felony

Court rules on child support nonpayment case

February 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Just because someone doesn’t pay child support for more than one son or daughter doesn’t mean the person can be charged more than once for that criminal nonpayment if there’s only one support order issued.
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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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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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SCOTUS hears Indiana case

January 19, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Federal Community Defender Bill Marsh made his debut appearance before the nation’s highest court on Jan. 12, arguing an Indiana case that questions whether vehicular flight from police is considered “violent” and warrants a higher sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act.
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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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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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Justices accept 4 cases

January 10, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court took four cases for the week ending Jan. 7, including a case in which a convicted child molester asked for his sentence to be reduced but ended up having it ordered to be increased due to a sentencing error.
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Man accused of planning to blow up courthouse sentenced

January 3, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Pike County man who was arrested by police after they discovered his plan to blow up that county’s courthouse was sentenced today after pleading guilty to a charge stemming from the incident.
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Panel criticizes late discovery introduction

December 28, 2010
Michael Hoskins
While recognizing that the state’s practice of allowing late introduction of evidence basically rewards attorneys who don’t prepare for trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals looked beyond that practice in a recent decison to how the rules still protect a person’s right to a fair trial.
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Justices sharply split on insanity defense case

December 23, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Faults in the state’s mental health system can’t be used to justify an insanity defense being rejected in favor of a different sentence that will keep a person locked up, an Indiana Supreme Court majority ruled.
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Justices divided on firearm 'use' sentencing

December 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A divided Indiana Supreme Court has held that state statute dictates that the use of a firearm can be the grounds for a sentence enhancement that doesn’t constitute a double jeopardy violation.
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Justices: sentence shouldn't have been upped on appeal

December 10, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered that a man’s sentence be reduced after the lower appellate court increased it on appeal.
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COA divided on dismissal of OWI charges

December 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a defendant’s operating while intoxicated charges should have been dismissed because the charging information didn’t let the man know what vehicle he needed to defend against operating.
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Justices split on imprisonment for violating probation

December 9, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The state must prove a probationer accused of violating a term involving a payment by not paying did it recklessly, knowingly or intentionally. The burden is on the probationer to show an inability to pay, the Indiana Supreme Court decided in an opinion handed down Wednesday afternoon.
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SCOTUS takes case on whether vehicular flight from police is a 'violent felony'Restricted Content

December 8, 2010
Michael Hoskins
No one disputes fleeing in a vehicle from police is a crime. But whether that crime is considered a “violent” one worthy of an enhanced sentence under a long-standing federal career criminal statute is a legal nuance now an issue before the nation’s highest court, and Indiana is playing a key role.
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Mendenhall gets 40 years for attack

November 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Augustus Mendenhall, the attorney who attacked an Indiana state representative last year, received a 40-year sentence today from a Hamilton County judge.
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COA upholds denial of post-conviction relief

November 3, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the post-conviction court that a defendant didn’t receive ineffective assistance of trial counsel, finding the man had no right to the effective assistance of counsel at the time he gave a statement to police in front of the attorney.
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Court: stipulation can be in preliminary jury instructions

October 13, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Even though a defendant waived his argument for appeal that a stipulation may not be placed before a jury via preliminary jury instructions, the Indiana Court of Appeals held the opposite today in a case involving a conviction of unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon.
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COA affirms murder conviction, sentence of 14-year-old

October 5, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
When asked whether the conviction of and sentence for felony murder were appropriate findings for a 14-year-old offender, the Indiana Court of Appeals today affirmed the Marion Superior Court’s decision.
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7th Circuit expands inquiry to implicit motion for new attorney

August 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals expanded caselaw today when ruling on a defendant’s request for new counsel.
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Court rejects stale trash evidence argument

May 26, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has rejected an argument that evidence found in a trash search was stale because no other garbage had been collected in the past two weeks and that seized material could have been too old.
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COA discusses jury-selection procedures

April 21, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Despite being sensitive to a defendant's concerns about having no African-Americans included in his jury pool, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed his felony convictions of altering an original identification number and auto theft.
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  1. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  2. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  3. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  4. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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