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Court: Attorney mistake 'inexcusable neglect'

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a woman's appeal following the denial of Social Security benefits because the woman's attorney failed to file the appeal in time under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.In Janet L. McCarty v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, No. 07-2104, Janet McCarty's application for disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income was denied by the Social Security Administration and an administrative law judge.She appealed to the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of...
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State can't cross-appeal sentence under rule

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The state may not cross-appeal a sentence for an abuse of discretion or inappropriateness unless the defendant appeals his or her sentence in the appellant's brief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. The issue of the state filing a cross-appeal of a sentence is a matter of first impression. In Steven McCullough v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0711-CR-931, Steven McCullough filed an appeal of his convictions of two counts of criminal confinement, battery, and the finding he was a habitual offender....
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Court: Nontestimonial statements allowed at trial

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Statements to police made by a woman who accused a defendant of hitting her should have been admissible during the defendant's trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled April 25.The appellate court determined statements made by Keyona Brooks, in which she said defendant Tracey Lamont Martin struck her in the face while they were fighting in the car before he drove off with her children, should have been considered nontestimonial, and thus admissible at trial.Brooks was not available to testify at Martin's trial...
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Court rules on 'nude in front yard' case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Though the front yard of your home may not be considered a "public place," state law prohibits you from standing there naked because that nudity would be visible from a public street or sidewalk, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.In Chad A. Weideman v. State of Indiana, No. 87A01-0801-CR-51, a unanimous three-judge panel determined that Indiana's public nudity statute, Indiana Code Section 35-45-4-1.5(c), is not unconstitutionally vague, but the state failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that a Warrick County...
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SCOTUS quiet on money-laundering case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The nation's highest court hasn't yet ruled on an East Chicago case involving money laundering, but that could be because justices are waiting to hear a similar case before making a decision.Indianapolis attorney Todd Vare with Barnes & Thornburg argued before the Supreme Court of the United States Oct. 3, but so far the court hasn't issued a decision on U.S. v. Efrain Santos, No. 06-1005.Ten of the 14 cases argued that month have been ruled on, as well as other...
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UPDATE: SCOTUS limits pro se rights

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that a state may require a criminal defendant who suffers from a mental illness to have a lawyer rather than allowing that person to act as his or her own defense counsel, even when the individual is competent to be tried.Vacating an Indiana Supreme Court ruling from more than a year ago, the nation's highest court today issued its 7-2 ruling in Indiana v. Ahmad Edwards, No. 07-208. Justices remanded the case to Marion Superior Court...
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Mental health, criminal justice training set

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana is hosting later this month its Mental Health and Criminal Justice Training program, which is geared toward attorneys, judges, correctional officers, mental-health providers, and others to educate them about mental illness.Session topics include "Categories of Mental Illness," "The View from Inside," and "Interacting and Communicating with Persons with a Mental Illness." Speakers include Dr. George Parker, medical director of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addictions, and Timothy Lines, Ph.D., chief psychologist and...
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Deputy Allen County prosecutor dies

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
A deputy Allen County prosecutor died suddenly March 16 after a short illness. John William Archer was 58. Archer, a lifelong Hoosier, was born in Hartford City and earned his bachelor's degree at Wabash College. He earned his J.D. at Valparaiso University School of Law. He spent 20 years in the Allen County Prosecutor's Office and served as section head of the misdemeanor court. Prior to that, he owned Ruby Red Hot Records, a reflection of his love of music. He is survived...
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Tax fraud lands attorney in prison

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
An Indianapolis personal injury lawyer will spend time in prison for committing tax fraud by underreporting his income.U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney of the Southern District's Indianapolis Division sentenced Robert E. Lehman to eight months in prison and six months of home detention after he pleaded guilty to making a false federal income tax return.Lehman filed false personal income tax returns with the IRS in 2002, 2003, and 2004, by understating his business income. When he paid his clients from...
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Update: Confirmation doesn't stop court business

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Business is going on as usual this morning for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, despite a historic moment that's happened in the court.The U.S. Senate voted unanimously about 5 p.m. Thursday to confirm Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence as a federal judge, meaning he'll be the Southern District's first-ever magistrate to be elevated to the constitutionally established Article III judge status.Senators took a break from discussion on wiretapping to talk about judicial nominations, and held a roll-call vote...
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Marion County public defender arrested

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A Marion County public defender faces felony charges after being arrested Sunday following an undercover child sex sting by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.Ryan Snyder, 29, was arrested about noon on the south side of Indianapolis, according to a police report. He is accused of using the Internet to set up a meeting with a 15-year-old girl for sex, the report said. A detective posed as the teenager and arrested him, as well as another man during the weekend sting. Police...
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Jury: Ex-Ball State officer not liable in shooting

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A federal jury decided in less than three hours that a former Ball State University police officer isn't liable in the fatal shooting of a drunken, unarmed student four years ago.An eight-person jury returned Monday evening with a verdict in about 2 ½ hours, after hearing 10 days of arguments and testimony in the case of McKinney v. Robert Duplain in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. Jurors determined that Duplain wasn't liable for Michael McKinney's death.More than 50 people - mostly...
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Transfer granted in cleanup liability case

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer Wednesday in a case involving environmental cleanup costs and which party would be liable to incur those costs. At issue in Dreaded Inc., v. St. Paul Guardian Insurance Co., et al., No. 49A02-0701-CV-78, is whether St. Paul is liable for environmental cleanup defense costs incurred prior to receiving notice of potential liability from Dreaded about an environmental claim. Dreaded received a claim letter in 2000 from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management demanding the company do...
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COA: Defendant had imperfect, yet fair trial

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Defendants are entitled to fair trials, not perfect ones, and the imperfections of one defendant's trial didn't deprive him of a fair trial, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals. The court upheld the murder conviction of John Myers II, who was convicted two years ago of killing IU student Jill Behrman in 2000. Authoring Judge Cale Bradford wrote in the 44-page opinion, John R. Myers II v. State of Indiana, No. 55A05-0703-CR-148, the court acknowledges there were certain discrete imperfections at Myers'...
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Court split on non-compete geography

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Geography is the main sticking point that has split the Indiana Supreme Court on determining reasonableness of non-compete covenants as they relate to physicians and medical practices.With its 3-2 ruling March 11 in Central Indiana Podiatry v. Kenneth Krueger, Meridian Health Group PC, No. 29S05-0706-CV-256, the court held that employment contracts between doctors and medical practice groups don't absolutely go against public policy and are enforceable if written reasonably.But views on what's "geographically reasonable" in the latter part of the holding is what...
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COA: teacher within rights in striking student

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
Relying on caselaw from the 19th century, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a trial court's decision to dismiss a battery charge against a teacher for striking a student in gym class. Judges Patricia Riley and Melissa May agreed with the trial court in State of Indiana v. Paula J. Fettig, No. 49A02-0709-CR-807, that gym teacher Fettig was protected from prosecution because state statute gives authority to school personnel to discipline students. Citing Indiana Code Sections 20-33-8-8(b) and 20-33-8-9, Judge Riley wrote...
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Appellate judges to visit Jeffersonville

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The three-judge panel of L. Mark Bailey, Cale Bradford, and Melissa May travel to southern Indiana to hear arguments before the Sherman Minton Inns of Court in Jeffersonville on April 9. The judges will hear the case Indiana Department of Natural Resources v. Lake George Cottagers Association, No.76A03-0708-CV-381, at 5:30 p.m. at the banquet hall Kye's I, 500 Missouri Ave., Jeffersonville. At issue is who owns the land beneath a dam - the state or the Cottagers Association - and who...
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COA: Husband not entitled to judgment relief

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order granting a husband relief from judgment because the order modified the parties' original property settlement, which wasn't allowed under Indiana Statute or Trial Rule 60(B). In Janet L. Dillard v. Donald S. Dillard, No. 36A01-0712-CV-606, Donald Dillard filed for divorce from his wife, Janet Dillard, in July 2006. The parties agreed in December 2006 to a property settlement, which stipulated the marital home would be sold and Donald would receive 25 percent...
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Appeals court in Valparaiso Monday

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Valparaiso Monday in a case involving an automobile accident and the statute of limitations to amend a complaint.The panel of Judges John Sharpnack, Nancy Vaidik, and Michael Barnes will be asked to decide in Tim Sinks v. Krista L. Caughey, 49A04-0709-CV-502, whether the trial court erred in denying Sinks' motion to dismiss and allowing Caughey to amend her complaint. Caughey was rear-ended by a pickup truck, and she relied on the information...
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Report: Hoosier tort system 'salvageable'

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Indiana's tort system ranks 22nd nationally but is on the way to doing a better job because of laws on the books, according to a comparative study released today by a California research group.The non-profit Pacific Research Institute compared the legal climates of all 50 states' tort systems in its report U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2008 Report http://special.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/2008/Tort_Index/. A co-author says the group hopes the rankings will encourage state officials and residents to enact tort reforms, or to enforce and defend...
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Court decides Carmel mining case

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
More than a year after hearing arguments in a Carmel mining-regulation case, the Indiana Supreme Court decided Thursday that municipalities can regulate mining and don't have to rely on a zoning process to do so.The unanimous decision came in City of Carmel v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., No. 29S04-0611-CV-469. Justice Frank Sullivan authored the ruling in Carmel's favor after considering the validity of a 2005 city ordinance exerting control over the 50-year-old mining operation by regulating issues such as the mine's hours...
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Court: business license fee not a tax

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed summary judgment for the city of Hammond, where an attorney who practices law there contested an ordinance that would charge a fee to have a business license. The lawyer claimed the fee was tantamount to a tax.In the opinion, David Paul Allen v. City of Hammond, 45A03-0708-CV-372, it states that on July 28, 2005, Allen filed a complaint for declaratory judgment against the city to invalidate the ordinance requiring businesses to have a license....
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Breaking: Court suspends Marion Superior judge

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Marion Superior Judge Grant Hawkins from the bench until the court is able to decide his final penalty resulting from a disciplinary action against him.Justices issued an order this afternoon suspending Judge Hawkins with pay, effective today. A second order appoints Indianapolis attorney James Osborn as judge pro tempore until justices issue a final resolution. Osborn was elected this year as a new Marion Superior judge and is slated to take the bench in January.This is the...
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UPDATE: Senate acting on magistrate's confirmation

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
The U.S. Senate is about to vote on whether a federal magistrate in Indianapolis will be elevated to a constitutionally established judgeship. The senators started to voted after 4:30 p.m. Around 4:15 p.m. the senators started discussing the nominees in executive session. The session can last up to an hour, after which they will come back for a public confirmation vote. Just before 4 p.m., the U.S. Senate took a break from discussion on wiretapping to move on judicial nominations. A unanimous confirmation appeared on...
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Pro golfer's lawyer promotes new initiative

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
You don't have to be a golf fan to have an interest in the recent PGA tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Course in California.Indianapolis lawyer Joseph Champion at law firm Bingham McHale has a key connection to that tournament and the winning golf pro, Steve Lowry, who walked away with a $1.08 million prize Sunday.The Hoosier attorney has represented Lowry in legal issues such as sponsorships and wealth management, and Champion looks forward to his client's recent tournament victory as a way...
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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