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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ind. Courts - Les Shively, the latest appointee to the Vanderburgh Superior Court bench

Updating this brief mention from Jan. 11th, see Mark Wilson's feature article today in the Evansville Courier & Press. Some quotes:

EVANSVILLE — Beyond the sharp suits, crisp white dress shirts and animated opinions for which he is well known, Les Shively has built a solid career over three-decades as a tenacious, hardworking lawyer specializing in property rights and real estate law. * * *

On Jan. 10, shortly before leaving office, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Shively, 58, to serve the two years remaining of Superior Court Judge David Kiely's term after Kiely was elected to the position of Circuit Court judge. Tentative plans are for him to be sworn in as a judge in early March, Shively said.Shively was one of seven local attorneys who sought the Superior Court appointment. His legal qualifications include having served as a hearing officer in attorney disciplinary proceedings for the past 12 years and as a member of the Indiana State Board of Law Examiners for 10 years, two of which he was board president. He served as general counsel for the Evansville Area Association of Realtors from 1982-2000. He has represented several local government bodies in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties, including the Vanderburgh County Election Board, Warrick Area Plan Commission and the Town of Chandler.

A frequent donor to Republican political campaigns, Shively donated, both through his law firm and individually, a total of $4,500 directly to Daniels' campaigns between 2004 and 2007, according to the Indiana Secretary of State's Office.

His appointment was an affirmation of Shively's life motto: Work hard, have faith, have patience, and it will all work out.

Patience, Shively said, is the hardest part for him. Superior Court was not the first state court appointment Shively had sought during his 32-year career, having made unsuccessful bids for seats on the Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Decisions - "Indiana Court of Appeals upholds Evansville smoking ban"

Thursday's NFP opinions in the case of VFW Post 2953, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council (NFP) and in the case of Paul Stieler Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Harbor Bay, et al. v. City of Evansville and Evansville Common Council (NFP) are featured in this story this weekend in the Evansville Courier & Press. A brief quote:

The Indiana Court of Appeals said Friday that a Vanderburgh County judge correctly denied injunctions requested by a group of tavern owners and private clubs against Evansville's smoking ban, which took effect last April.
Neither of these opinions was designated for publication by the COA under the criteria for publication set out in Appellate Rule 65(A):
A. Criteria for Publication. * * * A Court of Appeals opinion shall be published if the case:

(1) establishes, modifies, or clarifies a rule of law;
(2) criticizes existing law; or
(3) involves a legal or factual issue of unique interest or substantial public importance.

Other Court of Appeals cases shall be decided by not-for-publication [NFP] memorandum decision.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Ind. Gov't. - "Squad cars adding cameras, license plate readers"

Jeff Wiehe reports in the FWJG - some quotes:

FORT WAYNE – While on patrol at the state fairgrounds a few years ago, 1st Sgt. Brian Olehy of the Indiana State Police listened as continual dings sounded off in his squad car.

Every parked car or truck he passed created another alert: ding … ding … ding.

Mounted on the outside of Olehy’s car were cameras and sensors called automatic license plate readers, and each ding meant they had scanned the license plate of a vehicle he passed.

In turn, these readers stored that information in a database and then cross-checked it against a database of license plates belonging to reported stolen vehicles.

“They’re a very useful tool, specifically for stolen vehicles,” said Olehy, who added that the dings would’ve turned to a different sound if he had actually found a stolen vehicle.

Automatic license plate readers are becoming more and more popular with law enforcement agencies, and in May there will be a set of them deployed on two Fort Wayne police squad cars.

Law enforcement officials say they not only help in finding stolen vehicles but can also quickly find license plates registered to suspended drivers, those who owe money on parking tickets or those involved in an Amber Alert situation. * * *

But some critics say the plate readers can be abused and question what police are doing with the voluminous data the readers record daily.

The American Civil Liberties Union specifically questions whether police will use the readers to track law-abiding citizens who are going about their day, having their location recorded without their knowledge.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Indiana Government

Ind. Gov't. - "We shouldn't base Indiana energy policy on soothsaying designed to protect a monopoly."

That is a quote from a "Behind Closed Doors" item (scroll to final item in article) in Sunday's Indy Star. A few quotes:

More than a month into the Indiana General Assembly's session, the future of the controversial Rockport coal-gasification is still unclear. * * *

Evansville-based Vectren Corp., which provides natural gas to most customers in Central Indiana outside Marion County, has estimated that the deal would cost ratepayers $1 billion during the plant's first eight years of operation under current market conditions.

Vectren is leading a group fighting to stop the plan from ever operating.

Mark Lubbers, the project manager for Indiana Gasification, the group behind the project, countered that Vectren has produced consumer losses of $628 million in the past five years, by using the same methodology.

"Vectren's predictions are based on assumed natural gas prices between 2018 and 2028; a fortune teller at the State Fair has a better chance of being right. We shouldn't base Indiana energy policy on soothsaying designed to protect a monopoly."

ILB: Actually many might also consider the Rockport plant deal, which holds the Indiana natural gas ratepayers captive for the next 30 years, monopolistic.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Indiana Government

Courts - A decision on the issue of whether atorneys may copyright their briefs

Here is a story reported by Jessica Dye of ThompsonReuters that begins:

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Manhattan has thrown out a copyright lawsuit brought by an attorney who sued legal research companies Westlaw and LexisNexis, claiming they had unlawfully profited from his copyrighted legal filings.

In a brief ruling issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed Edward White's lawsuit. White, who specializes in intellectual property law, had alleged that Westlaw, owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, and LexisNexis, owned by Reed Elsevier Plc, profited by selling his copyrighted legal briefs in their databases.

Rakoff said that his reasoning for dismissing the lawsuit would be laid out in a subsequent opinion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Courts in general

Environment - Pipelines in the news this weekend: crude oil, tar sands, and natural gas

From the South Bend Tribune, this story by Lou Mumford on the Enbridge crude oil pipline, which cuts across northwest Indiana. A few quotes:

Canada-based Enbridge Energy seek a connection, between Sarnia, Ontario, in Canada and Griffith, Ind., some 285 miles away. Already, a pipeline is in place, but a new one adjacent to the current buried structure began taking shape last year largely so Enbridge can transport greater quantities of crude oil to refineries.

The new pipeline, like the current one, cuts through less than an acre of the 11-acre farm Theri Niemier and her husband, John, bought in 1996. In a stance similar to Bertrand Farm's, Enbridge says on its website that it "takes seriously" its relationship with fossil fuels, adding that it "invests heavily in renewable and alternative energy technologies" such as wind farms and solar applications.

But Theri Niemier is leery, arguing Enbridge's track record when it comes to environmental responsibility leaves a lot to be desired.

"The irony is unbelievable," she said. "We're exactly the opposite of what the pipeline is doing to us."

From the Chicago Tribune today, this story by Mitch Smith on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport tar sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast. A quote:
More than 200 opponents to the Keystone XL Pipeline gathered Sunday in Chicago’s Grant Park, about halfway between Washington, D.C.—where thousands more marched against the proposed pipeline – and the route that would carry Canadian oil sands across the Great Plains to American oil refineries.

The Chicago demonstrators, many of them college students, said the pipeline poses an environmental threat to the entire nation at a time when America should be investing in renewable energy sources. They urged President Barack Obama to deny permits to TransCanada, the oil company that has for years tried to assuage concerns and get permission to build the pipeline.

See also today's NYT's storty by John Broder, Clifford Krauss and Ian Austen, headed "Pipeline Call Gives Obama New Problems Either Way."

Finally, the GAO has put out a 44-page report on natural gas pipeline permitting.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Environment

Ind. Courts - "Longtime Allen Superior Court Judge Stephen M. Sims will be retiring at the end of April"

So reported Rebecca S. Green in the FWJG last Friday. More:

Sims, who is in his late 60s, has served as judge in the family relations division of Superior Court since 1997, handling juvenile cases at the Allen County Juvenile Justice Center.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Courts - Former Clerk of the Indiana Supreme and Appellate Courts Dwayne Brown, dies at 50

Here is the obituary from the Feb. 15, 2013 Indianapolis Star.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Sunday, February 17, 2013
Posted to Indiana Courts