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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Courts - DC local judges chat with citizens on Law Day

The Blog of Legal Times reports on a good idea:

An hour-long Twitter chat with the chief judges of Washington's local courts Tuesday afternoon covered the relatively mundane - no, the D.C. courts system can't reserve parking spaces for food trucks - to the substantive, with the judges weighing in on everything from cameras in the courts and services for domestic violence victims to delays in admitting attorneys to the bar.

Using the hashtag #AskTheCJs, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield and District of Columbia Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington celebrated this year's Law Day by fielding questions from reporters, attorneys and residents. * * *

The tweets didn’t specify if one judge in particular was responding, but court spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said the two judges collaborated on what to say and dictated their responses to her to type and tweet. In response to a question from the National Center for State Courts on whether the court would hold another chat in the future, the judges replied that they “will definitely” do another Q&A, but haven’t planned it yet.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Courts in general

Ind. Gov't. - "State Senator Kenley: Third Grade Reading Exam Represents State Overreach"

Kyle Stokes of State Impact reports today in a story that begins:

The chairman of the Indiana Senate’s Appropriations Committee says state education officials are out of bounds in using a bill he sponsored in 2010 as the legal basis for a controversial statewide reading test, the IREAD-3.

State Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, says the General Assembly wanted to make “a strong statement that reading was important,” yet sought to avoid creating a single test to judge whether a student could be held back.

But that’s exactly the fear of many parents, teachers, and district officials: if the Indiana third graders who failed the IREAD-3 in March don’t pass a retake this summer, the state will require these students to take third grade again.

ILB: Here are the words of the statute, IC 20-32-8.5-2, eff. July 1, 2010:
Sec. 2. The plan required by this chapter must include the following:
(1) Reading skill standards for grade 1 through grade 3.
(2) An emphasis on a method for making determinant evaluations by grade 3 that might require remedial action for the student, including retention as a last resort, after other methods of remediation have been evaluated or used, or both, if reading skills are below the standard. Appropriate consultation with parents or guardians must be part of the plan.
(3) The fiscal impact of each component of the plan, if any. In determining whether a component has a fiscal impact, consideration shall be given to whether the component will increase costs to the state or a school corporation or require the state or school corporation to reallocate resources.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Indiana Government

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 4 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In Andrew C. Kesling, individually and as Trustee of the Andrew C. Kesling Trust v. Peter C. Kesling, et al., a 38-page opinion in an interlocutory appeal, Judge Brown writes:

In this interlocutory appeal, Andrew C. Kesling, individually and as Trustee of the Andrew C. Kesling Trust Dated March 28, 2001 (the “Trust”), appeals the judgment of June 23, 2011 (the “Judgment”) in favor of his father, Peter Kesling.1 Andrew raises two issues which we consolidate and restate as whether the court abused its discretion in concluding that Peter was entitled to rescission of agreements entered into on June 25, 2004. We reverse and remand.
In Leondre Woodson v. State of Indiana , a 12-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:
Appellant-Petitioner Leondre Woodson appeals from the post-conviction court’s denial of his petition for post-conviction relief (“PCR”), in which Woodson claims that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel. We affirm. * * *

Woodson has failed to establish that his consent was invalid, and has therefore not shown that he was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s failure to preserve the claim that it was. Woodson has not established that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel.

NFP civil opinions today (1):

Todd Edward Lang v. Jessica Lynn Lang (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Eric R. Jeter v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Marcie L. Grant v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Ronnie Jones v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Stage Collapse - Emergency rule approved this morning

Access it here. For background, see this April 27th ILB entry.

[More] Here is the WRTV story from noon today.A quote:

Members of the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission voted unanimously Wednesday morning in favor of the regulations that board chairman David Hannum says will take effect Thursday.

The rules require many events to have engineer-approved plans for their rigging systems along with emergency plans. Smaller fairs and festivals would be exempt from most of the regulations if they create a buffer zone around their stages that extends eight feet beyond the height of the rigging to protect fans in case of a collapse.

The rules are primarily concerned with equipment not attached to a stage. That equipment is now defined as a Class 1 structure, and it will be regulated and inspected for the first time in Indiana.

This could mean permanent towers, booms, ramps, platforms, overhead assemblies or rigging used in connection with an outdoor performance.

The Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security or state fire marshal personnel will inspect the stage equipment, and any venue planning an event which uses it will have to notify the state fire marshal within two weeks of the event.

The new rules also mean that every festival and fair must have an amusement entertainment permit from the fire marshal's office before it can open.

Unfortunately, the WRTV story has an incorrect link to what it says are the "new rules." Instead, use this link, which is also at the beginning of this ILB entry.

See also this new story from John Tuohy of the Indianapolis Star.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Stage Collapse

Ind. Law - Shots fired at lawyer's home: Police suspect connection to March attack on colleague at same law firm

Updating yesterday's entry, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette today has a story by Dominic Adams. Some quotes:

While the circumstances are different, police believe that gunshots fired at the home of a Fort Wayne attorney are related to the shooting of his colleague in March. * * *

"We do believe that the home was targeted," officer Raquel Foster, Fort Wayne police spokeswoman, said of Goeglein's home. Investigators believe the two shootings are connected. * * *

One man who lives in Kuker's neighborhood said he is relieved knowing that police believe Tuesday's event is connected to the law firm, because he has nothing to do with Faegre Baker Daniels.

"It's still a little unsettling that that kind of thing is happening in the neighborhood," the man said, declining to give his name. "I've noticed things that I may not have noticed before – a car parked in front of the house – that kind of stuff. I'm more aware, but it's not something that dominates my thinking."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Indiana Law

Ind. Law - Reactive legislation: two stories reflecting different responses [Updated]

Monday WANE Fort Wayne ran a special report on young Amish buggy drivers. Yesterday Adam Widener followed up:

Kids as young as 10-years-old were spotted driving buggies on county roads and state highways. Both an Indiana state senator and state representative think it would be difficult and widely unpopular to regulate the age of the buggy driver.

Driving around rural northeast Indiana, you've certainly seen them. The Amish lead vastly different lifestyles and use vastly different modes of transportation.

The only thing legally required for buggies is the orange triangle on the back, lights at night, and a license plate in Allen County. Anyone can drive them on any road, except the interstate.

After spotting kids 12, 11, and as young as 10-years-old sharing the roads with cars, trucks, and semi’s, 15 Finds Out brought the issue to lawmakers.

“When it comes to the Amish, there's a lot of resistance by them to do any kind of regulation and we just kind of look the other way. It's kind of bad especially when you bring up the story of the 10-year-old,” said Tom Wyss, Republican state senator for Fort Wayne. “We've tried to take care of their religious concerns and stay out of the Amish community with a bunch of rules and regulations.”

Wyss said lawmakers have in the past tried to get the Amish drivers’ licenses. That attempt fell through since the Amish’s religious beliefs don’t allow facial photography. Wyss said lawmakers even tried to just get their photograph in a database, not on the actual license. But the Amish objected and there hasn’t been an agreement on the issue.

“It's a tough issue. I admit that. It's something that if we try to take up that issue I'm sure there would be a lot of fights and a lot of people that disagree with our approach on that,” Wyss said. “We're hoping the parents will be considerate of how young they allow individuals to drive those buggies…that creates a big danger.”

State Representative David Wolkins (R-Winona Lake) doesn’t think age is an major factor for Amish drivers being safe on the roadways.

“Every time something is dangerous, we don't as Hoosiers go out and pass laws against it,” Wolkins said. “The Amish way of life is a respected way of life in northern Indiana and we have to respect that as best we can.”

Though both legislators agree it's dangerous, for now they don't see any changes in the future. They see lawmakers keeping the law as it is for the people who live in "the way it was."

“They've been doing what they've been doing for 100 plus years. There weren't vehicles when they first started and it's just something that government has never tried to address,” Wyss said. “I really don't know how we can address it and do it successfully.”

In contrast, see this May 1, 2012 Sentencing Law Blog entry, headed "Indiana legislators (over?) reacting to pair of sex offenders earning early prison release." Prof. Berman introduced the AP story with:
This new AP story, headlined "Early prison release for sex offenders irks lawmakers," provides a telling and notable how sex offenders can get into trouble and prompt a harsh legislative response for, in essence, just being good prisoners.
The ILB recalls the Paige Grable case in 2007, which also dealt with the educational-credit program and caused outcry at the time, leading to the passage in 2008 of a bill "clarifying how education credits can be used to reduce an inmate's prison term."

[Updated on 5/3/12] See this Fox59 story today by Jake Miller, headed "Two convicted sex offenders could be released Thursday: Two men convicted of sex crimes against children will get out of prison early, and they are several years short of serving their full sentences."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Indiana Law

Ind. Courts - New Chief Justice to be selected May 15? Correct

From a press release from the Courts:

On Tuesday, May 15th the Judicial Nominating Commission will vote to select Indiana’s next Chief Justice. The meeting is open to the public and press. It will be held in Room 319 of the State House from 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. EDT.

The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission recruits candidates for appellate level judicial positions. The Commission also appoints the Indiana Chief Justice. Detailed information on the 7-member Commission, the selection process for Indiana’s Chief Justice and the “Missouri Plan” merit selection system used in Indiana can be found in the current issue of Indiana Court Times magazine here .

As in the past, all current members of the Supreme Court have been invited to share their thoughts with the Commission members during the May 15th meeting. The Commission has asked the Justices to speak about the qualities and attributes important in a Chief Justice.

At 11:30 a.m. the Commission will go into executive session for discussion. Following the executive session, the Commission will convene in a public session to vote on its selection of Indiana’s Chief Justice.

See earlier ILB entry from April 30th.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Vacancy on Supreme Court 2012

Ind. Courts - Still more on: Task Force created to evaluate the Marion County Small Claims Courts submits its report

Carrie Ritchie reports in today's Indianapolis Star on the Marion County Small Claims Task Force report.

Indy 6 TV has this story and video last evening.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Posted to Indiana Courts