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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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Defendant had right to confront lab technician

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's drug conviction, finding his Sixth Amendment right to confrontation was denied when he was unable to depose or cross-examine the lab technician who prepared a report stating cocaine was found in his car.In Ricky L. Jackson v. State of Indiana, No. 27A02-0710-CR-902, Ricky Jackson appealed his conviction of dealing in cocaine, invoking the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), which ruled that when testimonial statements are at issue,...
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COA reverses termination of father's rights

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court order terminating the parental rights of a father, finding the trial court erred when it relied on an independent investigation to end his rights without giving the father a chance to view or respond to the investigation. In In Re: The Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of S.F. and J.F., Michael Farley v. Allen County Child Services, No. 02A03-0707-JV-306, the appellate court was asked to decide whether Farley was denied...
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IU-Bloomington receives $4 million gift

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
An alumnus of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington has donated $4 million to the law school to provide scholarships for students. California criminal defense attorney Donald P. Dorfman gave the money with the goal of helping students who are working their way through school. The entire gift will be dedicated to endowed scholarships and qualifies for matching funds as part of IU's Matching the Promise campaign, which is why Dorfman decided to make the donation now. Dorfman received the...
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Public defender facing suspension

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A Marion County public defender is being suspended from his job after his arrest during an undercover child sex sting this weekend.The chair of the public defender office's board of directors confirmed that Ryan Snyder, 29, is being suspended today and the Marion County Public Defender's Agency is determining whether that will be paid leave or not."We don't want to be premature, and we have to let the judicial system work," said chair Jimmie McMillian, an associate with Indianapolis firm Barnes...
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Nebraska: Electric chair unconstitutional

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A landmark ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court this morning means that the last state allowing electric chair executions can't use the method because it's considered cruel and unusual punishment.The 6-1 ruling today in State of Nebraska v. Richard Mata, Jr., S-05-1268, affirms the death sentence but stays the execution. The court decided that the legislature may vote to have a death penalty but not one that offends rights under the state constitution. Because the decision is based solely on state...
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Prosecutor's office allowed to file counterclaim

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Marion County Prosecutor's Office was allowed to vacate property it leased after repeated water leaks because the landlords constructively and actually evicted the office from the property, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed March 4. At issue in Village Commons, LLC and Rynalco, Inc. v. The Marion County Prosecutor's Office and Carl Brizzi, No. 49A05-0704-CV-195, is whether the exclusive-remedy provision in the lease between Village Commons and Rynalco (landlords), and the prosecutor's office barred the office from asserting it was evicted...
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Attorney, ICLU founder dies

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
A prominent and well-respected labor attorney who had a great impact on Indianapolis and the legal community died July 27.Alan T. Nolan, an attorney, author, and historian, was 85. Calling and a memorial service will be Aug. 10 and 11.Nolan was born in Evansville and moved to Indianapolis at the age of 10. He attended Harvard Law School and clerked for Sherman Minton at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. He returned to Indianapolis in 1948 and practiced law...
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Public defender finalists named

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
Two men vying for Marion County's top public defender spot will face public interviews next week before members of the county agency's governing board decide which one will ultimately be recommended for the position.The Marion County Public Defender Agency's board of directors declined to release names publicly until today. The board is searching for someone to succeed chief defender David E. Cook, who is leaving the agency for Indianapolis immigration firm Gresk & Singleton.Indianapolis defense attorneys Robert J. Hill Jr. and...
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Supporting politicians: Legal industry among biggest contributors to campaigns

January 1, 2008
Rebecca Berfanger
 Attorneys' total contributions nationally to 2008 presidential candidates*:If you've been getting calls since the primaries or even earlier, asking you to donate to political party A or candidate B, or to help to spread the word about issue C, you're not alone. It's no secret that attorneys - whether as individuals or as a combined effort of attorneys in a firm - contribute to campaigns. In federal campaigns in 2004 and so far this year, Indiana lawyers are listed as...
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Mass transit topic of ACLU discussion

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The future of mass transit in Indianapolis will be the subject of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana's next First Wednesday discussion.The discussion will be from noon to 12:50 p.m. April 2 at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. Panelists include Gil Holmes, president of IndyGo; economist Morton Marcus, who has written about why he doesn't think people would give up their cars to ride mass transit in Indiana if given the choice; and Nuvo editor David...
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Lectures discuss screening lawyers, e-lawyering

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The 11th annual Tabor Institute in Legal Ethics lectures featuring a bench and bar lecture and a public lecture will be April 24 at Valparaiso University School of Law. Both lectures are free and open to the public. The bench and bar lecture, "Gatekeepers: The Role of the Law School and the Bar in Regulating Access to the Profession (A Reflection on Traffic Tickets, Microwaving Cats, and Spanking)," George Washington University Law School professor Theresa A. Gabaldon will explore the growing...
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UPDATE: SCOTUS upholds Indiana voter ID law

January 1, 2008
Michael Hoskins
A week before Hoosier voters head to the polls, the nation's highest court has upheld Indiana's law requiring voters to show identification before casting a ballot. The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision, this morning in the pair of consolidated Hoosier cases William Crawford, et al. v. Marion County Election Board, et al., No. 07-21, and Indiana Democratic Party, et al. v. Todd Rokita, No. 07-25. The decision rejected the constitutional challenge to the strictest voter ID law in...
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Supreme Court affirms COA decision

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals on a case it granted transfer to Friday. Justices granted transfer late last week in Floyd Tewell v. State of Indiana, No. 48S02-0701-PC-118, in which the court was asked to rule on whether Tewell's request challenging his prison detainment should have been treated as post-conviction relief or a writ of habeas corpus. In an order posted online today and dated Jan. 11, the Supreme Court adopted the opinion of the...
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Comments sought on FMLA jury instructions

January 1, 2008
IL Staff
The 7th Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions Committee is accepting public comments regarding the proposed Family and Medical Leave Act pattern civil jury instructions for the Circuit Court. The committee welcomes comment before submission to the Circuit Council for approval and promulgation. Congress on Jan. 28 extended FMLA eligibility to include employees who need time off to handle certain qualifying "exigencies" related to certain family members' service or call-up for service in a war, national emergency, or military operation designated by the...
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Transfer granted to confrontation issue

January 1, 2008
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer to five cases Aug. 14, including a case that asks whether a defendant has the right to confront the lab technician who prepared a certificate of analysis. The high court granted transfer to Richard Pendergrass v. State of Indiana, No. 71A03-0712-CR-588, in which the Indiana Court of Appeals in July affirmed Richard Pendergrass' convictions of child molesting. The appellate court ruled Pendergrass' Sixth Amendment right to confrontation wasn't violated with the admittance of a certificate of analysis...
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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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