Legal News

Judge affirms retaining charges but finds criminal prosecution unjust

February 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge expressed concern that a woman’s criminal case may be affected by her admittance of violating several city ordinances after her dogs attacked two people.
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Book focuses on state's justices

February 18, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana Supreme Court history buffs have a new book to read. The Indiana Historical Society Press has published “Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court,” which explores the lives of the state’s 106 justices.
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Justices adopt COA adoption holding, invite attorney fee motions

February 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has granted transfer on a St. Joseph County adoption case and fully adopted a holding by the state’s intermediate appellate court. In doing so, the state justices invited the prevailing biological mother to request attorney fees because of what it found to be possible frivolous or bad faith efforts.
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Supreme Court hears arguments in victims' advocates subpoena case

February 17, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court heard oral arguments today involving the subpoena of records from a domestic violence agency by a defendant who had been charged with two counts of Class A felony child molesting.
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Mandatory retirement, unified court bills still alive

February 17, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The bill that would end a mandatory retirement age for certain judges and the bill that would unify Clark County courts are ready for third reading in their respective houses.
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COA: Juror bias should have been examined

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a surgeon accused of medical malpractice during a stem cell collection procedure in which the patient died, finding that the trial court didn’t follow protocol in examining a potential juror’s impartiality and deciding whether to strike that person from the jury pool.
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Supreme Court addresses protective orders

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court released two opinions today regarding the service of protective orders to respondents.
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State’s chief public defender retiring after 30 years

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Public Defender Susan K. Carpenter is retiring in May after almost 30 years in that position, the state’s highest court announced today.
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Appeals court will hear challenge in Simon case

February 16, 2011
Cory Schouten
The Indiana Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal from the widow of the late Melvin Simon, putting on hold a legal dispute over the mall magnate's more than $2 billion estate.
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Longtime state public defender retiring

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Public Defender Susan K. Carpenter is retiring in May after almost 30 years in that position, the state’s highest court announced this morning.
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Marion County prosecutor discusses his first days in office

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
To lead any large law firm, a managing partner needs a diverse set of skills. He needs to understand budgets, crisis management, personnel issues, and how to interact with the media. It’s essentially the same for the prosecutor of Indiana’s largest county.
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IU law school program in Egypt halted due to protestsRestricted Content

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Students started classes in January but there is uncertainty when they will resume because of the unrest in the country.
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Distribution of judicial decisions still evolving

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Nestled on a top shelf in the Indiana Supreme Court’s law library, the book doesn’t stand out, and one might not look at it any differently than the others nearby.
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Lawyer couples

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
While some couples prefer to keep their work and personal lives separate, it’s not unheard of for lawyers to pair up. Four couples shared their stories with Indiana Lawyer.
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Financing new energy creators

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When attorney John Kirkwood sees a garbage dump, his mind not only starts wandering toward the renewable energy that could be produced at that site but also an expanding field of law that’s drawing more lawyers into the environmental fold.
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Emergency transfers by Supreme Court not commonRestricted Content

February 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
What attorneys might consider an emergency legal issue may not draw the same urgency from the Indiana Supreme Court. In fact, it usually doesn’t.
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COA reverses and remands CHINS finding regarding stepfather

February 15, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
After the juvenile court adjudicated two minor children as children in need of services following their mother’s admission to allegations filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel today reversed and remanded that finding in favor of the stepfather, who denied the allegations and asked for a fact-finding hearing. One Court of Appeals judge dissented, writing that she disagreed that the trial court violated the stepfather’s right to due process in this case.
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Fair Finance trustee sues Indy attorney for $375,000

February 15, 2011
Greg Andrews
The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Co. has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis attorney Stephen Plopper and his wife, saying they defaulted on a 2003 loan from the defunct Tim Durham-owned business and now owe $375,000.
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Supreme Court suspends judge for 30 days

February 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A 30-day unpaid suspension begins next week for Marion Superior Traffic Judge William Young, though the chief justice expects the Indiana Supreme Court would have issued a lengthier sanction if a settlement had not been reached in the misconduct case.
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Traffic judge's suspension begins Feb. 22

February 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A 30-day suspension without pay begins next week for Marion Superior Traffic Judge William Young.
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Court reverses class certification in hail-damage action

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the class certification granted by the District Court in a suit brought by unsatisfied homeowners following a 2006 hailstorm in central Indiana.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the denial of man’s motion to suppress, finding the traffic stop that resulted in his drunk driving arrest wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.
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High court takes 4 cases

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted four cases on transfer, including one in which they released an opinion on the matter the same day they granted transfer.
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CLE commission elects 2011 officers

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Commission for Continuing Legal Education has elected four officers to serve during the 2011 calendar year, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday.
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Supreme Court interactive event rescheduled

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has rescheduled its interactive drama “Bound for Freedom: The Case of Polly Strong,” which was postponed after a winter storm hit central Indiana earlier this month.
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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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