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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Courts - Sadly, "The Justices now have before them a perfect illustration of the gross distortion that can instantly be made of recordings of their proceedings."

Here is a must-read post this evening from the esteemed Supreme Court advocate and founder of SCOTUS.blog, Tom Goldstein.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Courts in general

Ind. Law - What laws were affected by the 2012 General Assembly?

Just out in final form this week, here is one of the most valuable documents available to see if a law you are relying on was amended or repealed by the recent General Assembly.

It is available on the General Assembly's website. It is called the "2012 Table of Citations Affected" and this year it is 83 pages of tiny type long.

Say you wonder if IC 2-1-9-2 was affected in the session. Look down the list and you will see:

2-1-9-2.....Amended.....2.....02/22/2012.....6-2012

Unpacked, this means IC 2-1-9-2 was amended this year by SECTION 2 of PL 6-2012, and that the amendment took effect Feb. 22, 2012.

One item that always has been missing from this table is the enrolled act number. In this case, rather than "6-2012", the table more effectively could have shown "6-2012(1009)".

That would indicate that PL 6-2012 is the Public Law number for HEA 1009.

Because it is not shown in the table, the user must convert the "6-2012" to HEA 1009 by using the "2012 Public Law Number to Enrolled Act Number Table", available here. [Hopefully, this improvement will be made to the cite table at sometime in the future.]

And once you know the HEA number, you can look up the text of the enrolled act by using the search box here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Indiana Law

Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012 - Four member Supreme Court hearing oral argument in New Albany this evening

Photo of Supreme Court hearing oral argument this evening in New Albany:

5:00 PM - Dalmas Anyango v. Rolls-Royce Corp., et al. (49A04-1011-CT-679) - Plaintiffs’ son was killed as a result of a helicopter crash in British Columbia. Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death action in the Marion Superior Court against the manufacturers of the helicopter, the engine, and the engine’s components. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on grounds of forum non conveniens, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Anyango v. Rolls-Royce Corporation, 953 N.E.2d 1147 (Ind. Ct. App. 2011). The plaintiffs have petitioned the Supreme Court for transfer. [Note: The oral argument will be held at Grand Theatre, 138 East Market St., New Albany. No webcast will be available.]
As the photo shows, until Monday there are now only four justices.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012

Ind. Courts - "Tippecanoe Circuit Court closing for Judge Thompson memorial"

Sophia Voravong writes today in the Lafayette Journal Courier in a story that begins:

As the story goes, it was a regular occurrence for criminal defendants being escorted from Tippecanoe Circuit Court -- after being sentenced to prison -- to ask security bailiffs, "Who was that kind man?"

That man was Judge Warren B. Thompson, the longest serving judge in Tippecanoe County. Thompson, at 90 years old, died Saturday at the Indiana Veterans Home in West Lafayette.

In remembrance, current Circuit Court presiding Judge Don Daniel is shutting down his courtroom on Monday, the day of Thompson's memorial service.

"Judge Thompson was a great guy -- very kind, very wise and had a very calm, gentle temperament," Daniel said. "I can't imagine anyone who didn't like Judge 'T.' … To close down for one day in his honor is one very small thing I can do for him."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 11 today (and 10 NFP)

For publication opinions today (11):

Mary E. Santelli, as Administrator of the Estate of James F. Santelli v. Abu M. Rahmatullah, Individually and d/b/a Super 8 Motel

Brent Myers v. Jarod Coats

In the Matter of the Paternity of S.C.; K.C. v. C.C. and B.H.

Ziese & Sons Excavating, Inc. v. Boyer Construction Corporation and Boyer Construction Group Corporation

East Porter County School Corporation v. Gough, Inc., and Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America

Delage Landen Financial Services, Inc. v. Community Mental Health Center, Inc.

Todd J. Crider v. State of Indiana

Ronyai Thompson v. State of Indiana

Buck Gleason v. State of Indiana

Shamir Chappell v. State of Indiana

Michael Woodson v. State of Indiana

NFP civil opinions today (3):

Frank R. Keeton v. Linda K. Keeton (NFP)

Angela D. Driskell, Bob R. Dehaven, and Blonnie V. Dehaven v. Old Republic National Title Insurance Company (NFP)

Standard Coating Service, Inc. v. Walsh Construction Company (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (7):

Danny R. Bailey v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Gerald C. Vickers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Euranus Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Paul Rogers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Kimberly A. Pieper v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Dejuan Parker v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jesse Michael Villareal, Jr. v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Law - Michigan "Teacher's aide says 'no access' to her Facebook; now legal battle with school "

Kelli Stopczynski of WSBT TV has the story and video report about a teacher's aid, Kimbery Hester:

According to a letter from the Cassopolis schools superintendent to the Lewis Cass Intermediate superintendent, a parent who was friends with Hester on Facebook notified the school about the picture.

Hester said her aide job was at Cassopolis public schools, but she was technically employed by Lewis-Cass Intermediate.

A few days later, Lewis Cass ISD superintendent Robert Colby called her into his office.

“He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that,” Hester told WSBT.

In a letter to Hester from the Lewis Cass ISD Special Education Director, he wrote “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly."

Hester keeps that letter in her stack of documents related to the case. She provided the letter to WSBT.

Hester said Colby put her on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended her.

“I have the right to privacy,” she told WSBT.

But University of Notre Dame labor law professor Barbara Frick said the school didn’t break any laws by asking for Hester’s Facebook information.

Right now there are no state or federal laws protecting social media privacy in the workplace, Frick said.

One reason she gave – websites such as Facebook are becoming so mainstream so quickly.

Meanwhile, Hester chose to take unpaid leave and collect workman's compensation while she fights a legal battle with the school district. But she's not backing down.

“I stand by it,” Hester said. “I did nothing wrong. And I would not, still to this day, let them in my Facebook. And I don’t think it’s OK for an employer to ask you.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to General Law Related

Ind. Courts - "Juror spends night on courthouse bench "

The Gary Post Tribune has the story today.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts

Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012 - Yet more on: Governor Daniels fails again to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court

Updating earlier ILB entries, the most recent being this from March 27th, the Muncie Star-Press weighs in today with an editorial titled "State's high court needs to represent all of us." A quote:

Critics might point out that Daniels' choice has a hint of cronyism. Massa served as general counsel to Daniels from 2006 to 2010, and he clerked for Shepard. We think critics are wrong because Massa has the chops to sit on the high court.

However, critics -- and count us among them -- are right to point out Daniels should have appointed a woman to the bench.

Why does that matter?

The answer lies in life experiences. A woman, or a minority, has a set of experiences no white male can ever have. And those experiences can have a profound effect on rendering decisions, especially in social issues such as family law. The makeup of the high court should at least reflect some gender diversity. Women make up half of the population and have a strong presence in the legal system, thus the issue of equality comes into play.

The editorial ends on a somewhat weak note:
If the opportunity arises again during Daniels' waning term to name a justice, he should strongly consider a female appointee. It's past time to bring an air of inclusiveness to the high court.
The ILB believes strongly that the Governor has been given, and failed to take advantage of, an historic opportunity to appoint TWO WOMEN to the Indiana Supreme Court, giving it a representation of 3 men and 2 women, and bringing it into the 21st Century, joining most of the other states' supreme courts.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012

Ind. Gov't. - More on: Bose McKinney reimburses Wayne Township $435,000 for handling of superintendent’s contract

Updating this ILB entry from yesterday, today's Indianapolis Star has an expanded story today by Alex Campbell and Tim Evans. The long story begins:

The Wayne Township Metropolitan School District is getting back some of the money it has shelled out in its battle with former Superintendent Terry Thompson.

But it's not coming from Thompson's millions of dollars in compensation that the district is suing him over. That's still to be decided in civil court.

It's coming from the law firm that advised the district and signed off on a series of contracts that resulted in Thompson's retirement settlement.

Bose McKinney & Evans has agreed to reimburse the district $435,000 for legal fees the district has spent since it began looking into why the ex-superintendent's salary and benefits ballooned to proportions board members said they never intended -- or conceived possible.

The settlement acknowledges no wrongdoing, and it mentions the firm's decades of "excellent legal services to the district."

"Wayne Township Schools have been a client of ours for a long, long time," said Alan S. Townsend, a partner at Bose McKinney & Evans. "They asked us for some help and support to offset the fees for investigating Thompson and prosecuting the lawsuit against him, and we agreed that was appropriate."

The settlement also absolves Bose McKinney of its role in what were later found to be "shocking" increases to Thompson's compensation, with his taxable income growing from $218,000 in 2003 to $2.2 million in 2010.

The district puts the blame squarely on Thompson, alleging -- in the civil suit the Bose McKinney settlement is helping to pay for -- that Thompson engaged in "an elaborate, complex and deceitful scheme" to make dramatic changes to his salary, benefits and retirement compensation.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Thursday, March 29, 2012
Posted to Indiana Government