Legal News

Strong smell of marijuana makes strip search justified

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Although the man was arrested for a misdemeanor, the strong odor of marijuana that engulfed him gave law enforcement officers justification to conduct a strip search and did not violate his constitutional rights.
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Justices toss attempted murder conviction due to jury instruction

January 16, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Anderson gang member convicted of attempted murder will get a new trial after the Indiana Supreme Court vacated the judgment because jurors received erroneous instructions.
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14-year-old Indianapolis firm recreates itself with addition of name partner

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Hoover Hull founding partners John David Hoover and Andrew Hull, along with Wayne Turner, former chair of the litigation group at Bingham Greenebaum Doll, announced Friday that they are creating a new law firm focused on business litigation.
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Regional mock trial and moot court competitions need volunteer judges

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Volunteers are needed to serve as judges for the moot court and mock trial competitions to be held as part of the Midwest Black Law Students Association’s conference next month in Indianapolis.
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Nativity lawsuit brings new county ordinance

January 16, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Franklin County Board of Commissioners approved a “public forum ordinance” this week in response to the ongoing lawsuit over a nativity scene displayed on the county’s courthouse lawn during the holiday season.
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Appeals panel affirms CHINS adjudication

January 16, 2015
Dave Stafford
Two children were properly adjudicated in need of services, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded in affirming a trial court.
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Federal courts warn of threatening jury duty scam calls

January 16, 2015
IL Staff
Federal courts are warning residents of scam phone calls threatening prosecution for failure to comply with jury service, according to an alert released Thursday by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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Justices uphold convictions in second trial after partial deadlock

January 15, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday upheld the convictions of a man involved in a fatal drunken-driving crash. The defendant was retried on all charges after a jury convicted him on some counts and deadlocked on others.
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$1.8M verdict against Walgreen for pharmacist’s data breach stands

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected Thursday several claims raised by Walgreen Co. on rehearing, holding that the company and its pharmacists are liable for damages sustained by the plaintiff after the pharmacist divulged her prescription records to a third party.
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Counsel’s ‘risky’ trial strategy is not considered ineffective

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial attorney who decided to pursue a trial strategy in a theft case that did not request a jury instruction on the lesser-include offense of criminal conversion did not provide ineffective assistance of counsel, the Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA reverses sentence based on a ‘suspect enhancement’

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Finding that a judge was clearly influenced by a jury’s not-guilty decision on another drug charge when he sentenced a defendant for cocaine possession, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the man’s sentence reduced.
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Full 7th Circuit declines to rehear right-to-work appeal

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An even split among all of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges as to whether to rehear an appeal challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law means that its previous affirmation of the law will stand.
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Defense wants statements omitted at Indiana fatal fire trial

January 15, 2015
 Associated Press
Defense attorneys for an Evansville man accused of starting a deadly March fire have asked a judge to keep statements he made to police from being used at trial.
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Rush proposes business court, makes pitch for e-filing funding

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
In her first State of Judiciary speech, Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush on Wednesday said the judiciary is “currently working on the development of a business court model focused on complex commercial litigation,” and urged the General Assembly to help fund the courts’ electronic filing initiative.
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Author and death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean calls for judicial reform

January 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
When she became pen pals with an inmate on Louisiana’s death row, Sister Helen Prejean said she did not know much about the law or the U.S. Constitution. She was not aware of constitutional protections or how the Supreme Court of the United States was interpreting them.
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7th Circuit upholds use of GPS unit on car in 2011

January 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that his motion to suppress drugs and guns found by police at a storage locker through the use of a GPS unit should have been granted because attaching the device to his car for purposes of gathering information was a search under the Fourth Amendment.
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Senate panel advances bill to open adoption records

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
Advocates of opening Indiana’s adoption records won an emotional first round Wednesday as a Senate panel advanced legislation that for the first time would open birth records of hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers.
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Pence troubled by report Guard mishandled domestic case

January 14, 2015
 Associated Press
Gov. Mike Pence is troubled by allegations that the Indiana National Guard mishandled a domestic violence case and will review a Pentagon report on the matter, his spokeswoman said.
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Court orders termination of spousal maintenance following ex-wife’s remarriage

January 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who remarried and now has substantial income and assets as a result of that marriage is no longer entitled to spousal maintenance, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
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Teen injured in stage collapse loses challenge of tort liability

January 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A Cincinnati girl who was injured when a concert stage collapsed in 2011 at the Indiana State Fair and later declined to settle with the state lost her challenge that the tort claim caps are unconstitutional, ruled the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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COA reverses in part judgment for agents on man’s insurance claim lawsuit

January 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the owner of a home that burned designated additional evidence which created a genuine issue of material fact, summary judgment should not have been awarded to agents on his claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals held.
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Woman can sue Evansville over bungled SWAT raid

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
A woman who was 68 years old when her home was raided in 2012 by an Evansville SWAT team tracking down online threats against police can sue the city for unreasonable use of force, a federal judge has ruled.
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Deaf man sues state courts over denial of interpreter for mediation

January 14, 2015
Dave Stafford
A deaf man’s federal lawsuit against Indiana courts claiming the state failed to provide a sign language interpreter for mediation in his child custody hearing has survived the state’s initial efforts to dismiss.
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Once controversial, IOLTA is now professional standard in Indiana

January 14, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Supreme Court posed an obstacle in 1990 to getting the program launched to fund pro bono efforts.
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McKinney slates living wage panel discussion

January 13, 2015
IL Staff
“Living Wages as a Human Right” is the topic of a forum next week at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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