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Letters to a New Lawyer: Building blocks for a successful legal career

February 16, 2011
After practicing law for nearly four decades, it is a joy to share some thoughts with new lawyers who are beginning their practice.
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COA reverses and remands CHINS finding regarding stepfather

February 15, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
After the juvenile court adjudicated two minor children as children in need of services following their mother’s admission to allegations filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services, the majority of a Court of Appeals panel today reversed and remanded that finding in favor of the stepfather, who denied the allegations and asked for a fact-finding hearing. One Court of Appeals judge dissented, writing that she disagreed that the trial court violated the stepfather’s right to due process in this case.
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Fair Finance trustee sues Indy attorney for $375,000

February 15, 2011
Greg Andrews
The bankruptcy trustee for Fair Finance Co. has filed a lawsuit against Indianapolis attorney Stephen Plopper and his wife, saying they defaulted on a 2003 loan from the defunct Tim Durham-owned business and now owe $375,000.
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Supreme Court suspends judge for 30 days

February 15, 2011
Michael Hoskins
A 30-day unpaid suspension begins next week for Marion Superior Traffic Judge William Young, though the chief justice expects the Indiana Supreme Court would have issued a lengthier sanction if a settlement had not been reached in the misconduct case.
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Court reverses class certification in hail-damage action

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the class certification granted by the District Court in a suit brought by unsatisfied homeowners following a 2006 hailstorm in central Indiana.
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Judges reverse denial of motion to suppress

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the denial of man’s motion to suppress, finding the traffic stop that resulted in his drunk driving arrest wasn’t supported by reasonable suspicion.
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High court takes 4 cases

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted four cases on transfer, including one in which they released an opinion on the matter the same day they granted transfer.
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CLE commission elects 2011 officers

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Commission for Continuing Legal Education has elected four officers to serve during the 2011 calendar year, the Indiana Supreme Court announced Monday.
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Supreme Court interactive event rescheduled

February 14, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court has rescheduled its interactive drama “Bound for Freedom: The Case of Polly Strong,” which was postponed after a winter storm hit central Indiana earlier this month.
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Attorney reprimanded for charging unreasonable fees

February 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded a Hamilton County attorney for violating Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 1.5(a) by making agreements for and charging unreasonable fees.
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Lawyer suspended for 180 days due to conduct during disciplinary process

February 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has ordered a six month suspension for an Indiana lawyer who primarily practices in Michigan, not because of the misconduct committed, but more specifically because of the attorney’s bad behavior during the disciplinary process.
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ISBA Women's Bench Bar Retreat March 4

February 11, 2011
IL Staff
The 10th Annual Women’s Bench Bar Retreat, hosted by the Indiana State Bar Association’s Women in the Law Committee, will take place March 4 to 6 at Culver Cove Resort in Culver.
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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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JTAC fee bill amended, other bills moving

February 11, 2011
IL Staff
The Senate bill aimed at increasing the automated record-keeping fee to pay for a statewide case management system made it out of committee, but not before legislators decreased the fee beginning this year.
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Cuts proposed to LSC budget would affect ILS

February 10, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Among approximately 70 proposed budget cuts, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting $75 million, or 17 percent of the budget for the Legal Services Corporation, which funds 136 civil legal aid programs around the country, the committee announced Wednesday.
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Justices find statute doesn't apply to landfill facility

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Supreme Court has ruled on a 30-year fight between the owners of a proposed landfill and neighbors, ruling that a new law doesn’t apply to the facility or require it to get a new permit.
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Appeals court reverses summary judgment for pharmacist, CVS

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a pharmacist working in a Hendricks County CVS had a duty of care to a customer to either warn her of the side effects of a drug or withhold the medication. As a result, the judges reversed summary judgment in favor of the drug store and pharmacist in a negligence suit.
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Man gets 10 years for human trafficking

February 10, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The first person convicted of human trafficking in Marion County has received 10 years on the charge.
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Supreme Court affirms admitting English transcript at trial

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
English language translation transcripts of statements recorded in foreign language, if otherwise admissible, may be properly considered as substantive evidence, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
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Justices answer certified question on fault

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
After revising a certified question received from the federal court, Indiana Supreme Court justices answered the question in the affirmative.
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Judge reverses probate court in first opinion

February 9, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
Judge Martha Wentworth has handed down her first opinion as Indiana’s Tax Court judge. In her decision, she reversed the probate court’s finding that an estate didn’t have to file an inheritance tax return on checks issued to a deceased woman’s brother on an annuity contract.
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Justices uphold modification of physical custody to father

February 8, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A majority of Indiana Supreme Court justices granted transfer today to Mariea L. Best v. Russell C. Best, No. 06S05-1102-CV-73, and affirmed a special judge’s decision to grant a father physical custody of his daughter M.B. They held the trial court made the necessary findings to support the modification.
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Fundraiser to benefit Legal Aid in Tippecanoe County

February 8, 2011
IL Staff
The Legal Aid Outback lunch and auction will be held Feb. 23 at Outback Steakhouse in Lafayette. Proceeds from the event benefit Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County, a nonprofit that provides low-cost legal assistance to low-income county residents on family law matters.
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JTAC fee, Clark County courts bills before committees

February 7, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
A bill that would increase the automated record-keeping fee to pay for implementation of a statewide case-management system and a bill that proposes to create a unified Circuit Court in Clark County are just two of the bills before committees this week in the Indiana General Assembly.
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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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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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