« February 26, 2013 | Main | February 28, 2013 »

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ind. Courts - "Monroe County Attorney Phillip Chamberlain Convicted of Counterfeiting"

You can read the facts in this news release from the Secretary of State. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS (February 27, 2013) – An investigation by Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s Prosecution Assistance Unit and the filing of criminal charges by Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal has led to the conviction of Monroe County attorney Phillip Chamberlain. Today, Chamberlain was convicted of Counterfeiting, a class D felony by Monroe County Judge Teresa Harper. Judge Harper entered the Judgment of Conviction as a class A misdemeanor and ordered Chamberlain to pay the man he victimized $15,000. * * *

Chamberlain abused his position of trust as the victim’s attorney to advance his criminal scheme. He preyed upon that trust to convince Shannon Ramey to loan money to Dwight Hart, whom Ramey had never met, to purchase JROCK Golf Course. Ramey gave Chamberlain a check for $36,750 as an investment in JROCK Golf Course.

Instead of giving the money to Hart for the golf course, Chamberlain took the check and split it into two cashier’s checks. Chamberlain took one of the checks for $10,000 and endorsed the back of the check in the name of JROCK Golf Course even though he didn’t have the authority. Chamberlain deposited the money in his own bank account. Hart never authorized Chamberlain to raise money for the JROCK Golf Course and didn’t provide him with any powers over the company.

Chamberlain’s victims, Hart and Ramey, both testified at the sentencing hearing. Hart, now 72 years old, testified he was financially ruined by Chamberlain and was forced to file for bankruptcy as a result of Chamberlain’s criminal actions. Hart stated, “Financially, he has ruined my life.”

In addition to ordering Chamberlain to make payments to the victim totaling $15,000, Judge Harper ordered Chamberlain to serve a suspended sentence of 504 days on probation and to complete 120 hours of community service.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted to Ind. Trial Ct. Decisions

Ind. Courts - "Prosecutor Terry Curry [still] hasn't decided whether to drop the murder charge against Bei Bei Shuai "

The AP's Charles Wilson is reporting this afternoon that "Prosecutor Terry Curry hasn't decided whether to drop the murder charge against Shuai or ask another pathologist to analyze the baby's December 2010 death," but that he will not appeal "a judge's decision barring a doctor's testimony that the rat poison a woman ate while she was pregnant caused her newborn's death."

That basically tracks this story from Jan. 26th.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted to Indiana Courts

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 4 today (and 8 NFP)

ILB: For some reason the opinions posted today by the COA have all been locked so as to deny any editing, printing, or copying!!! Thus there can be no ILB summaries.

For publication opinions today (4):

Storm Damage Specialists of America d/b/a America's SDS Construction, Inc. v. Melissa A. Johnson and Michael B. Johnson

Midwest Minerals, Inc. v. Fred L. Wilson, Rick Jenkins, Joseph Kenworthy, Michael Tewell, and James Clayton, et al.

In the Matter of the Paternity of G.W., J.W. v. R.M.

Lamont Holloway v. State of Indiana

NFP civil opinions today (0):

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

Paula Tackett v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Chambers v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Jason A. Cafouras v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Merriweather v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions

Courts - Sheet metal and AC contractors demand takedown of federally mandated standards posted online

Recalling earlier ILB entries, such as this one from Aug. 7, 2008 ("Indiana building codes, part of the Indiana Administrative Code, are copyrighted and not available online"), and this one from May 22, 2012 (""Industry Groups Insist on Charging You $1,195 to Read a Public Law""), Mike Masnick of Techdirt reported yesterday that the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors are demanding that Carl Malamud's organization, which purchased the federally-mandated 1985 standard on air-duct leakage and posted it online, take it down. More from the story:

Malamud's Public.Resource.Org, with help from the EFF, have filed for declaratory judgment that posting such information does not infringe on SMACNA's copyright.

In the filing, the case is made that since these standards are incorporated into federal regulations, they have the force of law, and thus cannot and must not be held in secret.

Technical manuals like the 1985 manual at issue in this case, explicitly adopted by federal regulation, have the force of law and impose affirmative obligations on citizens. As much as landmark health care acts or Supreme Court civil rights decisions, these technical requirements—for building, electrical, plumbing, transportation—touch the lives of Americans every day. Business owners, workers, and consumers need to know these directives in order to operate their businesses lawfully, to avoid penalties, and to determine whether neighbors, contractors, or competitors are in compliance.
The crux of the argument is that as the standard is incorporated into law, it is no longer infringing to make that work available, as one cannot comply with the law without having that information.
The post includes a copy of the declaratory judgment complaint filed in the ND Calif. on Feb. 22nd.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted to Courts in general

Ind. Gov't. - More on: "3 Democrats file suit challenging redistricting plan approved by Mayor Ballard"

Updating this ILB entry from Feb. 13th, Jon Murray reports today in the Indianapolis Star:

The Marion County clerk’s office has selected a Republican judge to replace another who recused himself from a five-judge panel chosen to hear City-County Council Democrats’ redistricting challenge.

Marion Superior Court Judge Robert Altice was chosen to replace Judge Theodore Sosin on Monday through a random electronic process, said Angie Nussmeyer, spokeswoman for Clerk Beth White.

Sosin filed an order of recusal on Friday, removing himself from the case for undisclosed reasons. His order only generally cites an Indiana trial rule that requires recusal or disqualification of a judge based on a range of conflicts of interest. Reached today by email, Sosin declined to discuss his reason for his recusal in more detail.

Altice joins a panel of Marion Superior Court civil judges that has one other Republican, Cynthia Ayers, and three Democrats: Heather Welch, who is presiding over the case; Thomas Carroll; and James Osborn.

All of them have potential conflicts in a case as politically fraught as one concerning council redistricting, but state law governing redistricting challenges in Marion County specifically hands the case to such a panel.

ILB: Here is the applicable provision, IC 36-3-4-3.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Posted to Indiana Government