Criminal case

Court: Murderer not eligible for parole

July 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that a man serving two life sentences for his 1975 murder convictions isn't eligible to seek parole under the laws in effect at the time the murders took place, but could seek clemency though the Indiana Parole Board.
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District Court erred in drug sentence

July 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a man's sentence for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine because the District Court failed to figure out the quantity of the drug reasonably attributable to the defendant.
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Judges disagree in police entry case

July 23, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

Judges: Court should have questioned jurors

July 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Judges on the Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed as to whether a man's murder conviction should be overturned because the trial court failed to investigate the impact of threats made against the jury. The majority determined the lack of action by the trial court resulted in a fundamental error that required reversing the conviction, but that he could be retried.
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COA: alternative murder sentence illegal

July 10, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled a defendant is entitled to re-sentencing on his murder conviction since the trial court wasn't authorized to sentence him to death and to a term-of-years sentence if the death penalty was overturned.
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First impression for habitual offender statute

July 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether a defendant's prior conviction for conspiracy to deal in cocaine qualified as a conviction for dealing in cocaine under the state's habitual offender statute.
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COA reverses rape conviction in cold case

July 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed a man's recent conviction for a murder he committed more than 20 years ago, but it reversed his rape conviction on insufficient evidence. The state failed to file a charge in which it had evidence to support a conviction of a sexual attack against the victim.
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Justices rule on residency-restriction law

July 1, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court says the three-year-old state law restricting sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of where children congregate constitutes an unconstitutional form of retroactive punishment. However, the sex offender who won the appeal has been dead since September 2008.
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Justices: Anders withdrawals not allowed

June 26, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has rejected a procedure set up by the nation's top court more than four decades ago that allows attorneys to withdraw from criminal appeals they deem frivolous. Our justices say it's practically and financially more efficient to simply proceed with an appeal and let that process play out.
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Court reverses conviction over letter

June 23, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A man's convictions of criminal mischief and operating while intoxicated were reversed by the Indiana Court of Appeals because a letter he wrote while trying to negotiate a plea agreement - which was rejected - shouldn't have been admitted at his trial.
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Purse search violated Indiana Constitution

June 22, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a woman's conviction of possession of cocaine because the concern for the safety of police officers doesn't justify the warrantless search of every purse that is stretched in such a way it appears it could be holding a gun.
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Court affirms student's convictions

June 19, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
After examining the few Indiana decisions on tumultuous conduct in the context of sufficiency of evidence to support a disorderly conduct conviction, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a high school student's conviction for behavior involving the dean of students. The high court also affirmed the student's battery conviction against the assistant principal.
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Court rules on consecutive enhancements issue

June 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Consecutive habitual offender enhancements are improper, whether the enhancements arise from separate trials on unrelated charges or separate trials on related charges, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled yesterday in two opinions.
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First impression on residential entry issue

June 15, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Since a man who had permission to be in his ex-girlfriend's garage did not have permission to be in her house, he committed residential entry as a Class D felony when he kicked in her locked kitchen door to use the phone.
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Judges differ on pretrial credit award

June 12, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Each judge on an Indiana Court of Appeals panel weighed in with a separate opinion as to how much pretrial credit time a defendant, who pleaded guilty to one charge - other charges were dismissed - is entitled to, or if he is entitled to any time at all.
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Animal cruelty an exigent circumstance

June 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time in state courts, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided animal cruelty rises to the level of exigent circumstances to permit a warrantless search of curtilage. The decision came in a man's appeal of his dog fighting convictions.
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Justices: License plates can't be in rear windows

May 29, 2009
Michael Hoskins
Justice Robert Rucker says his four Indiana Supreme Court colleagues have issued a ruling that transforms millions of law-abiding residents into traffic offenders.
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Arrest upheld after seatbelt stop

May 22, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a defendant's motion to suppress evidence following a traffic stop for a seatbelt violation, finding the police officer's inquiry regarding an object in the man's pants didn't violate his constitutional rights or the Seatbelt Enforcement Act.
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Judges disagree on statute's constitutionality

May 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue with great relevance given today's advances in technology and social networking, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded someone who uses a computer to download an electronic image and save it on a CD doesn't "create" a digitalized image under the child-exploitation statute.
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COA: Just running red light not reckless

May 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Ruling on the issue for the first time, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that not stopping at an intersection cannot, without more evidence, constitute criminally reckless conduct and establish a prima facie case.
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Adkins applies to drug possession defense

May 7, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
While the Indiana Court of Appeals unanimously agreed a defendant charged with possessing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school only has the burden of placing the issue of statutory defense in question where the state's evidence hasn't done so, the court split in affirming the defendant's possession conviction.
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Court orders mandate for full parole hearing

May 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a prisoner's pro se action for a mandate requiring all five parole board members to vote on his parole eligibility, ruling the prisoner's case was supported by Indiana statute.
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Court clarifies continuing objection procedure

April 20, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
If a trial court grants a continuing objection, counsel doesn't have to object each time the class of evidence is subsequently offered, but if the trial court doesn't specifically grant the right to a continuing objection, counsel must object to the evidence as it is offered in order to preserve the issue on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Judge: Courts failing on mental illness

April 17, 2009
Michael Hoskins
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge today lambastes the criminal justice system's efforts in dealing with defendants who may never be competent to stand trial, inviting more to be done by either the state's lawmakers or highest court.
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Appellate court rules statute not unconstitutional

April 13, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The presumption found in Indiana Code Section 9-30-10-16, which governs driving while privileges are suspended, isn't unconstitutional because it doesn't shift the burden of proof from the state, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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