Criminal case

Trial court should decide educational credit time

March 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court judge should be the one to determine whether a defendant who completes an educational degree before sentencing is entitled to educational credit time, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
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COA reverses marijuana conviction based on intent

March 8, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The majority of an Indiana Court of Appeals panel today reversed a conviction of marijuana possession after the defendant contended there was insufficient evidence that she constructively possessed the drug.
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Change sought for 3rd murder trial

March 2, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Defense attorneys for former Indiana State Police trooper David Camm have asked the state’s intermediate appellate court to accept an interlocutory appeal and decide whether a special judge should have appointed a new prosecutor to preside over the man’s third trial.
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Defense attorney's arranged drug buy illegal

February 28, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected a Bloomington attorney’s argument that his arrangement of a drug buy in an attempt to discredit a state’s witness against his client wasn’t a criminal offense because he’s “on the same legal footing” as prosecutors or police in planning controlled buys.
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Judges analyze 'use' of body armor for first time

February 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals interpreted the elements of unlawful use of body armor for the first time in a defendant’s appeal of his convictions following his attempt to flee from police.
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COA discusses vouching testimony in child molesting trials

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals addressed vouching testimony by witnesses called during child molesting trials in two opinions Tuesday. In one case, an appellate judge was troubled by the possible effect of the cumulative vouching testimony on the jury.
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7th Circuit agrees crack cocaine offender's sentence can't be reduced

February 22, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an issue involving crack cocaine sentencing Tuesday – whether a defendant sentenced under the career offender guideline, but with a downward departure for substantial assistance, is eligible for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. Section 3582(c)(2).
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SCOTUS denies one Indiana case, sidesteps others for now

February 22, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Supreme Court of the United States denied one prisoner lawsuit from Indiana today, while not saying whether it will address another case from this state on judicial speech. No decision was made on a third Hoosier case it heard arguments on more than a month ago addressing vehicular flight.
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Religious-worship burglary enhancement doesn’t violate constitutions

February 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled against a man who argued the enhancement of his burglary conviction to a Class B felony because he burgled a church violated the federal and state constitutions. In the first impression issue, the judges held the enhancement doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment or Article 1, Section 4 of the Indiana Constitution.
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Supreme Court addresses protective orders

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The Indiana Supreme Court released two opinions today regarding the service of protective orders to respondents.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the denial of man’s motion to suppress, finding the traffic stop that resulted in his drunk driving arrest wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.
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Man gets 10 years for human trafficking

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The first person convicted of human trafficking in Marion County has received 10 years on the charge.
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Supreme Court affirms admitting English transcript at trial

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
English language translation transcripts of statements recorded in foreign language, if otherwise admissible, may be properly considered as substantive evidence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
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Judges order new PCR hearing on guilty plea issue

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed in part the denial of a man’s pro se petition for post-conviction relief, holding the post-conviction court’s findings didn’t support its rejection of the man’s claim his plea was illusory or involuntary.
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Justices order man to be re-sentenced

February 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A man who received 50 years for murder should be re-sentenced because of conflicting amendments involving the penalty for murder at the time the judge handed down the sentence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled today.
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7th Circuit extends search, detainment precedent

February 1, 2011
Michael Hoskins
More than two decades ago, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a higher precedent allowed not only residents of a home being searched to be detained, but also that visitors to that location could be detained.
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Appeals court rules on Ohio River phone-stalking case

January 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reaffirmed its standing that prosecutors can’t elevate a misdemeanor crime to a felony if the defendant didn’t know the victim worked in law enforcement.
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Justices uphold Baer's death penalty

January 26, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed the denial of a murderer’s petition for post-conviction relief, leaving his death sentence in place.
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Judges uphold OWI conviction

January 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a man who was temporarily found incompetent was detained in a facility for a period longer than his sentence would have been if he was convicted of Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the denial of his motion to dismiss the charge.
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Judges reverse dismissal of prisoner's suit

January 19, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal of a prisoner’s civil rights suit that stemmed from his lack of gloves while working in the cold to remove tree stumps.
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SCOTUS refuses to accept two Indiana cases

January 18, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has refused to take two Indiana cases, including the high-profile abuse and neglect case of 3-year-old TaJanay Bailey that revealed fatal flaws in the state’s child welfare system.
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3 judges dissent on rehearing denial in stun belt case

January 14, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to not rehear an Indiana case about a convicted murder’s ineffective assistance of trial counsel claims relating to a stun belt used in court, though three judges disagreed and felt the northern Indiana federal judge’s decision should be upheld.
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Court upholds convictions, sentence of a man who shot Indy officer

January 12, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed a defendant’s convictions and sentence related to the shooting of an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer in the summer of 2008.
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Judges find enhancement doesn't violate double jeopardy principles

January 11, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals tackled an issue of first impression in a case involving double jeopardy principles. A defendant’s sentence was enhanced under the Firearm Enhancement Statute following a conviction for reckless homicide.
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SCOTUS declines to consider Indiana case

January 10, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The nation’s highest court has refused to consider an Indiana case involving whether a defendant’s no contest plea to an out-of-state murder can be used to qualify him as a serious violent felon on a conviction here.
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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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