In This Issue of Indiana Lawyer

AUG. 31-SEPT. 13, 2011

Read about and take a photo tour of the Story Inn, a 1850s-era Brown County get-away restored by attorney Rick Hofstetter.  Can a school discipline students for posting information it considers inappropriate or disruptive? The court has ruled. Indiana National Guard members are fighting, with the help of attorney Gabe Hawkins, to be compensated for harm resulting from their exposure to a toxic chemical.

Top StoriesBack to Top

Off the beaten path

Two thirsty cowboys descend from a winding forest trail and hitch their horses to a post. They saunter about 100 paces to the tavern to grab a beer, where a tattooed bartender is watching the only TV in town, and Patsy Cline’s voice drifts from the stereo. An elderly couple enjoys a post-lunch stroll in the garden, and in the distance, the high-pitched whine of a table saw means the handyman is hard at work, as usual. This is life in Story, a tiny patch of paradise that began as a logging town in 1850.

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Meth use linked to increase in CHINS

Leslie Dunn, Indiana state director for GAL/CASA, said the number of Child in Need of Services cases over time remains stable, but she’s seen some remarkable variations in cases per-county from year to year. In Vanderburgh County, for example, new CHINS cases jumped from 448 in 2008 to 818 in 2010. People who are watching these numbers with concern cite several possible reasons for these variations.

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Economic woes hitting state’s public defense

Years ago, those working in the Porter County Public Defender Office reported seeing a bright blue Post-it note tagged to their caseload reports that said, “HELP!” in huge hand-written print. That was a common occurrence at a time when the local public defender’s office faced a critical overload point because of skyrocketing caseloads and too few attorneys.

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FocusBack to Top

Protecting pets in perpetuity

The non-profit American Pet Products Association estimates that this year, Americans will spend $50.84 billion on their pets – not surprising, considering the ever-increasing variety of treats, toys, and services for animals. But what happens to these pampered pets after their owners die? Are they consigned to a life of off-brand food? Forced to take up residence in a cramped kennel?

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Court tackles timeliness of trust distribution

A recent Indiana Court of Appeals decision offers guidance to those working in trust and estate matters regarding how long a trustee should wait before turning to a probate court for guidance on distributing money to beneficiaries when a dispute exists over the amount that will be received.

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OpinionBack to Top

In BriefBack to Top

Rehearing: Traffic judge denies misconduct

Hammond City Judge Jeffrey A. Harkin denies that he did anything wrong in operating what may be a long-established but illegal traffic school deferral program and dismissing cases without assessing required fees. He also contends that he did not try to dissuade one litigant from contesting a seatbelt violation in court.

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Foundation hosting golf fundraiser

Christ is my Big C, a charitable foundation started by attorney Stephenie Jocham to help cancer patients, is seeking sponsorships, foursomes, and silent auction items for an Oct. 17 golf tournament.

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Judge hears arguments on bar exam application suit

How far the Indiana Board of Law Examiners can go in asking potential lawyers about their mental-health history was the subject of a federal court hearing Wednesday, where attorneys explored the scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act and what might be reasonable in determining someone’s potential fitness to practice law.

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DCS announces new foster care reimbursement rates

Following a lawsuit filed by foster parents after the Indiana Department of Child Services announced in 2009 that it was going to decrease the foster care per diem by 10 percent, the department announced Friday that it has come up with new reimbursement rates beginning Jan. 1, 2012.

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Disciplinary ActionsBack to Top

Bar AssociationsBack to Top

DTCI: Photo of car admissible to show lack of injury

On Aug. 10, 2011, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion that addressed for the first time the issue of whether a photograph of vehicle damage is relevant and admissible to assist a jury in determining the extent of bodily injury in a trial arising from a motor vehicle accident.

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IBA: Estate Planning 101 for Lawyers – Are You Prepared?

As an estate planning attorney, I regularly counsel clients about disability and death planning. If truth be told, however, I’m not always good at following my own advice. Attorneys procrastinate as much as the clients we represent, too often getting caught up in our daily endeavors and failing to make sure our own affairs are in order. As fall approaches, I’m making time to review my estate planning, and I encourage you to do the same.

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