Indiana Court of Appeals

COA upholds termination of Bloomington high school teacher

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that substantial evidence supported the decision by the school board to end Bloomington High School South teacher Stephen Smith’s contract, and that the board followed proper procedures in canceling the contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s affirmation of the board’s decision.
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Court upholds Sturgis’ conviction for murder of son

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
St. Joseph County resident Jerry L. Sturgis Sr. lost his appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday that challenged convictions stemming from the beatings and abuse of three of his children, leading to the death of his 10-year-old son in 2011.
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Mother not denied due process by denial of motion for continuance

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother living in Florida was not denied due process when her motion to continue a termination hearing involving her three children, who were determined to be in need of services in Indiana, was denied by the Cass Circuit Court, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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COA orders new trial for man who represented himself

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a defendant did not knowingly or intelligently waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday ordered a new trial on strangulation and domestic battery charges.
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Nursing home can’t collect from estate under doctrine of necessaries

June 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Connersville nursing home can’t seek to collect on expenses for a patient after her death from the estate of her husband under the doctrine of necessaries, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the facility didn’t first seek to collect from the patient.
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COA reaffirms separate convictions for check theft not warranted

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the state’s petition for rehearing in a case in which the defendant stole checks from a man’s mailbox, but affirmed its original decision that the taking of the checks and what the defendant did with them constituted a single continuing act of theft.
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Judge: School corp.’s inattentiveness doesn’t support benefits reversal

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals was split Wednesday over whether a notice sent regarding a hearing on unemployment benefits required reversing the grant of benefits because the employer found the notice confusing.
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Resisting law enforcement conviction reduced due to double jeopardy violation

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A post-conviction court “clearly erred” when it found a man’s trial attorney did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. The judges ordered the court to reduce Timmy Zieman’s Class C felony resisting law enforcement conviction to a Class D felony because of a violation of double jeopardy principles.
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Evidence supports felony inmate fraud conviction

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a defendant obtained a future interest in bail money as well as his release from prison – which constitute property under Indiana law – the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld Elnesto Ray Valle’s Class C felony inmate fraud conviction. Valle convinced a stranger to pay his bail.
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Sex Offender Registration Act not ex post facto as applied to Perry County man

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a petition to remove a convicted child molester from the sex offender registry, finding the Sex Offender Registration Act is non-punitive as applied to him.
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Man convicted in 1963 of murder not diligent in pursuing appeal

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has denied George Cole’s petition for permission to file a belated notice of appeal following his 1963 murder conviction of a cab driver in Indianapolis and life sentence.
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COA affirms trial court dismissal of judicial review but differs on reasoning

June 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An Allen Superior judge’s determination that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear a zoning issue, thus requiring dismissal, was erroneous, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But the judges affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the case because of a lack of supporting materials and a late request for a filing deadline extension.
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Appeals court upholds woman’s sentence for treatment of cats

June 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Fort Wayne woman who kept more than 100 cats between two properties in deplorable conditions had her sentence for multiple counts of criminal mischief and animal cruelty upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges declined to revise her sentence because it was appropriate given her character and the nature of the offense.
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Injured man who sued estate can only recover insurance policy limits

June 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who was injured in an auto accident with a woman who died the following year cannot recover any funds from her estate, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. But the trial court didn’t err in denying the estate’s motion to amend the jury award, because it is a valid judgment despite that the man can only recover funds available under the policy limits of the woman’s insurance policy.
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Summary judgment affirmed for casino in collapsing chair suit

June 21, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The manufacturer of a chair that came down on a patron’s leg as she sat on it appealed the denial of its summary judgment on the woman’s complaint, arguing the northern Indiana casino shouldn’t have been granted summary judgment. The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed Friday, but ordered more proceedings on Horseshoe Casino’s third-party complaint against Gasser Chair Co.
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Court upholds public intoxication conviction

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A man who refused to leave the side of a friend’s mother after she was hit while crossing the street in Indianapolis had his conviction of Class B misdemeanor public intoxication upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The court found sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.
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Man’s claims that protective sweep, search are unconstitutional fail

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A protective sweep and subsequent search of a house following the issuance of a search warrant were reasonable under the federal and state constitutions, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. The defendant argued that the scope of the sweep – which led to the discovery of drugs and paraphernalia – was impermissibly broad.
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COA reverses denial of petition to dismiss protective order

June 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Jackson Superior Court erred in denying a couple’s request to dismiss a protective order the wife had taken out against her husband, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the statute contains the word “shall” regarding the court’s actions when one files for a dismissal of the protective order.
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Although Miranda rights were violated, physical evidence still admissible

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although a man’s incriminating statements made while sitting in a police car should have been suppressed, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the error was harmless because the physical evidence seized was sufficient to sustain his convictions.
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Court can’t modify mortgage without both parties’ consent

June 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court doesn’t have the authority to modify a mortgage agreement without the consent of both parties participating in a settlement conference if they don’t agree to the terms of a foreclosure prevention agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Trial court errs in granting motion regarding doctors’ contract dispute

June 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a cardiologist’s breach of contract complaint may have been “unartfully drafted,” but it still adequately stated a claim for tortious interference with a contract.
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COA rules in favor of tax sale bidder in dispute over property

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered that tax deeds be reinstated and reversed summary judgment and a decree of foreclosure in favor of a bank in a combined appeal over foreclosed property in Elkhart County.
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Mother should have used Admin. Rule 9 in attempt to change name anonymously

June 13, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of a mother’s request to sidestep the notice requirements in her quest to change her name and the names of her two children anonymously because she wanted to avoid detection from her abusive partner. The appeals court noted that Administrative Rule 9 would have given her the opportunity to proceed anonymously.
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Appeals court reinstates proposed med mal complaint

June 12, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a Hendricks County court didn’t have jurisdiction to dismiss a man’s proposed complaint for damages under Trial Rule 41(E) or based on noncompliance under the Medical Malpractice Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday reinstated the proposed complaint.
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Judges order more proceedings in low-income apartment tax credit case

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Because there are genuine issues of material fact regarding claims made against apartment management company Flaherty & Collins in a complaint alleging fraud and other charges dealing with renting apartments to people who did not qualify based on income requirements, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered more proceedings on the case.
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  1. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  2. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  3. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  4. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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