A key tool prosecutors and defense attorneys use to resolve criminal cases is a plea agreement. This is a contract of sorts between the two “parties”, the prosecutor and the defendant, but is not binding upon the court unless it is accepted. Plea agreements ensure the orderly and timely administration of justice by allowing most cases to resolve without a bench (judge) or jury trial (where allowed). For most defendants, the biggest reason for a plea is to obtain charges being dropped, a ...
March 30, 2017 / Divorce
Everyone has watched courtroom television dramas unfold in which a fictional attorney stands up in courtrooms and witness by loudly exclaiming, “I object!” Next, the opposing counsel scoffs, and mutters something under his breath, while the judge decides whether to allow the testimony (this is overruling the objection if the witness is allowed to continue). On television, a scene like this certainly serves its dramatic, cinematic purpose, but when you are in an actual courtroom proceeding, understanding the ...
March 23, 2017 / Civil Law
The Implications of Scotus Riley V. California Today, more than 90% of American adults carry cell phones (which are really mini-computers) and, by now, most are likely aware that these devices contain a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives, from the mundane to the intimate. Some may assume this is private, but, the judiciary has helped to preserve our digital privacy, namely the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling in Riley v. California that is still working its ...
March 20, 2017 / Indiana Court of Appeals
Indiana is fortunate to have an intermediate court, the Indiana Court of Appeals, where final judgments from Indiana’s trial courts may be taken as a matter of right for most of the tens of thousands of cases decided each year. This blog post focuses on the ways this Court may decide and rule on an appeal. In the broadest terms, there are two primary “options” the Court of Appeals may rule, labeled: “Affirmed” or “Reversed”. Affirming a trial court order agrees ...
In polling a room full of people who have experienced divorce, some will contend their ex-spouse is "crazy". Part of this is gallows humor and a way to cope with this past or present stressor; there are those for whom the situation will be a reality. This blog post addresses divorce and mental health statistics means to obtain a diagnosis or assessment under the law, and key implications for the divorcing parties. First, divorce itself is now recognized as a traumatic experience and possible ...
Clearly, natural and adoptive parents have a fundamental right to raise their children.1 However, given these constraints, the Indiana Courts have four important tools by statues and one by caselaw to utilize to assist third parties to obtain “custody” of children where their well-being depends on it. The reality in the United States is that millions and millions of children are primarily raised by people other than their parents, mostly by grandparents and relatives. Millions more are raised for periods of ...
March 9, 2017 / Civil Law
Maybe and Maybe Not! Criminal prosecution and defense, as with the rest of law and society, has become complex. Thus, even routine criminal cases should be pair an accused with an informed and skilled defense counsel. The Indiana Supreme Court’s recent case on Miranda warning in a field sobriety checkpoint reflects this need. Typically, during any police detainment of any duration and questioning, Miranda warnings apply. However, in State v. Brown, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled consistently with ...
Three Key Defenses to Return of Children to Their County of Residence Under The Hague Convention And Other Remedies
March 8, 2017 / Child Kidnapping by Parents
Many countries are signatories to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction1; and the treaty has been ratified between these countries. When this is the case, a child wrongfully removed from his or her country of habitual residence may be subject to proceedings to return proceedings, generally brought in the country where they have been taken. However, while there are always circumstances relevant to removal, a few constitute legal, affirmative defenses that will allow the judicial or ...
March 7, 2017 / Restoration of Rights
A controversial topic nationally is the prohibition on individuals convicted of battery with a domestic component. For defendants, it is unique because it is the only misdemeanor crime where an individual is disqualified under federal law from possessing firearms. This disqualifier also prohibits any person in Indiana from being issued a License to Carry a Firearm. Generally, the notion behind these bars is domestic violence is more serious than other crimes because it tears at the social fabric of ...
Fortunately, Indiana has a strong and growing economy with little debt. For this reason, along with its central location, many marital estates are in excess of one million dollars. Divorcing parties in this situation are fortunate in that they likely have enough money to properly account for the basic cost of a divorce which is a complex legal transaction (including tax issues, determining finances through a financial declaration, attending a parenting class, and valuing and dividing assets that were often not contemplated to ...