing the Outlaws insignia couldn’t convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that a federal court was incorrect in denying his motions.
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Court divided over stop of man in movie theater

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
By a 2-1 vote, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the denial of an Indianapolis man’s motion to suppress a handgun found on him after officers questioned him in a lobby of a movie theater. The majority ruled the officers had no reasonable suspicion to justify the investigatory stop.
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COA affirms officer’s stop of teen involved in mall ruckus

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A police officer had reasonable suspicion to stop and search a teen at an Indianapolis mall on Black Friday last year whom was believed to be involved in a shouting match with another group of people in a department store, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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COA upholds restraining order against man who threatened mother’s caretakers

August 24, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A Clark County man’s behavior qualified as a credible threat of violence with respect to three employees of the assisted living facility where his mother lived, so the trial court correctly issued workplace violence restraining orders on their behalf, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed.
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DOC, trial court errors lead to reversal of parole revocation

August 23, 2016
Dave Stafford
A longtime criminal who was convicted of violating his parole on an attempted robbery sentence was deprived a hearing on a corrected record and therefore is entitled to post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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COA advice: Leave affirmation out of jury instructions

August 23, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man’s convictions of battery and disorderly conduct will stand, but the Indiana Court of Appeals cautioned trial courts that including law enforcement affirmations in jury instructions should not, calling the practice “undesirable and completely avoidable.”
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Split COA reverses sex conviction on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ grounds

August 22, 2016
The majority of a Court of Appeals panel reversed the conviction of a young man who claimed he was wrongly denied an opportunity to present Indiana’s “Romeo and Juliet” law as an affirmative defense to a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.
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City owes man legal fees for ‘meritless, possibly frivolous’ case

August 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the city’s Office of Corporation Counsel pursued a ‘wholly meritless, possibly frivolous argument’ in a public-records case, the Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The city will pay the legal fees of a man who sued to obtain records after he was denied.
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Appeals panel overturns man’s trespass conviction

August 22, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis man who had lived with his father with the consent of the senior apartment complex where he resided should not have been convicted of trespass after he was ordered to leave, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in overturning a bench trial verdict.
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