Indiana Court of Appeals

COA: Judge can cite statutes and facts not in CHINS petition

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a Hendricks Superior judge didn’t step outside his authority when referencing statutes and facts not specifically cited in a Department of Child Services petition alleging two minor boys were Children in Need of Services.
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Defining decisions on legal lexicon

July 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A single word might determine the fate of a case before one of Indiana’s highest courts, so it’s no surprise that judges will often turn to dictionaries to help interpret what a word and statute might mean.
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Court orders new arson trial

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for a man convicted of arson because the trial court erred in letting the state amend the charging information after it had read the original charges to the jury.
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COA turns to dictionary in contract dispute

June 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Citing Black’s Law Dictionary’s definitions of “solicit” and “induce,” the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s finding that a software company did not violate terms of its contract with another business.
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Court of Appeals dismisses termination-order appeal

June 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Because the parents of six children who were removed from their home did not timely initiate the appeal of termination of their parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed their appeal.
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Judge: Man did not knowingly waive right to counsel

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge raised six points in a dissent Monday as to why he disagreed with his colleagues’ decision to affirm the revocation of a man’s probation based on the conclusion that the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to counsel.
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Appellate court divided over trust liability

June 27, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split Monday in a probate suit involving whether trustees failed to distribute a portion of the trust corpus in a timely manner. The majority upheld finding the trustees liable, but ordered a re-evaluation of compensatory damages and attorney fees.
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COA: filing of commitment report is a procedural requirement

June 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether the timely filing of a doctor’s report in an involuntary commitment is a jurisdictional prerequisite or a procedural requirement.
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Justices discuss jury unanimity in molestation cases

June 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court addressed the issue of unanimous jury verdicts in child molesting cases Thursday, and adopted reasoning from the California Supreme Court when dealing with the “either/or” rule in cases where multiple instances are mentioned but the defendant faces only one charge.
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Group can't challenge high school closure

June 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a parent and taxpayer group’s legal challenge to the closing of a Fort Wayne school, finding the decision doesn’t violate the state constitution.
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COA splits on reversing convictions for Batson violation

June 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant’s convictions, including attempted battery with a deadly weapon, finding the state’s explanations for striking the only African-American from the jury were pretextual and purposeful discrimination.
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Panel to oversee transition of toxicology department

June 22, 2011
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed a three-member panel to oversee the transition of the department of toxicology to the State of Indiana from Indiana University School of Medicine. The panel will begin work immediately, Daniels’ office reported June 21.
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Court won't recognize non-fiduciary liability

June 21, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana doesn’t allow people to sue when they’ve had corporate opportunities taken away by business partners who’ve gone off and formed new partnerships with others, and the state Court of Appeals declined to decide whether non-fiduciaries can be held liable for usurping corporate opportunity.
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Supreme Court aligns with trial court in dog-attack case

June 21, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed a trial court judge’s finding that the city of Evansville and its animal control division are not liable in a dog attack that seriously injured a boy.
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COA to travel to Terre Haute to hear arguments

June 21, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Cynthia Welch v. Shawn Young, et al., at 2:30 p.m. June 23 at Indiana State University’s Tirey Hall, Tilson Auditorium. Judges John G. Baker, Edward W. Najam, Jr., and Melissa S. May will hear the case before a group of teenagers participating in Hoosier Girls State.
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Court hears appeal over state's objections

June 17, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
A man who appealed his burglary conviction over the state’s objection did not fully understand the terms of his plea agreement, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday.
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COA vacates conviction on double jeopardy grounds

June 17, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a man who helped participate in a robbery that left the victim blind must be cleared of a criminal confinement conviction because the same evidence may have been used to convict him on another charge.
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Justices address incompetent defendants in 2 cases

June 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court handed down two opinions Tuesday in which the defendants, who were found to be incompetent at some point, argued that pending charges violated their rights to due process on fundamental-fairness grounds.
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Appellate court upholds motion to suppress after traffic stop

June 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge that a police officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion to stop a driver believed to be intoxicated.
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Judges to travel to Angola for arguments

June 14, 2011
IL Staff
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges will hear arguments in a contempt of court case Wednesday in northeast Indiana.
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COA reverses worker's comp board on prescription drug denial

June 13, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a finding by the state Worker’s Compensation Board that a woman’s employer isn’t responsible for providing a specific prescription drug to her, noting that the board only focused on one possible reason why the drug is prescribed.
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Judges affirm motion to suppress after illegal police entry

June 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge wrote a separate opinion in an unlawful arrest case, emphasizing that the facts before the court differ from those before the Indiana Supreme Court justices in Barnes v. State.
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COA reverses judgment for apartment manager in negligence case

June 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In ruling on a slip-and-fall case involving injury occurring in an apartment complex parking lot during the winter, the Indiana Court of Appeals noted that there are not any Indiana cases with an identical fact pattern, so they looked to a similar Missouri case for guidance.
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COA rules on public utility issues

June 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission finding United States Steel Corp. acted as a public utility when it delivered electricity and natural gas to another steel producer in northwestern Indiana.
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Judges rule on legal malpractice action

June 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a man has standing to pursue his legal malpractice action, although issues of material fact preclude him from summary judgment as to the attorney’s liability for malpractice.
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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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