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Justices affirm stabbing conviction in evidence appeal

June 2, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Anderson man convicted of stabbing his son-in-law lost his appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court Tuesday. The man claimed the trial court wrongly excluded evidence that the victim told others that he had struck the man with a two-by-four piece of lumber before the knife attack.
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Expected changes to Patriot Act better, says IU Maurer cybersecurity expert

June 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
The failure of the U.S. Senate to reauthorize parts of the Patriot Act surprised cybersecurity expert Fred Cate, but he hesitated to describe the expiration of the legislation as a major shift in current policy.
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Indiana team gets SCOTUS reversal on deportation case

June 1, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Characterizing the government’s argument as making “scant sense,” the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the deportation order of a lawful permanent resident convicted for carrying a controlled substance in his sock.
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Justices reject Arizona no-bail law; OK immunity in prison suicide

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday rejected an Arizona county’s attempt to reinstate a state law that denies bail to people in the country illegally who are charged with certain crimes.
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Indiana Supreme Court to review police search struck down by COA

June 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will review a drug-possession conviction reversed by the Court of Appeals in February because a police search lacked reasonable suspicion.
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SCOTUS: Bankrupt homeowners can't void second mortgage

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
A unanimous Supreme Court of the United States ruled homeowners who declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy can't void a second mortgage even if the home isn't worth what they owe on the first mortgage.
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High court throws out conviction for Facebook threats

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States on Monday threw out the conviction of a Pennsylvania man prosecuted for making threats on Facebook but dodged the free-speech issues that had made the case intriguing to First Amendment advocates.
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Indiana justices to weigh Lake County small precinct law

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday over a law that requires Lake County officials to study whether to consolidate election precincts with fewer than 500 active voters.
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7th Circuit affirms solitary confinement; cautions against it

June 1, 2015
Dave Stafford
An Indiana inmate's 30-day stint in solitary confinement at the Miami Correctional facility didn't violate his civil rights, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday. But the panel cautioned judges and prison officials against wide use of the practice.
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Justices rule for Muslim denied job over hijab

June 1, 2015
 Associated Press
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Monday for a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf.
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Trial date set for Indiana man charged with 2 women's deaths

May 29, 2015
 Associated Press
An Indiana man charged with strangling two women and suspected of killing five others whose bodies were found in abandoned houses last fall faces a June trial unless defense attorneys request a delay.
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COA affirms attempted murder conviction, denial of insanity defense

May 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of attacking and trying to kill his mother’s boyfriend was not prejudiced when a judge denied his request to pursue an insanity defense, a Court of Appeals majority ruled. But a dissenting judge said the man had good cause and would remand for a new trial.
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Judge: Lawyers have responsibility to correct bench errors

May 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man’s appeal of his sentence for marijuana-related convictions was denied in a memorandum decision Friday, but an appellate judge wrote the case wouldn’t have been there had a prosecutor or defense lawyer spoken up when a judge erred.
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Free legal aid program changing lives, but future uncertain

May 29, 2015
 Associated Press
The most common problems people bring involve debts, collections and federal taxes.
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Split COA: 1992 Michigan sex offender required to register in Indiana

May 29, 2015
Dave Stafford
A man who committed a sex crime in Michigan in 1992 and moved to Indiana in 2012 must put his name in the Indiana Sex Offender Registry created two years after his initial offense, a divided Court of Appeals panel ruled.
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Legislature turns to attorney to lead new ethics office

May 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A longtime legislative attorney has been tapped to lead the state’s new Office of Legislative Ethics.
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Southern District seeks comment on proposed rule changes

May 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is currently seeking comments on proposed revisions to two local rules dealing with filing records under seal.
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Court rejects Meyers’ claims his trial counsel was ineffective

May 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
John R. Myers II, the man convicted of killing Indiana University student Jill Behrman in 2000, was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that his father-son trial counsel team was ineffective during his murder trial.
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There’s a new kind of lateral hiring going on

May 28, 2015
 Bloomberg News
A number of partners are moving to new roles as law firms begin to emulate their corporate clients. C-suite jobs like chief talent officer and chief innovation officer are popping up, filled by partners asked to try something new.
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Where the clients ‘are no stoned-out hippies’

May 28, 2015
 Bloomberg News
Small firms, like  Brian Vicente’s in Denver, have been advising clients on marijuana law issues for several years. Now even some bigger corporate firms are tiptoeing into the business.
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Boston Marathon bomber to be sentenced June 24

May 28, 2015
 Associated Press
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will be formally sentenced to death on June 24.
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Parties’ oral modification of land agreement unenforceable

May 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the decision by a trial court finding an oral agreement between a buyer and seller that modified a written land contract had to be in writing based on the Statute of Frauds and that the buyer defaulted on the terms of the agreement.
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No abuse in giving jury instruction, but COA still reverses 1 conviction

May 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it gave a jury instruction during an invasion of privacy trial, the Court of Appeals ruled, but the appeals court sua sponte did reverse one of two convictions because of double jeopardy.
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Lawsuit says Mourdock gave chief deputy 3-year contract

May 28, 2015
 Associated Press
A lawsuit by former Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock's chief deputy challenging his firing claims the official gave him a three-year, $300,000 contract before he resigned from office last year.
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COA affirms admission of gun and photographs into evidence

May 27, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A trial court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted as evidence a handgun and photographs of the gun found in a car being impounded after police discovered the driver did not own the car and believed it was unsafe to operate, the Court of Appeals held.
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  2. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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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