Legal News

After the storm passes, legal questions swirl

February 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys volunteer to provide advice and comfort to affected residents after natural disasters.
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Will small claims court stay or will it go?

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion County's busiest docket is at the center of a judge-trustee tug-of-war over location.
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Attorney: Marion County small claims 'forum shopping' problems persist

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Chicago attorney who has filed at least six federal class-action lawsuits alleging collections companies engaged in “forum shopping” in Marion County Small Claims Courts said the practice appears to be continuing despite township court reforms announced last year.
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Lawyers worry about impact of court decision on premises liability

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
The fatal shooting of a guest in a Speedway motel by a former employee and the resulting civil litigation leaves the Indiana Supreme Court to decide whether arguments of common law or a 1980s statute governs the premises owner’s degree of liability. Trial and defense lawyers are paying keen attention.
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Bankruptcy ruling locks out insiders

February 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
A recent bankruptcy appeal tossing an Indianapolis shopping center’s reorganization plan further establishes that the control of equity in Chapter 11 cases will be subject to competitive bidding and that insiders might be out of luck.
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Law firm's longtime chief gives suitors cold shoulder

February 27, 2013
Scott Olson
Alan Levin has been managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg LLP for 16 years, far longer than the heads of most major Indianapolis law firms. But what most sets him apart is that he’s built his firm into a national practice by taking the maverick approach of going it alone instead of merging with an out-of-state rival.
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Town takes unusual step to gain control of utility

February 27, 2013
Scott Olson
Mooresville's bid to purchase water operations likely will be decided in court.
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COA instructs trial court to vacate 2 convictions of child molestation

February 26, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals threw out two charges and sent a case back to the trial court after the state admitted that it did not intend to charge the defendant with four separate acts of child molestation.
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Franklin attorney dies suddenly from heart attack

February 26, 2013
IL Staff
A former Bartholomew County public defender died suddenly Feb. 23 in Columbus.
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Trial court denied due process in revoking probation

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose probation was revoked without an evidentiary hearing after he walked away from an inpatient alcohol treatment program imposed by the court will receive a new hearing.
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Consecutive sentences in drug buy case ruled inappropriate

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man sentenced to 40 years in prison after he sold crack cocaine to undercover agents in two separate controlled buys received an inappropriate punishment, the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Felon’s convictions, multiple sentence enhancements affirmed

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A sentence of 12 years with a year suspended was not inappropriate for a man who stole an idling car from a Lafayette convenience store and later resisted police, punched a police dog and threatened officers.
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Trouble with the Curves: Ex-husband still owes for franchise’s default

February 26, 2013
Dave Stafford
A couple’s failure to inform a landlord of their divorce doesn’t excuse the ex-husband from a default judgment on rent payments for a health club that his former wife continued to run.
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Overhaul of Criminal Code approved by House

February 26, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The bill rewriting Indiana’s Criminal Code gained approval of the House of Representatives Monday by an 80 to 13 vote. The measure now moves to the Senate.
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Former senior judge faces disciplinary proceedings

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A former senior judge in northern Indiana faces disciplinary action for charges that she had a sexual relationship with a client to whom she was appointed as a public defender.
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Legislature considers changes to prosecutors’ and judges’ retirement funds

February 25, 2013
IL Staff
In the House of Representatives, a bill that would change features of the Prosecuting Attorneys Retirement Fund is eligible for a third reading vote. In the Senate, a bill calling for a study of judges’ pensions is ready for second reading Monday as well.
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Transferred intent instruction not error in domestic violence trial

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart County man’s conviction for domestic battery stands after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a jury instruction on the doctrine of transferred intent was not an abuse of discretion.
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‘Sovereign citizen’ gets 40-year sentence

February 25, 2013
IL Staff
A self-identified sovereign citizen was sentenced last week to 40 years in prison for felony convictions of kidnapping and intimidation of a witness.
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After children are grown, custodial parent still a victim of nonsupport

February 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a mother was a victim of a father who failed to pay support for his three children even years after the kids were grown.
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Former Lake County clerk Philpot sentenced

February 25, 2013
IL Staff
A former Lake County clerk convicted of felony theft and mail fraud in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana will serve an 18-month sentence and pay a fine of $10,000.
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Circuit Court rules utility contract falls in state jurisdiction

February 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A dispute between a power generator and an electricity wholesaler should be heard in the state court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled after finding the central issues did not arise under federal law.
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Interstate defendant denied due process in hasty sentencing trip

February 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Kentucky inmate brought to an Indiana court for sentencing on four burglary counts to which he pleaded guilty was deprived due process when his new attorney was given only minutes to prepare, the Court of Appeals ruled.
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Officer’s inclusion of victim’s statements did not violate Confrontation Clause

February 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a police officer’s testimony that incorporated statements from the victim did not violate the defendant’s right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.
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Ban on police cell phone searches in texting-while-driving cases advances

February 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Police would be restricted in most cases from retrieving information from cell phones and similar devices for violation of texting-while-driving laws under a measure that passed the Indiana Senate on Thursday.
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Change to public intoxication statute not retroactive

February 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
A woman convicted of public intoxication may not receive relief from a change in the statute that took effect a day before her bench trial.
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  1. 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)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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