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Court tosses man's stalking conviction

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Simply parking on a public street and watching someone's home doesn't alone fall within the definition of "impermissible" conduct and can't be considered stalking, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In a case of first impression, the appellate panel ruled 2-1 on Donald D. Vanhorn v. State of Indiana, 84-A01-0711-CR-505, overturning the Terre Haute man's conviction for felony stalking. At issue in the case was the interplay between "harassment" and "impermissible contact" and whether enough evidence existed to support a stalking conviction.Donald...
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Court: S.C. decision not retroactive

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
In a case of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today that retroactivity doesn't apply to a year-old Indiana Supreme Court decision that held charging information must be amended within 30 days before the omnibus date.As a result of the ruling, a Hendricks County man convicted of child molesting doesn't get relief.At issue in Terry Leatherwood's appeal in Terry Leatherwood v. State of Indiana, No. 32A05-0710-PC-573, is whether the post-conviction court erred in refusing to apply the holding of Fajardo...
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Newest COA judge's robing ceremony Friday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The newest Indiana Court of Appeals judge will formally join the court Friday. Judge Elaine Brown's robing ceremony will be in the courtroom of the Indiana Supreme Court. Judge Brown's first day on the court was May 5. Chief Judge John Baker will preside over the ceremony, and Gov. Mitch Daniels will join Judge Brown's family, colleagues, and special guests to administer the oath of office. Judge Brown was named to the Indiana Court of Appeals by Gov. Daniels earlier this...
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Indiana RICO Act applies to 'foot soldiers'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Supreme Court decision Feb. 27 regarding the state's racketeering laws creates a larger net of potential defendants that can be charged under it. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that under Indiana's RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act, a person can be implicated under the state act even if he or she doesn't participate in directing the racketeering activity. In Linda Keesling, Harold Lephart, et al. v. Frederick Beegle III, John Bucholtz, et al., No. 18S04-0704-CV-150, the high court accepted...
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Supreme Court grants 2 transfers

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted two transfers Thursday for cases originating in Evansville - one involves a shopping center and access to a public thoroughfare, and the other deals with the failure to make payments for the modification of a Web site. In State of Indiana v. Kimco of Evansville Inc., et al., No. 82A01-0607-CV-301, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a $2.3 million jury award that stemmed from a road project in 2000 impacting a shopping plaza along State Road...
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Judge: Prisoner suit can proceed

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
  A federal judge has decided a state prison inmate can proceed with his lawsuit against a Department of Correction official and food service provider, claiming that both denied him enough food to stay healthy and went against a medically prescribed diet restricting onions.U.S. District Judge William Lee in South Bend ordered March 11 that Joshua Ketchem be allowed to proceed with his suit filed in January 2007. The case is Joshua Ketchum v. J. David Donahue, et al., No. 3:07-CV-316 WL.A prisoner...
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Attorneys urged to learn court technology

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Ever worried about what happens if you don't know, understand, or use courtroom technology correctly in preparing for trial?A new video from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana offers a glimpse into the possibilities, from the dramatic portrayal of a federal judge dozing off during trial to a nervous attorney sweating profusely in court when jurors and courtroom staff can't hear him.After updating its Web site and revising a video on the Video Evidence Presentation System late...
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SCOTUS makes history, shoots down gun ban

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Answering a 217-year-old constitutional question, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a historic ruling this morning that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to have a gun in his or her home.The ideologically split 5-4 decision in District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller, No. 07-290, struck down a city handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and defined the scope of the gun rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the 21st century.Specific to this case, the court affirmed a Circuit Court ruling...
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Judges disagree over 'access' in statute

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges were split in their ruling today on a man who was convicted of performance harmful to minors, with the majority affirming the conviction.In Frederick A. Zitlaw v. State of Indiana, No. 29A05-0701-CR-35, Zitlaw appealed the trial court's denial of his motion to dismiss the performance harmful to minors charge, a Class D felony. A Hamilton County sheriff's deputy saw Zitlaw expose himself in a public park. The probable cause affidavit alleged children were present in the park....
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Court sponsors Northwest Ordinance lecture

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court is sponsoring a lecture celebrating the 221st anniversary of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and the legal issues related to Indiana's southern borders established by the ordinance. The lecture will begin at 3 p.m. on July 14.Seating in the Supreme Court's courtroom for "221 Years of Unsettled Borders: Indiana and the Northwest Ordinance" is no longer available for the free lecture, but a monitor and overflow seating will be available in the atrium area, as well as...
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Larry Bird sues over use of name

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Former college and NBA basketball star and current president of basketball operations of the Indiana Pacers Larry Bird has filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court against the owners of his childhood home. Bird filed the suit, Larry Bird v. Legend of French Lick LLC, No. 4:08-CV-0070-DFH-WGH, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division Monday against Georgianna Lincoln and Christopher Cooke, who purchased Bird's childhood home in French Lick from the Larry Joe Bird Revocable...
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Election choices fade for Marion Superior Court

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Three unslated contenders for Marion Superior judgeships have withdrawn their names from the May primary ballot, including two sitting judges who between them have almost a half-century of judicial experience.By the noon deadline on Feb. 25, incumbent Marion Superior Judges Kenneth H. Johnson and Gary L. Miller withdrew their names after filing their candidacies late last week. Both were overlooked at the county Republican Party's slating convention Feb. 16.Indianapolis attorney Angela Dow Davis, who'd filed to run against the Democrats' slate also chosen...
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Justices to demonstrate electronic ticketing

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Two Indiana Supreme Court justices will be on hand in Indianapolis tomorrow for a demonstration of a new, statewide electronic ticketing system.Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan will join Indianapolis Public Safety Director Scott Newman and law enforcement to show how the new system will work. Called eCWS - electronic Citation and Warning System - the new mobile system allows police to create tickets electronically and send them to a central location for law enforcement, prosecutors, and courts...
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International law CLE to be webcast

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A free CLE program featuring discussion about the international prosecution of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity will take place in the Indiana Supreme Court's Courtroom from 3 to 4:30 p.m. May 7. Event organizers have received enough RSVPs to fill the room, but stand-by reservations are still being accepted as of today for what planners say is a short waiting list so far.This program has been approved for 1.5 CLE credit hours. For those unable to make it, there...
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ICADV celebrates merger anniversary

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Protective Order Pro Bono Project is celebrating its first anniversary of the merger with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Since the two groups merged in July 2007, the project has served more than 1,500 new clients seeking protective orders and completed more than 2,600 contacts or services for clients. Kerry Hyatt Blomquist, legal director of the project, has reviewed more than 100 cases and represented 70 cases. The project is divided into two programs: the Protective Order Project, which...
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Court urges early review of offender litigation

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana state prison inmate has filed dozens of lawsuits with claims that a painful odor violated his constitutional rights, he's been repeatedly denied access to public records, victimized by excessive force, and not given proper treatment behind bars.The Indiana Appellate Clerk's Office has 35 of Eric D. Smith's appeals, most being civil suits that include one decided today, and six that remain pending awaiting action.Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed one of the 29-year-old's string of suits and the...
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Child support abatement starts on petition date

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order setting the date in which an incarcerated man can receive an abatement in his child support, finding the date the man filed his order was when it could be first applied. The ruling could open the door for the Indiana Supreme Court to decide when an abatement can take effect.In In re the marriage of: Gary Becker v. Heather Becker, No. 49A04-0804-CV-205, Gary Becker appealed the trial court order modifying his...
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Justices to hear 'robocalls' arguments Monday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court travels to Terre Haute Monday for arguments in a case dealing with "robocalls." The issue in State of Indiana v. American Family Voices, Inc., Jim Gonzalez, and John Does 2-10, is whether pre-recorded, automated "robocalls" with political content can be limited under Indiana's Automatic Dialing Machine Statute, Indiana Code Section 24-5-14-5.The case stems from complaints about American Family Voices' use of automated calls; the attorney general's office filed an action against the group in September 2006 in...
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Judges rule on marital property division

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Trial courts that order parties to sell marital residences can take into account any needed repairs and costs associated with selling residences when figuring the value, as long as those amounts are based on evidence in the record, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.A unanimous three-judge appellate panel ruled today in David Keown v. Cynthia Marie Keown, No. 49A02-0706-CV-496, a Marion County case in which the ex-husband challenged a trial court's decision in recalculating the value of the marital residence as...
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Two Indy firms join 'green' initiative

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
Two central Indiana law firms have been recognized by the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce as being "green." Bose McKinney & Evans and Ice Miller were accepted into the chamber's new Green Business initiative along with four other businesses. The initiative requires applicants to meet certain requirements - be a current member of the chamber, be at least a bronze member of the Central Indiana Clean Air Partnership, and complete an application for review. In addition, members of the Green Business...
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Justice encourages judicial applications

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
An Indiana Supreme Court justice is in South Bend today to actively encourage attorneys to apply for an opening on the St. Joseph Superior Court that will be available when Judge William T. Means retires Sept. 30."Being a judge is a challenging but enormously gratifying way for an attorney to use all of his or her legal skills in a way that improves both the quality of life in our community and the quality of justice in our state," Justice Frank...
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Merged conviction violates double jeopardy

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals vacated a defendant's conviction of conspiracy to deal methamphetamine because it violated Indiana's double jeopardy law, but the court affirmed his conviction and sentence for dealing methamphetamine. In today's ruling in Robert R. Gregory Jr. v. State of Indiana, No. 15A01-0708-CR-348, Gregory raised several issues on appeal, arguing evidence supporting his convictions was obtained before police had a valid search warrant, a witness's testimony shouldn't have been allowed at trial, there was prosecutorial misconduct, and his...
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Court: private cause of action allowed

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Tackling an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals determined the "Equal Access Law" in Indiana Code creates a private cause of action for bail agents. In Dave Galloway in his capacity as Hendricks County Sheriff v. David Hadley, d/b/a D & D Bonding, No. 32A-04-0707-CV-400, Galloway appealed the trial court order granting Hadley a preliminary injunction against the use of a "preferred agent list" by the Hendricks County Sheriff's Department. The list contains the names of preferred bail agents,...
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Tax Court upholds agency's loan decision

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Tax Court has upheld a state agency's decision approving loans to fund fire department operations in a Morgan County township.In Virginia Perry and Gregg Terhune, et al. v. Indiana Department of Local Government Finance, et al., No. 49T10-0712-TA-78, the court affirmed the DLGF's approval of two Madison Township loans - a reduced $409,000 emergency amount for operating expenses and $650,000 for new vehicles and equipment - that the petitioning taxpayers didn't want to pay for in 2007. Those taxpayers argued...
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Court: Evidence needed to enforce CID

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Attorney General must provide at least a verified petition to a court to enforce a civil investigative demand and show the demand is proper, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.In Nu-Sash of Indianapolis, Inc. d/b/a McKee Sunroom Designs v. Steve Carter, Indiana Attorney General, and Liberty Publishing, Inc. d/b/a Booster Club Productions, No. 49S02-0801-CV-16, Nu-Sash appealed a trial court order that the company respond within 10 days to a civil investigative demand (CID) issued by Attorney General Steve Carter regarding...
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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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