Court opinions

Father’s testimony at molestation trial not fundamental error

May 14, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a Lake County man’s conviction of Class C felony child molesting, rejecting the defendant’s claims that some of the victim’s father’s testimony at trial resulted in fundamental error.
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Judges tell trial court to declare commissioner’s order void

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s denial of a title insurance company’s verified petition for judicial review and declaratory relief, finding the court erred by requiring a separate showing of prejudice because the Indiana insurance commissioner failed to comply with a mandatory statutory deadline regarding an order setting an investigatory hearing.
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Court clarifies decision on jury instructions

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s request for rehearing on a case in which the judges found the trial court erred in not giving a defendant’s tendered jury instruction, but that the error was harmless. The state contended that two cases dictated that there was no error by the court.
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SCOTUS rules against Indiana farmer in seed patent case

May 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A unanimous Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that patent exhaustion doesn’t allow a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission.
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Man’s prior conviction doesn’t render him a career offender

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s habeas petition, finding his conviction of arson in the third degree in Delaware doesn’t qualify as a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. Section 4B.1. As such, his current sentence should be reduced to reflect he isn’t a career offender.
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State not trying to circumvent adverse ruling in refiling charges

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man’s felony cocaine dealing conviction, finding the state, when originally dismissing charges and then later refiling them, was not trying to avoid an adverse ruling that barred testimony of a confidential informant.
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Denial of post-conviction relief upheld by COA

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Even if the Indiana Court of Appeals was to assume that a defendant’s trial counsel performed below prevailing professional norms by not explaining the potential immigration consequences of his guilty plea, the judges ruled the defendant wasn’t prejudiced because the trial court explained those consequences.
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COA to trial judges: enter restitution orders at sentencing

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals sent a case in ‘procedural limbo’ back to trial court to enter a restitution order within 30 days, which will allow the defendant to appeal his aggravated battery conviction. The appellate judges also advised trial courts on the pitfalls of postponing ordering restitution when ordering a sentence.
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Woman who used FedEx to send med mal complaint didn’t timely file

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Third-party carriers are not included in the statute regarding filing proposed medical malpractice complaints with the Indiana Department of Insurance, so a woman’s complaint that was sent via FedEx within the two-year statute of limitations – but not stamped until after the limitations expired – is not considered timely filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Judges reverse teen’s gang-related adjudication

May 9, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The state was unable to prove that a 14-year-old Indianapolis boy committed criminal gang activity when he and several other juveniles followed another teen after a party, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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COA: More proceedings are needed on parents’ ITCA compliance

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Richmond parents’ complied with the Indiana Tort Claims Act notice provision when filing a lawsuit after their severely disabled daughter died at school, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that issue to go before a jury.
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7th Circuit rejects claim that FMLA should be extended to non-eligible employees

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for a transportation company on a fired worker’s claims that her termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The judges didn’t agree with the woman that FMLA protection should extend to non-eligible employees who request leave for future periods.
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7th Circuit: ‘Ransom demand’ requires third-party involvement

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In order to enhance a criminal sentence on the basis of a ransom demand, that demand must be conveyed to a third-party, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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National fraternity not entitled to summary judgment in wrongful death case

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The national organization of a Wabash College fraternity where a freshman pledge died after a night of heavy drinking is not entitled to summary judgment on the student’s parents’ claims arising from his wrongful death, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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7th Circuit reaffirms drug conviction over claims of ineffective counsel

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of federal drug charges failed to convince a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that his conviction should be vacated due to ineffective assistance of counsel. The court affirmed a conviction from the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Entering a guilty plea is not a mitigating factor, COA rules

May 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a Shelby County man successfully argued that signing an “Advisement of Rights and Waiver” document did not bar him from appealing his sentence, he failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court abused its discretion when sentencing him.
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Court erred in barring expert witness in decade-old software suit

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred when it excluded the expert testimony of a witness who sought to address damages for a software company whose former employees allegedly violated non-compete clauses.
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COA affirms mom’s termination of rights despite ‘clean screen’ given to judge

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Indianapolis mother with a history of drug abuse and domestic violence failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the termination of her parental rights, even though she introduced herself to the presiding judge after oral arguments and had a student deliver to the judge evidence of a clean drug screen taken a day earlier.
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Mobile home park's occupancy rate not enough to reduce property assessment

May 6, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A low occupancy rate alone did not provide the owner of a mobile home community with the evidence it needed to get its property assessment reduced.
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Tax Court denies excess levy sought by IndyGo

May 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis’ public transit system lost a bid in the Indiana Tax Court to recover a budget shortfall that the Department of Local Government Finance ruled did not exist.
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Store owner’s ‘Spice law’ prosecution may proceed, COA rules

May 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
The state may press criminal charges under the state’s synthetic drug law against a Hamilton County defendant who unsuccessfully argued to the Indiana Court of Appeals that the law was vague and represents an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the Board of Pharmacy.
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Justices will visit Lake County for arguments in drug case

May 3, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Merrillville High School May 9 for oral arguments dealing with the admittance of drug evidence after a vehicle search.
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Clothing labels and security tags not considered hearsay evidence

May 2, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that clothing from the store H & M that bore the company name and security tags attached to the clothing could be admitted at a woman’s trial for theft from the store on Black Friday.
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COA: Successive Prosecution Statute not applicable to theft case

May 2, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Howard Superior judge properly refused to dismiss theft charges against a man because, despite the defendant’s arguments to the contrary, the Howard County charges were not previously prosecuted in Miami County.
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Justices order new molestation trial after nurse’s statements admitted improperly

May 2, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling that statements two 6-year-olds made regarding alleged molestation to a nurse should not have been admitted under the hearsay exception in Ind. Rule of Evidence 803(4), the Indiana Supreme Court reversed two child molesting convictions and ordered a new trial.
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