Court opinions

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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Dissent: PO reversal ‘insulates’ domestic violence perpetrators

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
An ex-husband’s actions that prompted a woman to get a protective order against him did not constitute stalking or threatening behavior sufficient to warrant the court order, the majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel ruled Friday. A dissenting judge warned the holding “insulates perpetrators of domestic violence” who threaten friends or associates of former partners.
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Imam, Islamic Society entitled to fees from deposed member

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man who was drummed out of the Islamic Society of Michiana’s board of directors filed a combative, confusing brief demonstrating bad faith when he appealed a trial court’s dismissal of his pro se suit seeking $5.2 million in damages. Now he’s on the hook for damages.
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COA: Live-in girlfriend asked to leave didn’t trespass

August 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
A woman who accepted a man’s offer to live in his home and who soon became his lover should not have been convicted of trespass for refusing to leave when he tried to kick her out, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA: No error in admitting post-accident reports at negligence trial

August 18, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Dealing with the question for the first time in a negligence case involving a fired truck driver, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided that a post-incident investigation is not an inadmissible subsequent remedial measure.
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Plea deal didn’t prevent government from referencing hostage incident

August 18, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s claim that the government was barred by his plea agreement from mentioning a hostage situation that occurred several days prior to his arrest on drug and firearm charges.
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Warrantless inventory search of vehicle not unreasonable, COA holds

August 17, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Despite a police officer’s failure to strictly follow relevant procedures for completing a written inventory of items found in an impounded car, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the warrantless search of the car was not unreasonable.
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Nurse to face criminal charges for prescriptions issued at drug clinic

August 16, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A registered nurse at a Wayne County clinic that treated those with addictions will face criminal charges for her role in handing out prescriptions prepared outside the usual course of professional medical practice. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of those charges that was based on the fact she was not a doctor.
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Court grants habeas writ in case involving repealed drug statute

August 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
A man convicted of Class A felony possession of three grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a “youth program center” in March 2008 will either be released from prison or resentenced after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted his habeas corpus petition.
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COA affirms woman in same-sex relationship legal parent of child

August 15, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed a trial court’s conclusion that a lesbian couple who entered into a registered domestic partnership in California should be treated like married spouses. As such, the judges affirmed the award of joint legal custody and parenting time to the non-biological parent after the couple broke up.
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6 years after finding flaws in disability benefits case, 7th Circuit remands again

August 10, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
Fifteen years after a woman first applied for disability benefits based on degenerative disk disease, obesity, depression, and other ailments, she continues to fight the denial of benefits by the Social Security Administration. On Tuesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the SSA take another look at her case, the second time it has done so.
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Patel decision restricts feticide prosecutions

August 10, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Court of Appeals holds the Legislature didn’t intend feticide charges for pregnant women.
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COA splits over earliest, latest possible release dates

August 9, 2016
Dave Stafford
Two of three judges on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel urged lawmakers to revisit a requirement that trial courts advise convicts of their earliest and latest possible release dates, but a third judge dismissed the majority’s position that the requirement “imposes an impracticable burden on our trial courts.
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Pro se inmate wins appeal of sentence modification

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
An inmate’s pro se legal briefs arguing for a modification of his 70-year drug sentence impressed the Indiana Court of Appeals, who granted him another chance to make his case that he deserves leniency as a model prisoner who made the best of his time behind bars.
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Murderer deprived court record gets new shot at relief

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of killing a female co-worker whose skeletal remains were found in a Johnson County marsh was denied an opportunity to use the court record to plead his counsel was ineffective as he sought post-conviction relief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA affirms probation revocation

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
A man failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that revocation of his probation on a drug charge was barred by the doctrine of res judicata because his placement in community corrections had already been revoked.
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Justices reinstate conviction divided COA reversed

August 5, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed a man’s misdemeanor failure to identify conviction that had been reversed by a divided panel of the Court of Appeals.
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Reversal: Kroger must face claim for filling script in wrongful death case

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
Kroger must face a claim that its potential negligence in filling a prescription contributed to the death of a woman after she sought treatment for acute bronchitis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in a reversal.
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Split COA tosses robbery convictions pegged to cellphone data

August 4, 2016
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that cellphone users have a reasonable expectation to the privacy of their location information that’s tracked and collected by phone service providers. The majority’s holding reversed armed robbery convictions of an Ohio man found guilty of holding up two Dearborn County liquor stores.
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Judges divided over sentence review under Appellate Rule 7(B)

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The majority on a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals declared Tuesday that Indiana Appellate Rule 7(B) requires only that the court “consider” the nature of the offense and the offender’s character, not that the defendant necessarily prove both of those prongs. This led to a separate opinion calling the decision “significant.”
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Statute, plea agreement do not preclude converting felony to misdemeanor

August 2, 2016
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision to reduce a man’s Class D felony conviction following a guilty plea to theft in 2000 to a Class A misdemeanor 15 years later.
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COA: investors owed reimbursement

July 29, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a reversal in the Indiana Court of Appeals handed an investment firm a reimbursement, the amount of funds to be returned is unknown since the trial court was left to figure the sum.
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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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