Criminal Case

Judges uphold involuntary commitment

September 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
When a defendant has been previously committed to a state institution because he was found incompetent to stand trial, that state institution may be considered a community mental health center for purposes of a report required under Indiana Code 12-26-7-3(b), the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Appeals court sets arguments in Camm case

September 12, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Court of Appeals has schedule oral arguments in the case of the former Indiana State Police trooper accused of killing his wife and children in 2000.
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Appeals court sides with murder defendant in hearsay appeal

August 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Citing hearsay rules, the Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed a trial court’s finding that the state may not introduce into evidence statements that could implicate a man who is facing murder charges.
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COA orders reduced sentence in first impressions case

August 26, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
In reversing a sentence for a serious violent felon, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that intending to commit a “crime of violence” is not, in itself, a crime of violence
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Man not prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance

August 23, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the decision to deny a man’s request for post-conviction relief, finding that although his attorney’s performance was deficient for not investigating whether a previous conviction attributed to the defendant was really his, the man couldn’t show he was prejudiced.
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Public to testify before Barnes subcommittee

August 23, 2011
IL Staff
The subcommittee formed to address the issue of illegal police entry following an Indiana Supreme Court ruling will hear public testimony and discuss draft language at its Wednesday meeting.
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Court divided over consent to 5-person jury

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A panel of Indiana Court of Appeals judges split on the issue of whether a defendant agreed to allow a five-member jury to decide her case after one juror fell ill, with the dissenting judge believing the defendant – not her counsel – must consent to the five-person jury.
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Victim's statements to nurse allowed, but judges reverse convictions

August 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a victim’s statements detailing her physical attack and identifying her attacker were admissible in court and were nontestimonial, so the defendant’s confrontation rights weren’t violated. However, the judges reversed the man’s convictions because the trial court shouldn’t have admitted prior misconduct evidence involving the defendant and the victim.
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Judges uphold theft charge against man

August 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
On interlocutory appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man’s motion to dismiss his theft charge in Jay County because he caused the delay in the case by absconding. The case brought up the issue of whether knowledge by jail officials on the whereabouts of the defendant can mean that the judge and prosecutor were sufficiently notified.
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Court could find juvenile must register as sex offender

August 15, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A Montgomery Circuit Court had subject matter jurisdiction to order a juvenile to register as a sex offender for 10 years, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Monday.
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Judge reduces death sentences to life without parole

August 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
If he’d had the ability more than three years ago to factor in a jury’s deadlocked view on the death penalty, a southern Indiana judge says he would have imposed life without parole rather than the death penalty for a man convicted of triple murder.
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Man's convictions upheld despite court's use of inadmissible evidence

August 12, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals found a trial judge abused his discretion in admitting portions of a defendant’s out-of-court taped police statements, but the appellate panel determined that error was harmless and not reason to reverse the man’s multiple rape and sexual conduct convictions.
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COA divided on whether 'bully' comments require new trial

August 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split in affirming a man’s drunk-driving conviction, with the dissenting judge finding the prosecutor’s questions to the jury and repeated reference to the defendant as a bully at trial made a fair trial impossible.
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Lawmakers may consider sentencing options for children waived to adult court

August 3, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Within a six-month period, one Indiana county prosecutor faced two situations where he had to make one of the toughest types of decisions – whether a child should be tried in juvenile or adult court based on the brutality of a crime and age of the offender.
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7th Circuit judge grants prisoner’s request for certificate of appealability

August 1, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana prisoner’s request for a certificate of appealability has been granted by a 7th Circuit judge who found the man’s application set forth a substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right.
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'Notario' pleads guilty to tax evasion, illegal law practice

July 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A Marion Superior judge has sentenced an Indianapolis woman who offered illegal immigration services without a law license and evaded paying her income taxes through that business.
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Circuit Court affirms admission of drugs, sentence

July 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a man’s argument that his past conviction of vehicular flight isn’t a crime of violence, citing a recent decision by the United States Supreme Court on that matter.
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Justices reduce sentence of man found asleep in office

July 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Four of the five Indiana Supreme Court justices decided that the man found asleep in the waiting room of a dental office – who had an empty handgun on him – should only be sentenced to 20 years for the crime instead of 40 years.
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COA rules man is not guilty by reason of insanity

July 20, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Examining the issue of whether a defendant’s mental disease brought on by years of drinking could support an insanity defense, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded the man’s psychosis was a mental defect under Indiana Code and he should have been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
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Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.
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Judge: Man did not commit attempted child exploitation

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a man committed attempted child exploitation when he tried to take pictures up teenagers’ skirts at a mall using a camera attached to his shoe.
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Attorneys to get big cut of $300K OmniSource settlement

July 15, 2011
Cory Schouten
An OmniSource executive says the company wouldn't have made the settlement with the Marion County prosecutor if it knew more than a third of the cash wouldn't be going to Indianapolis police for training programs.
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Court decides 2nd marijuana-odor case in 2 days

July 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Continuing a line of holdings during the past decade, the Indiana Court of Appeals has clearly stated that the odor of raw marijuana can be enough for police to search someone during a valid traffic stop.
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Search didn't violate driver's rights

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The smell of burnt marijuana on a person alone may constitute probable cause to support an arrest and search incident to arrest, the Indiana Court of Appeals held in a case of first impression.
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Circuit Court upholds $500,000 restitution order

July 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A man who waived his right in plea negotiations to challenge his sentence or an order of restitution may not appeal the imposition of $533,000 in restitution to a victim depicted in child pornography, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held July 14.
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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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