Lake County

Woman’s 35-year sentence upheld following death of stepson

November 6, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior judge did not abuse her discretion in sentencing a woman to 35 years for neglect of a dependent after the woman’s stepson died following years of abuse.
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Former Lake County clerk’s convictions upheld by 7th Circuit

October 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Thomas R. Philpot, the former Lake County clerk convicted of taking more than $24,000 in federal funds earmarked for child support and using that money to pay himself bonuses, will not receive a new trial, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held this week.
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Cappas appointed Lake Superior judge

October 4, 2013
IL Staff
Longtime Highland criminal defense attorney Sam Cappas has been appointed judge in the Lake Superior Criminal Division.
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Failure to object to anonymous jury not ineffective assistance

September 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of murdering his 39-week-pregnant estranged wife cannot claim he received ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to object to an anonymous jury, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Small-claims change of judge time limit further divides appellate courts

September 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
How long a small-claims court litigant has to request a change of judge is a question that divided a Court of Appeals panel Monday, where a majority found that an earlier appellate panel majority got it wrong. The dissenting judge authored the prior opinion, and said it shouldn’t be disturbed even if it may have been wrongly decided.
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Battle over RTW heats up in courts

September 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
When Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia handed Indiana’s right-to-work law a pink slip, conventional wisdom held that the Indiana Supreme Court would overturn that decision and put the law back to work.
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Longest-serving Lake Superior judge takes leave

September 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
The longest-serving Lake Superior judge is stepping aside, at least temporarily, effective today, according to an order of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Stopped traffic snarls purse snatcher’s getaway scheme

September 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the getaway car moved only a few feet after being stopped by police, a man in the passenger seat still was properly convicted of resisting law enforcement because he instructed the driver of the car to “take off.”
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Man extradited from Wyoming on many charges not denied speedy trial

September 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man who twice escaped incarceration in Indiana and was extradited to face a multitude of charges after he was convicted in Wyoming failed to convince appellate judges he had been denied a speedy trial.
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Appeals panel reinstates claims of capacity, undue influence in trust dispute

August 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A family feud involving half-siblings contesting the trust bequeathed by their mother was improperly disposed of through summary judgment, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
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Refusal to remove biased board member ends potential administrative remedies

June 25, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
After finding that the exhaustion of administrative remedies was excused for a company seeking to operate a stone quarry because a drainage board member was biased against the project, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled the trial court acquired subject matter jurisdiction and properly denied the board member’s motion to dismiss.
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Supreme Court kicks ‘buyer beware’ vs. disclosure case back to trial court

June 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Lake County dispute over whether a buyer or seller is responsible for a few thousand dollars worth of home defects is headed back to the trial court after a divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a legal do-over.
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Weinberger cases settle for $55M

June 24, 2013
Dave Stafford
Hundreds of patients of a former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor serving a seven-year federal sentence for health-care fraud will be compensated for their medical malpractice claims through a $55 million settlement.
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Stefaniak to become new Lake County juvenile court judge

June 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
Judge Thomas Stefaniak will take over the juvenile court in Lake County, ending a months-long dispute over the judgeship that involved the intervention of the Indiana Supreme Court.
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Justices block Schiralli’s Lake County bench transfer

May 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court blocked the transfer of a judge who sought to replace former Lake Superior Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura after her appointment to head the Department of Child Services.
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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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Sullivan: Mediation between Lake County judges, magistrates fails

May 9, 2013
IL Staff
Mediation ordered by the Indiana Supreme Court failed to settle a dispute among Lake County judges over a juvenile court vacancy, according to a report filed Wednesday by the former justice who tried to resolve the matter.
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Drug court road trip to make northern Indiana stops

May 3, 2013
IL Staff
A national tour highlighting the successes of drug courts and other problem-solving courts will make stops at two northern Indiana drug courts this month.
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Women Lawyers Association to honor Rush, female jurists

April 24, 2013
IL Staff
The Lake County-based Women Lawyers Association will pay tribute to Indiana Justice Loretta Rush, the state’s second female justice, during a reception next month.
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Lake County bench brawl

April 10, 2013
Dave Stafford
Mediation is ordered as the fight over Bonaventura vacancy goes public and exposes strife.
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Lake County murder conviction affirmed

April 4, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Lake Superior trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give an accused murderer’s proposed jury instruction regarding the presumption of innocence, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Disciplinary commission seeks suspension of former clerk’s law license

April 3, 2013
IL Staff
More than a month after former Lake County clerk Thomas R. Philpot was sentenced to serve 18 months for theft and mail fraud convictions, the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission has requested his law license be suspended by the Supreme Court.
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Sullivan to mediate Lake Superior judge dispute

April 1, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Justice Frank Sullivan will mediate a dispute over a Lake Superior Court judgeship vacancy, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Monday.
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Judges reduce sentence due to ineffective trial counsel

March 27, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday ordered a Lake Superior court to resentence a man to 23 years for his convictions stemming from a drunken-driving accident that killed another man. Joseph Scott’s trial attorney was ineffective because he failed to inform Scott of the correct maximum sentence he could face.
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Lake County judge pro tem appointed to fill Bonaventura vacancy

March 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
Senior Judge Thomas W. Webber Sr. was appointed a judge pro tem late Friday as the Indiana Supreme Court intervened further in a controversy over who will be the next judge of the Lake Superior Court Juvenile Division.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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