Criminal case

Trial court didn't err in denying mistrial

November 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't abuse its discretion in denying a mistrial after learning a juror asked the state's firearms expert a question outside the courtroom during a recess in the trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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COA: Man didn't personally waive right to jury

November 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because the trial court erred in finding a defendant waived his right to have a jury hear the enhancement aspects of his drunk-driving case, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed his elevated conviction.
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Prior conviction doesn't fall under exception

November 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant's argument that his felon-in-possession indictment was insufficient because his previous conviction of stealing cable doesn't meet the definition of a "crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year" under 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(20)(A).
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7th Circuit: conviction can't enhance sentenceRestricted Content

November 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant's conviction of possession of a firearm by a felon stands because police had reasonable suspicion to stop the car he was riding in, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded today.
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State didn't prove man used car to keep drug

November 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned a conviction of maintaining a common nuisance because the state failed to prove the defendant used his car to keep marijuana.
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Improper venue doesn't require acquittal

November 3, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Even though the Hamilton Superior Court erred in concluding it was the proper venue for a felony child solicitation charge, the error doesn't warrant an acquittal of the conviction, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today. The case was remanded for retrial in the proper venue of Madison County.
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YouTube video prejudiced juryRestricted Content

October 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The use of a YouTube video during closing arguments as a demonstrative aid by the state warrants a reversal of a robbery conviction because it may have prejudiced the jury, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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No error in sanctions against state

October 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't clearly err when it dismissed drunk driving charges against a defendant as sanctions for the state's discovery violations, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA reverses dismissal of drug charges

October 21, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court erred when it sua sponte decided to exclude evidence from a warrantless search of a defendant's car and dismiss the drug charges against him as a result of that search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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COA: Destroyed tape doesn't make record silent

October 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The premature destruction of a tape of a guilty plea hearing by court staff doesn't render the record silent for purposes of Boykin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.
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Supreme Court considers MySpace statement

October 15, 2009
Rebecca Berfanger
he Indiana Supreme Court today issued an opinion that affirmed a Kosciusko Circuit jury's conviction of a man who murdered his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter and the resulting sentence of life in prison without parole. The opinion also considered the defendant's novel question: whether statements from his social networking Web site, which were presented to the jury as evidence of his character, were admissible in court.
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Judges disagree on when escape occurs

October 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether inmates in a jail could be charged with escape if they never left the outer walls of the facility. The majority affirmed the dismissal of the escape charges against the six inmates, ruling the act was just a violation of prison rules.
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Testimony showed intent in identity deception

October 5, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
During a trial for identity deception, a court correctly admitted evidence under Indiana Evidence Rule 404(b) of the defendant's prior interaction with the victim of his identity theft and previous instances of using the victim's information, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded today.
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COA splits on cheek-swab requirements

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals ruled taking a cheek swab for DNA testing requires reasonable suspicion only, not probable cause, under federal and state constitutions.
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Judges dissent on search after 'knock and talk'

September 30, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues' view that a police "knock and talk" investigation didn't violate a man's rights under the Indiana Constitution, fearing the circumstances of the case could lead to a general distrust of law enforcement.
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Court split on if lab tech must testify

September 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The state's highest court was split in its ruling on whether the failure of a lab technician who processed DNA evidence to testify at a man's trial violated his Sixth Amendment rights.
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Circuit Court vacates drug sentence

September 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man's drug conviction, but vacated his sentence because it wasn't confident the District Court judge properly sentenced him.
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Supreme Court grants 6 transfers

September 14, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court granted six transfers Sept. 11, including a case of first impression involving a suit filed by a pathological gambler against a riverboat casino.
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Consent not defense in battery case

September 9, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because consent is not a defense to battery when a deadly weapon is used, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions of felony and misdemeanor battery on his girlfriend after branding her with a hot knife and hitting her with a cord.
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Court erred in denying court-appointed counsel

September 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a man's convictions because the trial court failed to adequately ascertain whether he was indigent for purposes of court-appointed counsel.
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Judges disagree on search validity

August 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
On remand from the Supreme Court of the United States to reconsider under a recent ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals reaffirmed the forfeiture of a woman's car following the arrest of her son for driving while suspended. One judge dissented because she believes the search of the vehicle was unreasonable in light of the recent ruling.
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Instant offense considered 'unrelated' per statute

August 28, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The trial court was correct in interpreting the state's habitual offender statute to include an instant conviction as one of the "unrelated" convictions referred to in the statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Justices: Appeal not available after guilty plea

August 25, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices agreed a man who pleaded guilty couldn't appeal the denial of his pre-trial motion to suppress. Yet one justice believed the plea agreement should have been honored according to its terms, which included reserving the right to object to the denial of the motion to suppress.
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7th Circuit affirms possible erroneous sentenceRestricted Content

August 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Because a defendant's attorney affirmatively waived any challenge to an Armed Career Criminal Act enhancement - despite the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals advisement that the enhancement may have been an error due to a recent Circuit ruling - the federal Circuit Court had no choice but to affirm the District Court.
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Trial court erred in denying motion to continue

August 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A Marion Superior trial court should have granted a woman's motion to continue the day of her bench trial because she had a constitutional right to present a defense to support her involuntary intoxication argument, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided today.
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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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