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Judges’ ruling in email records case defers to public access counselor

January 29, 2013
Dave Stafford
A request for the email records of public officials that simply asks for emails to or from officials over a certain period of time doesn’t satisfy the Access to Public Records Act, a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Fraud trial for broker Bales begins in South Bend

January 28, 2013
Cory Schouten
The federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and a partner began Monday morning in South Bend with a jury-selection process that may not have run as smoothly if it took place in central Indiana.
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State may drop Bei Bei Shuai murder charge after adverse ruling

January 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
A judge’s ruling last week barring a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison ingested by Bei Bei Shuai caused the death of her newborn daughter should cause the state to consider dropping all charges, Shuai’s defense attorney said.
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Marion County Clerk offering sweethearts a chance to say ‘I do’ to a healthy cause

January 28, 2013
IL Staff
While giving your heart to your Valentine, you can also help keep other hearts healthy.
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Laptops, tablets now allowed in Indiana Supreme Court

January 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
You now may use a laptop, iPad, and other tablets or computing devices inside oral arguments at the Indiana Supreme Court, so long as you get permission first, sit in the back row and keep it quiet.
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Dropped charges in habitual offender sentence distinguish conflicting rulings

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A defendant who benefited when charges against him were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea is not entitled to relief under a subsequent Supreme Court ruling weighing the same set of charges, a panel of the Court of Appeals ruled Friday. Judges also drew distinctions with a conflicting COA opinion.
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Conour fraud trial set for September

January 25, 2013
Scott Olson
A federal judge Friday morning set a new trial date of Sept. 9 for an Indianapolis high-profile lawyer accused of misappropriating millions in client funds.
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COA rules minors must be active participants to meet statute’s definition of ‘child exploitation’

January 25, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who secretly photographed minor girls in their underwear is not guilty of child exploitation because those girls were not intentionally exhibiting themselves, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.
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Teen father not deprived by lack of guardian ad litem in termination judgment

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A 15-year-old who fathered a child was not deprived due process because a guardian ad litem wasn’t appointed for him during proceedings in which his parental rights were terminated.
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13 interviewing for St. Joseph judicial vacancy

January 25, 2013
IL Staff
Thirteen candidates for a judgeship in South Bend are being interviewed Friday by the St. Joseph County Judicial Nominating Commission. The panel this evening will narrow the field of candidates to fill a St. Joseph Superior Court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Roland W. Chamblee Jr.
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Justices remand burglary sentence for new hearing on restitution order

January 25, 2013
Dave Stafford
A divided Indiana Supreme Court ordered a new hearing for a man convicted of burglary whose restitution order had been thrown out by the Court of Appeals because of insufficient evidence to support the amount of the award.
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COA rules in favor of grandchildren in will dispute

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals had to interpret a handwritten will from 1917 in a dispute among those who stood to inherit land in Benton County. The appellate court determined that the trial court properly ruled that John and Karen LeFebre could collectively receive a one-third share in the acreage.
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Attempted child molestation conviction does not lead to credit restricted status

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the determination that an Elkhart County man was a credit restricted felon following his conviction of attempted molestation of his daughter, finding attempted child molestation isn’t included among offenses that qualify under the credit restricted felon statute.
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Rule of lenity doesn’t apply on man’s escape conviction

January 24, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The rule of lenity doesn’t apply to the case of a Marion County man who tried to break into a home while serving home detention as a condition of probation, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded. The judges upheld Diano Gordon’s convictions of Class D felonies escape and attempted residential entry.
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State of Judiciary will air on PBS around state

January 24, 2013
IL Staff
If you missed Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson’s first State of the Judiciary Wednesday, you can watch it on your local PBS station, beginning Thursday evening. Several radio stations will also broadcast the speech.
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Dickson makes pitch for Odyssey funding

January 23, 2013
Dave Stafford
Procuring money to expand the Odyssey case management system is “one of our most urgent priorities,” Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson told the General Assembly on Wednesday in his first State of the Judiciary address.
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Man wins appeal of case against Indiana Parole Board

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Several conditions of a man’s parole following his conviction of criminal deviate conduct involving an adult – including prohibitions on spending time with his own children – were found to be overbroad or vague by the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. The judges reversed the grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the Indiana Parole Board and other defendants on David Bleeke’s complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief.
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Lawmakers discuss same-sex marriage and criminal code revisions at IU McKinney Law School

January 23, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Two Republican lawmakers are backing off support for holding a second vote on the same-sex marriage amendment, advocating the Legislature take a wait-and-see approach.
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7th Circuit strikes down sex-offender social media ban as unconstitutional

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Code 35-42-4-12 prohibiting certain sex offenders from using social networking sites that allow minors to participate is not narrowly tailored to serve the state’s interest, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The judges ordered a permanent injunction entered preventing enforcement of the current law.
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Judges rule on rehearing that company can hold mechanic’s lien

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
JM Woodworking petitioned the Court of Appeals for rehearing after the court decided in November 2012 that the company could not hold a mechanic’s lien against property of Fred and Mary Anna Feitler for unpaid bills on the construction of their home.
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COA: rehearing petition another example of how DCS ‘dropped the ball’ in case

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the rehearing petitions of the Department of Child Services and a family who had a child removed from their care and re-examined the family’s federal civil rights claims and claims under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The judges also chided DCS’ counsel for submitting a new document in the petition for rehearing that was not part of the record on appeal.
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Senate judiciary committee to look at abuse, DNA bills

January 22, 2013
IL Staff
The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday and has five bills on its agenda, including legislation that redefines child fatality committees in each county.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress after car stopped for window tint

January 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded on interlocutory appeal that an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer lacked reasonable suspicion when he stopped a man’s car due to the tint on his rear window because the evidence shows the window tint didn’t justify the stop.
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COA orders court to determine whether driver fired for just cause

January 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a St. Joseph Circuit judge erred by granting summary judgment in favor of a school corporation instead of making an independent determination of whether a school bus driver was discharged for just cause.
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U.S. Attorney’s Office creates civil rights task force

January 22, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Indiana has created the first Indiana-based initiative in the district to increase and improve local efforts in protecting residents’ civil rights.
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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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