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COA: Trial court lacked authority to rescind plea agreement

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals ordered a Howard Superior judge to sentence a man to the terms of the plea agreement that he had entered into on drug charges before the judge revoked the agreement and ordered him to continue to trial.
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Ex-husband needed to take action to modify judgment, COA rules

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A man challenging the proposed value of his pension’s surviving spouse benefit in a dissolution proceeding had to file his own Ind. Trial Rule 60(B) motion and not rely on the same motion filed by his ex-wife, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Trial court incorrectly determined company could collect all delinquent taxes

March 12, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a $1.4 million judgment in favor of a company hired by Lake County to collect delinquent real property taxes, finding the lower court improperly interpreted the collections contracts as a matter of law.
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Justices remand dental office fire insurance dispute

March 12, 2015
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday reset the issues before a trial court in a dispute arising from a shortage in contents insurance after a fire at a dental office.
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Ex-attorney accused of stealing child's insurance settlement

March 12, 2015
 Associated Press, IL Staff
A northern Indiana man and former attorney faces additional theft charges for allegedly stealing more than $612,000 from an insurance settlement awarded to an injured child.
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Bill ensures that expungement law extends to individuals most deserving

March 12, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
As the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that tweaks Indiana’s 2013 expungement law, the author warned against nitpicking that might undo what he described as the “delicate balance” struck in the comprehensive measure.
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‘Master magistrate bill’ approved by senate committee

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
While the Senate Judiciary Committee moved a bill forward Wednesday that would provide additional magistrates for courts in seven counties, some members indicated a need to revisit in a future legislative session a push to require all judges, including those presiding over town and city courts, be attorneys.
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Judge urges legislators to clarify Castle Doctrine statute

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals in a case of first impression reversed a man’s conviction of battery on a law enforcement officer after finding he exercised reasonable force under I.C. 35-41-3-2(i)(2), the statute revised in response to a 2011 Supreme Court holding that the Castle Doctrine is not a defense to battery or another violent act on a police officer. But one judge asked the Legislature to take another look at the statute for public policy reasons.
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COA affirms policy provides property damage coverage for abandoned sand

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed its original decision Wednesday that an insurance policy covers property damage caused by 100,000 tons of foundry sand on property owned by FLM LLC.
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Public defender’s brief stricken, COA orders ‘competent counsel’ appointed

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reiterated Wednesday for at least the fourth time in seven years to a public defender that he cannot use the “manifestly unreasonable” argument to challenge a client’s voluntary manslaughter sentence.
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Law professors warn against Indiana religious freedom bill

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
A bill that proponents say would further protect religious freedom in Indiana “will more likely create confusion, conflict, and a wave of litigation” because it will confer a special status to religious rights, according to a letter signed by 30 law professors.
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Teen’s adjudications overturned based on unlawful search

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Indianapolis teenager suspected in two burglaries was subject to an unlawful pat down and search by an officer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. As such, the gun found on him should not have been admissible at his delinquency hearing.
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Canine sniff not allowed, but convictions still upheld

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a Supreme Court of the United States decision issued shortly after the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on a case now means that a canine sniff of a suspected drug dealer’s home was unconstitutional, the COA upheld the man’s convictions based on other evidence.
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Couple’s gun collection incorrectly classified as ‘household goods’

March 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The determination as to whether guns or a gun collection are “household goods” should be made on a case-by-case basis, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled. In a case before it Wednesday, the judges held that the large collection owned by a couple who are since deceased was incorrectly classified as “household goods.”
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Indiana joins New York herbal supplement inquiry

March 11, 2015
 Associated Press
Attorneys general from Connecticut, Indiana and Puerto Rico have joined New York's attorney general in an investigation of the herbal supplement industry, saying they're building on the long track record of state attorneys general upholding the rights of consumers.
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Northern Indiana county council rejects abortion ordinance

March 11, 2015
 Associated Press
A county council in northern Indiana voted down an ordinance that would have added new local requirements for doctors who perform abortions.
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Decades-long fight over landfill quietly concludes

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
A 37-year fight over a planned solid waste landfill in Anderson ended recently, concluding one of the longest environmental battles in state history. Only a few loads of trash were ever dumped at the Mallard Lake Landfill, but fortunes were spent litigating it.
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Center Township Small Claims Court makes move Supreme Court previously blocked

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
New Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Brenda Roper is holding court in a new Marion County location that the Indiana Supreme Court less than two years ago found had significant access-to-justice issues.
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Anthem customers’ attorneys will have to prove injury

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
Since health insurance giant Anthem Inc. announced millions of customers’ information had been stolen in a data breach, class-action lawsuits against the company have been filed in federal courts across the country. Although the breach is unprecedented and consumers are fearful their identities will be stolen, the plaintiffs may not have been harmed according to the law.
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Legislative debate highlights issues surrounding juvenile offenders

March 11, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A proposed change to Indiana’s juvenile law has state legislators wrestling with the question of when children should be treated like adults.
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Dean's Desk: Learning to write for the law

March 11, 2015
Andrea D. Lyon
One of the educational challenges facing those of us in higher education (not just law) is teaching writing. The entry of what is often referred to as the millennial generation into higher education has shown a marked decrease in prior opportunities to write, to be critiqued, and, sadly, even to have been instructed in the basics of grammar, sentence structure and syntax.
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Landowners may be on hook for contamination caused by tenants

March 11, 2015
Dave Stafford
Lawyers say an appeals court ruling last year means landowners who learn of contamination on their property may be held liable for damages even if they did nothing to directly contribute to the pollution.
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‘Solar gardens’ catching on, but legality unclear in Indiana

March 11, 2015
Kathleen McLaughlin, IBJ Staff
Imagine seeing the price of gas drop 50 percent, then finding out you couldn’t take advantage because of a law that excluded drivers who lease their vehicles or whose fuel tank is on the wrong side. That’s pretty much the experience of most would-be solar energy users.
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Lucas: Indiana Lawyer names 2015 Leadership in Law award winners

March 11, 2015
Kelly Lucas
Congratulations to our 2015 Leadership in Law Distinguished Barristers and Up and Coming Lawyers! This year’s group comprises an exceptional representation of legal talent, and Indiana Lawyer is pleased to have the opportunity to honor their work.
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Technology Untangled: Meet face-to-face with these free video-chat apps

March 11, 2015
Stephen Bour
This article will look at Firefox Hello and compare it to the similar GoToMeeting.
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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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