Dissent

Majority affirms trial court in failed lease suit

December 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The majority on the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of a leasing company on a suit brought by the homeowners after the lessees failed to pay their rent.
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COA splits over reversing possession conviction

December 7, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A divided Court of Appeals upheld a man’s possession of marijuana conviction that stemmed from a 911 call. Dissenting Judge James Kirsch doesn’t believe that the providing of a name by a 911 caller removes this case from the category of an anonymous caller, thus the call doesn’t give police enough evidence to stop the car the defendant was in.
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Court split over valid ID requirement for name change

December 5, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Court of Appeals concluded Wednesday that the trial court erred when it required a valid driver’s license or state identification card as a prerequisite to grant a petition for a name change under Indiana Code 34-28-2, but split over whether an elderly man can change his name because he’s never had a valid state-issued ID.
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Question over spirit in which statements were made is enough for jury to deliberate

September 21, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
A defamation suit against an employee will proceed following the Indiana Court of Appeals' finding that there is doubt as to what conclusion a jury could reach in determining whether statements were made in good faith and without malice.
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Divided justices reject opposing summary judgments in church split

July 31, 2012
Dave Stafford
Neither the trial court nor the Court of Appeals got it right in a dispute between an Evansville Presbyterian church and its former denomination when the church left over simmering disagreements on abortion and other matters of doctrine, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a 3-2 decision.
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Supreme Court divided on whether man's claims against bank can proceed

July 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Two Indiana justices believed that a man’s actual fraud and tortious interference with contract claims against Old National Bank should go to trial, an opposite conclusion reached by their fellow justices.
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Supreme Court knocks down habitual-offender enhancement

July 31, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court found a habitual-offender enhancement tacked onto the 20-year sentence of a serious violent felon was an “impermissible double enhancement.”
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Justices reverse Tax Court, determine Miller Brewing owes

July 27, 2012
Dave Stafford
Miller Brewing owes $806,366 in income tax on beer transported by common carriers to Indiana from its Milwaukee brewery, the Indiana Supreme Court determined in a ruling Thursday that reversed the state Tax Court, ending a decade-long dispute.
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Trial in absentia did not violate due process

July 3, 2012
Kelly Lucas
The due process rights of a man charged with two counts of Class C felony non-support of a dependent child were not violated when he was tried in absentia and without trial counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.
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Divided Supreme Court orders new murder trial

March 23, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Three justices have tossed out a murder conviction, ordering a new trial on the grounds that the trial judge should have given the jury the option to consider a lesser offense of reckless homicide.
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Split COA reverses trial court in personal injury case

December 30, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Two Indiana Court of Appeals judges reversed a trial court’s denial of a woman’s motion for prejudgment interest in a case stemming from a car crash.
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Court won't remove trial judge in Simon case

November 17, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has dismissed an appeal filed by Melvin Simon’s widow, finding that it doesn’t have jurisdiction to remove a Hamilton Superior judge from the case involving the late mall-magnate’s estate valued at more than $2 billion.
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Justices clarify police resistance ruling

September 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Emphasizing that it’s not trampling on the Fourth Amendment and allowing police to illegally enter one’s home, the Indiana Supreme Court has revisited a case it decided four months ago and reinforced its ruling that residents don’t have a common law right to resist police entering one’s home.
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Supreme Court upholds Barnes ruling

September 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Emphasizing that it’s not trampling on the Fourth Amendment, the Indiana Supreme Court has revisited a ruling it made four months ago and upheld its holding that residents don’t have a common law right to resist police entering a person’s home.
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Justices stand firm on Barnes decision

September 20, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has revisited a ruling it made four months ago in Richard Barnes v. State, affirming its initial holding that residents do not have a common law right to resist police in any situation.
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COA orders new trial for overly talkative defendant

September 14, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
In a divided opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a trial court’s denial of motion for mistrial, holding that the court went too far in physically preventing a defendant from speaking.
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Justices split on appellate review of prisoner litigant's claim

September 13, 2011
Michael Hoskins
One of Indiana's most well-known pro se prisoner litigants convinced two of the state justices that his latest appeal should get their attention, but the other three denied transfer relating to how the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed the case.
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Defense attorneys lose appeal for compensation

August 29, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Two private defense lawyers in Marion County failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that they should be retroactively appointed by the Marion County Public Defender Agency and compensated for their legal work on a case that has an intricate maze of attorney representation over the course of five years.
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Justices reduce sentence of man found asleep in office

July 21, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Four of the five Indiana Supreme Court justices decided that the man found asleep in the waiting room of a dental office – who had an empty handgun on him – should only be sentenced to 20 years for the crime instead of 40 years.
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Appeals court splits on new sentence modification issue

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
An inmate’s request for a sentence modification has divided the Indiana Court of Appeals, with the majority concluding that the 365-day period during which a trial court could grant a modification begins when someone is originally sentenced, not re-resentenced after a successful appeal.
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Judge: Man did not commit attempted child exploitation

July 18, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals split on whether a man committed attempted child exploitation when he tried to take pictures up teenagers’ skirts at a mall using a camera attached to his shoe.
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Justices split on recovery of attorney fees under Adult Wrongful Death Statute

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court issued three opinions June 29 dealing with what fees are recoverable under the Adult Wrongful Death Statute, holding that attorney fees, litigation expenses, and loss of services can be recovered. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Robert Rucker dissented in each decision, believing that those fees aren’t allowed under the statute.
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High court divided on revising molester's sentence

June 30, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Two justices dissented from their colleague’s decision to reduce a child molester’s sentence more than 50 years, believing the opinion “blurs the guidance” given in a 2008 opinion regarding sentence reviews.
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High court divided on public intoxication charge

June 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In deciding that a woman’s public intoxication conviction should stand, four Indiana Supreme Court justices declined to reverse her conviction on public policy grounds and found the conviction didn’t violate any constitutional right.
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Court: Man may be classified as sexually violent predator

June 29, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that classifying a man as a sexually violent predator due to an amendment to the Sex Offender Registration Act doesn’t violate Indiana’s prohibition of ex post facto laws or the doctrine of separation of powers.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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