Criminal case

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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Judges: Vehicle stop by cops reasonable

April 2, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a man's illegal gun possession conviction, ruling the South Bend Police officer who made the traffic stop had reasonable suspicion the car may be linked to a shooting in an apartment complex.
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High court addresses Protected Person Statute

March 31, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Addressing for the first time under the current Rules of Evidence a case regarding a protected person testifying at trial as well as by videotape or other statement, the Indiana Supreme Court held that if the statements are consistent and both are otherwise admissible, testimony of a protected person can't be presented both in open court and in a pre-recorded statement through the Protected Person Statute.
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Plea puts stop to federal death penalty trial

March 30, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The first-ever federal death penalty trial for the Southern District of Indiana was set to start today, but a plea agreement means a trial likely won't be happening at all for a man connected to a violent killing spree four years ago.
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COA: Switchblade ban not unconstitutional

March 24, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

High court rules on self-representation issue

March 17, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed a trial court's ruling that a defendant who was competent enough to stand trial wasn't competent to represent himself at trial, an issue on remand from the Supreme Court of the United States.
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Case shows challenge of ending res gestae

March 16, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a man's convictions and sentence for the 2007 murder and rape of a 14-year-old girl in Columbus, noting that the evidence the man objected to being admitted showed the challenges presented by eliminating the doctrine of res gestae.
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7th Circuit: Courts wrongfully denied re-litigation

March 11, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Finding Indiana state and District courts erred in denying a convicted killer the chance to re-litigate his claim for relief from execution because he is mentally retarded, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the District Court's denial of the man's habeas petition
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Judges disagree on proof-of-age issue

March 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Court of Appeals judges disagreed today about whether the state proved in its case a convicted child molester was 21 years old at the time the molestation occurred.
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Man isn't entitled to parental privilege defense

March 4, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In an issue of first impression, the Indiana Court of Appeals had to decide whether a defendant who lived in a woman's home in exchange for babysitting her children would fall under the parental privilege defense for disciplining a child.
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Case requires balancing act by court

February 27, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
In a case requiring the Indiana Court of Appeals to "perform a delicate balance" between making sure a mentally disabled person wasn't improperly denied his constitutional rights and not penalizing police for non-coercive conduct, the appellate court affirmed the denial of a defendant's motion to suppress.
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Court affirms conviction, sentence despite error

February 25, 2009
Jennifer NelsonMore

Court affirms sentence for non-support of 8 kids

February 24, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court didn't err in imposing three consecutive sentences following a man's guilty plea to three counts of felony non-support of a dependent because his failure to pay didn't constitute a single episode of criminal activity, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Justices affirm 1989 murder convictions

February 19, 2009
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld four murder convictions against a Lakeville man who as a teenager killed his family 20 years ago.
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Court affirms delay in jury trial for congestion

February 18, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a defendant's arguments that because his request for a speedy trial was in writing, his trial should take priority over another man's trial scheduled for the same day.
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Woman didn't prove she should get new trial

February 6, 2009
Jennifer Nelson
Finding a defendant didn't meet her burden of proving her newly discovered evidence claim, the Indiana Court of Appeals today upheld the denial of her petition for post-conviction relief.
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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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