Court opinions

Mother’s due process rights deprived in termination hearing

March 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
In finding both constitutional and statutory guarantees were transgressed, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the decision by a lower court to convert an omnibus hearing on a termination of parental rights matter into a final hearing while mother was not present, which led to the termination of her parental rights.
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TIF funds can’t be used to maintain parks, COA affirms

March 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a Lake County trial court ruling that tax increment financing funds used in the redevelopment of Munster parks could not be used to later maintain the parks.
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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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COA: Trial court lacked authority to rescind plea agreement

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a Howard Superior judge to sentence a man to the terms of the plea agreement that he had entered into on drug charges before the judge revoked the agreement and ordered him to continue to trial.
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Ex-husband needed to take action to modify judgment, COA rules

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man challenging the proposed value of his pension’s surviving spouse benefit in a dissolution proceeding had to file his own Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion and not rely on the same motion filed by his ex-wife, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Trial court incorrectly determined company could collect all delinquent taxes

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a $1.4 million judgment in favor of a company hired by Lake County to collect delinquent real property taxes, finding the lower court improperly interpreted the collections contracts as a matter of law.
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Justices remand dental office fire insurance dispute

March 12, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday reset the issues before a trial court in a dispute arising from a shortage in contents insurance after a fire at a dental office.
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Judge urges legislators to clarify Castle Doctrine statute

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a case of first impression reversed a man’s conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer after finding he exercised reasonable force under I.C. 35-41-3-2(i)(2), the statute revised in response to a 2011 Supreme Court holding that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to battery or another violent act on a police officer. But one judge asked the Legislature to take another look at the statute for public policy reasons.
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COA affirms policy provides property damage coverage for abandoned sand

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its original decision Wednesday that an insurance policy covers property damage caused by 100,000 tons of foundry sand on property owned by FLM LLC.
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Public defender’s brief stricken, COA orders ‘competent counsel’ appointed

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reiterated Wednesday for at least the fourth time in seven years to a public defender that he cannot use the “manifestly unreasonable” argument to challenge a client’s voluntary manslaughter sentence.
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Teen’s adjudications overturned based on unlawful search

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis teenager suspected in two burglaries was subject to an unlawful pat down and search by an officer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. As such, the gun found on him should not have been admissible at his delinquency hearing.
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Canine sniff not allowed, but convictions still upheld

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Supreme Court of the United States decision issued shortly after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case now means that a canine sniff of a suspected drug dealer’s home was unconstitutional, the COA upheld the man’s convictions based on other evidence.
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Couple’s gun collection incorrectly classified as ‘household goods’

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The determination as to whether guns or a gun collection are “household goods” should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In a case before it Wednesday, the judges held that the large collection owned by a couple who are since deceased was incorrectly classified as “household goods.”
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Court reverses denial of termination of parental rights due to possible conflict

March 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred when it denied a mother’s consensual termination of parental rights petition against the father due to concerns of a potential risk of conflict of interest involving the mother’s legal counsel.
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Court wrongly denied expungement of dismissed conviction

March 10, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s 1999 misdemeanor battery conviction that was dismissed when he completed his one-year probation sentence must be expunged, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday, reversing a trial court that denied his petition.
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Judge rejects diocese's bid to set aside in vitro verdict

March 10, 2015
 Associated Press
A jury was correct in finding that a Roman Catholic diocese discriminated against a former teacher by firing her for undergoing fertilization treatment, a federal judge has ruled.
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Appeals panel affirms East Chicago library board must repay insurance premiums

March 9, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court properly ruled for the state when it ordered East Chicago Library Board members to repay more than $136,000 in health, dental, vision and life insurance premiums since state law says those members serve without compensation, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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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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COA upholds $10,000 fine for failure to cooperate with discovery

March 9, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court that slapped a transportation company with a $10,000 sanction and ordered its president jailed if the fine was not paid did not commit an error, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Federal judge fines abusive filer $1,200, bars future suits

March 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who’s filed nearly four dozen lawsuits against defendants from “Bobby” to President Barack Obama lost his federal court privileges this week.
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Failure to conduct indigency hearing results in remand

March 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
A trial court that imposed a $340 probation fee on a defendant sentenced on misdemeanor convictions must be revisited because the court failed to conduct a hearing on the defendant’s ability to pay.
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20-year sentence for $60 drug deal reduced as excessive

March 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
The 20-year executed sentence a Kokomo man received after pleading guilty to selling an undercover police officer 10 hydrocodone pills for $6 each was excessive, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Court affirms $100,000 in attorney fees to bank for defending groundless claim

March 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who claimed a bank acting as trustee breached its fiduciary duties by selling stock of JP Morgan Chase over the course of several years is still on the hook for more than $100,000 in attorney fees and costs to the trustee, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Thursday. The COA agreed Susan Moeder brought a groundless claim against Salin Bank and Trust Co. after it sought to resign as trustee.
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Providing temptation to commit crime is not inducement, majority rules

March 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a man’s conviction of patronizing a prostitute, with the majority ruling the state rebutted his defense of entrapment by showing there was no police inducement.
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