Legal News

JQC: Strike Judge Brown’s apology, support from Sullivan in discipline case

December 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
Marion Superior Judge Kimberly Brown’s last-minute apology and vouching from former Indiana Justice Frank Sullivan Jr. should not be considered in her disciplinary case, the Judicial Qualifications Commission argued in a brief filed Thursday.
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Man’s molestation post-conviction bid fails on appeal

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A Morgan County man failed to convince a Court of Appeals panel that ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct should entitle him to relief from a child molestation conviction.
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Appeals court slashes contamination award from $154,632 to $7,383

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Court-ordered environmental damages caused by PCB contamination at a Churubusco industrial site were reduced from a total of $154,632 to $7,383 on Thursday by a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals.
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Federal judge orders new trial in felony gun possession case

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Finding the interests of justice require a new trial for a man convicted of a federal gun crime in which the government withheld potentially exculpatory evidence, Judge William T. Lawrence granted his request Wednesday in the Southern District of Indiana Terre Haute division.
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Wife barred from inheritance because of adulterous relationship

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that a woman’s relationship outside of her marriage prevents her from inheriting from her deceased husband’s estate.
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Accomplice’s murder conviction upheld

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A woman who threatened that her baby’s father and his brother would kill the man who punched her several times had her conviction of murder upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals. She sat in a car while with the boyfriend and his brother killed the man.
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Justices: Lab tech does not need to testify

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court Thursday concluded that a laboratory technician involved in the chain of custody of DNA evidence is not required to testify at trial in order to satisfy the demands of a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation.
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Court affirms insurer must cover environmental cleanup costs

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an order that an insurer pay post-notice costs of nearly $34,000 to its insured in an environmental cleanup in Mooresville.
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Life sentence upheld for man who killed neighbor

December 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court rejected a man’s claims that certain photos of a murder victim should not have been admitted at his trial. The justices upheld Tyrice Halliburton’s life without parole sentence for the murder of Sheena Kiska.
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Law school enrollment drops again

December 19, 2013
IL Staff
Law school enrollment fell 11 percent in the fall of 2013, continuing a dramatic decline since 2010, according to national figures released by the American Bar Association.
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Man’s second federal child-porn conviction sticks, 7th Circuit rules

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man whose first federal child pornography conviction was reversed on appeal struck out in his second appearance before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals after he was reconvicted of the same 16 counts.
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Question over who should have mown grass prevents summary judgment

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment to a homeowner after a man slipped and fell on her property was overturned when the Indiana Court of Appeals found sufficient dispute over material facts.
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State appeals ruling against right-to-work law

December 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Wednesday the state has asked the Indiana Supreme Court to reverse a Lake County judge’s order invalidating the right-to-work law that bans compulsory union dues.
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Cybersecurity expert: ruling on surveillance program ‘extraordinarily significant’

December 18, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Fred Cate heralded the decision handed down Dec. 16 by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon as possibly landing a crippling blow to the federal government’s surveillance program.
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COA: County officials not bound to collective bargaining agreement

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
An issue of first impression arose in a lawsuit in which a local union argued that the Madison County assessor and recorder had to follow the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that the county had entered into with UAW.
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State not allowed to intervene in Weinberger case

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Finding the law does not allow the state to become a party to otherwise private litigation at any stage of the proceedings, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed its prior order granting the state’s motion to intervene in a settlement reached between former doctor Mark Weinberger and the estate of a patient.
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Judges clarify late-filed amendment required reversal, not remand

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
On a petition for rehearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its decision to reverse a habitual offender enhancement because the amendment to the habitual offender allegation was made after the trial started and prejudiced the defendant’s rights.
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8-year sentence upheld for teen who killed friend while street racing

December 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A Madison County man who crashed his car while street racing, which killed one passenger and injured two others, could not convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in declining to give a lesser-included instruction of reckless driving at his trial for reckless homicide.
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We The People crowns state champions

December 18, 2013
IL Staff
After three days of competition among more than 600 high school and middle school students, teams from Fishers and Nashville took the top spots in the Indiana We The People program.
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Indianapolis attorney tapped to lead BMV

December 18, 2013
IL Staff
Ice Miller LLP attorney Donald M. Snemis has been named as the commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. He will begin his tenure Jan. 6.
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Timing of wrongful death claim disputed

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
In a wrongful-death claim filed nearly five years after a nursing home death, the Indiana Supreme Court is considering whether in instances of fraudulent concealment the two-year limitation clock starts over or if giving plaintiffs “reasonable time” to file is an acceptable standard.
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Advocates say justice was delayed, but deal positive for Gingerich

December 18, 2013
Dave Stafford
More than three years after 12-year-old Paul Gingerich was improperly sentenced as an adult to 30 years in prison for his role in a killing, he now has a chance to be free at 18 – an imperfect result, advocates say, that nonetheless might be the best possible under the circumstances.
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Fees against IHSAA for unreasonable litigation upheld

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana High School Athletic Association should pay for its insistence on enforcing rules that courts repeatedly said were arbitrary and capricious, an appeals panel ruled Tuesday.
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Injured worker has to prove company is secondarily liable in workers' comp claim

December 17, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Court of Appeals split in deciding a workers’ compensation claim concerning who had the burden to prove whether the true value of work exceeded $1,000 and, therefore, triggered secondary liability.
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Reversal: Insurer had duty to provide dental office full coverage

December 17, 2013
Dave Stafford
An insurer that for decades wrote policies for a dental office had a special duty to advise the office about coverage and ensure the office was fully covered, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday in reversing summary judgment in favor of the insurer.
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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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