Legal News

Rare emergency suspension issued by Supreme Court

February 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Merrillville attorney Robert E. Stochel spent a few nights in jail after a judge found him in contempt for his evasiveness, but so far he’s avoided criminal charges despite allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients and a former associate.
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Court of Appeals finds no standing post-adoption, suggests legislative remedy

February 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana appeals court empathized with a grandmother’s situation, but it ruled the law gave the court no choice but to strip her of visitation with her granddaughter, whose mother – the grandmother’s daughter – had died.
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Amended complaint: Marion County inmates held days after release ordered

February 25, 2015
Dave Stafford
Released inmates in Indianapolis are subjected to a “standard operating procedure” of re-arrest and being held behind bars – sometimes for days – after being acquitted, freed by a judge or posting bond, alleges an amended federal complaint filed against the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.
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‘No relief’ for law school enrollment slump

February 25, 2015
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
After three down years for law school enrollment, Austen Parrish expected a rebound of applications and enrollment this year at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. But it isn’t happening.
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Bill would let Indiana businesses battle patent trolls in state courts

February 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A bill, authored by Bedford Republican Rep. Eric Koch, would prohibit a person from asserting a bad-faith claim of patent infringement and would enable the Indiana business accused of infringing to seek remedy in state court.
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Contingency fees still help to provide access to courts

February 25, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Twenty-five years later, a plaintiff’s attorney says changes to statutes have impacted awards, but the system remains necessary.
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The first 2 law schools to drop the LSAT could be just the beginning

February 24, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Two law schools said this month that they would begin accepting applicants who have not taken the Law School Admissions Test, a move that may help curb weak interest and plunging enrollments in law schools across the country.
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Professor says verdict highlights need for Congress to revisit terrorism law

February 24, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A historic $218.5 million verdict handed down Feb. 23 against Palestinian organizations for a series of terrorist attacks that killed or injured several U.S. citizens could bring unintended consequences and should cause Congress to reexamine federal terrorism statutes, according to a prominent Indiana legal scholar.
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Lease doesn't bar dentist's slip-and-fall suit against landlord

February 24, 2015
Dave Stafford
A dentist who slipped and fell on a patch of ice outside his office may pursue a negligence and personal-injury lawsuit against his professional corporation’s landlord, the Court of Appeals affirmed Tuesday.
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GOP-led Senate advances bill protecting religious objections

February 24, 2015
 Associated Press
A proposal that supporters say would allow people with strong religious beliefs to not provide services for same-sex weddings has been approved by the Indiana Senate.
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Legislator: Sunday alcohol bill 'did not have the votes'

February 24, 2015
 Associated Press
Indiana will keep the distinction of being the last state with a "blue law" banning Sunday carry-out alcohol sales after the sponsor of a bill that would have lifted the ban said Tuesday the measure is dead.
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Attorney: Settlement reached in parasailing crash lawsuit

February 24, 2015
 Associated Press
An attorney for two Indiana teenagers who were seriously injured in a Florida parasailing crash says a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by one of the victim's parents.
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Indiana House backs repeal of state construction wage law

February 24, 2015
 Associated Press
The Indiana House on Monday approved a Republican-led push for eliminating the state system that sets wages for public construction projects, although its fate in the state Senate is uncertain.
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Council members: Delay justice center decision until after election

February 23, 2015
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
The odds the Indianapolis City-County Council will approve plans for a new criminal justice center this year are tanking fast.
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Menard: Toss Hilberts' attorneys for wrongdoing

February 23, 2015
IBJ Staff, J.K. Wall
Lawyers for Indianapolis power couple Steve and Tomisue Hilbert are slinging “ludicrous allegations” of witness tampering just to cover up their own wrongdoing, according to the latest broadside from the attorneys representing John Menard, the Hilberts’ former business partner.
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Friedlander to resign from Court of Appeals

February 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Ezra Friedlander will retire in August, the court announced Monday, about a year-and-a-half before he would have faced mandatory retirement.
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Justices won’t give lawyers access to secret court records

February 23, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States will not consider giving a man accused of trying to ignite a bomb in downtown Chicago access to secret intelligence-court records.
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Report: Ex-Purdue chancellor’s forced retirement bungled

February 23, 2015
 Associated Press
A newly released report that Purdue University had fought in court to keep secret concluded that school officials bungled the forced retirement of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne's former chancellor, causing his departure to turn into an “ugly situation.”
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Lawmakers poised to vote on allowing Sunday alcohol sales

February 23, 2015
 Associated Press
State lawmakers are poised to vote on bills to legalize Sunday carry-out alcohol sales and repeal Indiana's law that sets wages for public construction projects.
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7th Circuit reverses denial of disability benefits

February 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
An administrative law judge’s denial of Social Security disability benefits for a man who the Veterans Administration determined was totally disabled cannot be sustained, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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COA finds dual conviction violated double jeopardy

February 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
On a sua sponte review, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned one conviction of a Hamilton County woman who was found guilty of charges surrounding the death of an infant in her care.
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Appeals court opens RX database to defendant’s subpoena

February 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman charged with possession of a controlled substance who claimed she had a prescription may seek information from the state prescription database, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a reversal.
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Opinions Feb. 20, 2015 ILD

February 20, 2015
Indiana Court of Appeals
Kevin Watson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A02-1408-CR-536
Criminal. Affirms Watson’s conviction of Class A misdemeanor battery after a fight with his half-sister. Concludes that evidence is sufficient to rebut his self-defense claim.

In the Matter of: E.A., Jr., Child in need of Services, and E.A., Sr. (Father) and N.A. (Stepmother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services (mem. dec.)
20A03-1410-JC-360
Juvenile CHINS. Remands to the trial court for more specific findings regarding its reasoning for the adjudication of E.A. as a child in need of services.

Larry Marshall v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
48A02-1406-CR-459
Criminal. Affirms the revocation of Marshall’s two-year work-release placement and two-year suspended sentence and the order for him to serve his sentence in the Indiana Department of Correction.  

Danny Lewis v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
29A04-1409-CR-440
Criminal. Affirms conviction of one count of invasion of privacy, as a Class A misdemeanor.

Keytron W. Johnson v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
02A05-1408-CR-370
Criminal. Reverses and remands the trial court’s denial of Johnson’s pro se petition seeking credit time for completing various education programs. Concludes the denial was premature and contrary to the procedure established in the post-conviction rules.  

David A. Brewster v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
01A02-1408-CR-559
Criminal. Affirms four-and-a-half-year sentence for pleading guilty to domestic battery, a Class D felony; disorderly conduct, a Class B misdemeanor under Cause Number 138; domestic battery, a Class D felony; and invasion of privacy, a Class A misdemeanor under Cause Number 184.

Troy Shawn Meyers v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
45A03-1405-CR-176
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class C felony involuntary manslaughter.

Jesse Edward Atwood v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
73A01-1407-CR-324
Criminal. Affirms conviction of Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct stemming from a physical altercation between Atwood and another jail inmate.

Imari Butler v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
49A04-1406-CR-284
Criminal. Affirms Butler’s adjudication as a habitual offender.

Charles M. Woolsey v. State of Indiana (mem. dec.)
19A01-1407-CR-301
Criminal. Reverses summary denial of Woolsey’s petition for post-conviction relief. Finds Woolsey pleaded sufficient facts to raise an issue of possible merit. Remands for further proceedings on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

 

 
More

Tax Court affirms denial of exemptions on lake property

February 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Lake Wawasee homeowners association failed to persuade the Indiana Tax Court to overturn Board of Tax Review denials of exemptions for waterfront property it claimed was maintained to retain and preserve the natural characteristics of land and water.
More

Absence of evidence douses tobacco charge

February 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
An Indiana inmate’s punishment for allegedly trafficking in tobacco was snuffed out when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found he was convicted without evidence of guilt.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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