The Indiana Court of Appeals made it abundantly clear that if you want to interfere with a criminal proceeding by refusing to testify and do so with a grant of immunity, you will go to jail. A key new case on this rule is the topic of this blog post. In Michael Leroy Tunis v. State of Indiana, 2019 Ind. App. LEXIS 322, Tunis was called upon to testify against Samuel Jude Clark in Clark’s trial for alleged theft and conspiracy. Tunis immediately asserted his Fifth Amendment privilege and right not to incriminate himself, leading the Trial Court to grant him ...
July 25, 2019CD
Most of us have heard the term Miranda warning at some point in our lives, but what are Miranda warnings? When do they matter? In a nutshell, Miranda warnings come into play when an individual is taken into police custody. Police are to give an individual his or her Miranda warnings before interrogating the individual. Miranda warnings, such as the right to remain silent, are designed to put an individual on notice of his or her Constitutionally protected rights. Failure to give an individual their Miranda warnings can result in an exclusion of any criminal statements made by the individual. ...
July 16, 2019CD
The vast majority of us have been pulled over at some point in our lives. Whether it be for speeding or a random traffic stop, being pulled over is often an unpleasant situation. For some of us, being pulled over led to further complications, such as police conducting a search of your vehicle. But can police just pull you over whenever they feel like it? Can they search your vehicle? The short answer is, it depends. Generally, police cannot simply pull you over when they “feel like it.” But police officers do have a fairly low threshold to meet when ...
July 8, 2019CD
Double Jeopardy is a term that most have heard of before, whether it be from personal experience, a book, or television show. But what is this concept of “double jeopardy” and how is it applied? In a nutshell, double jeopardy protects a person from being convicted of the same crime twice. Both the U.S. Constitution and the Indiana Constitution have clauses protecting against double jeopardy. While the definition of double jeopardy seems straight forward, its application is not so clear. The Indiana Court of Appeals recently discussed the inner workings of the double jeopardy clause in their recent decision of ...
July 3, 2019CD
As we all know, individuals do not have the right to take another’s life. The law is clear and unambiguous as to that point. It is safe to say that the law values human life over all other individual rights ten-fold. This is why individuals are never allowed to kill people who come onto their land to steal or cause damage to the property. The law will always value life over things, and therefore provides us with very limited and defined exceptions to this rule. The biggest and most well-known exception is self-defense. Self-defense is the idea that an individual ...
June 28, 2019CD
You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “I’ll appeal it!” But what does that mean? Your first mental image may be an argument before justices of the United States Supreme Court in a landmark case like Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade. For Indiana litigants, there is the remote possibility that a case that originates in an Indiana trial court may wind up in SCOTUS. However, the chances are slim. If you do not believe your Indiana judge or jury has decided your case correctly, you will most likely appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals. While this ...
June 25, 2019CD
The Indiana Civil Protection Order Act1 was enacted to protect victims of domestic or family violence and promote the prevention of future domestic and family violence2. The Act allows victims to file for an order of protection against members of their own household who have committed domestic or family violence. The Act also allows victims to file for an order of protection against individuals who have committed stalking or a sex offense against the victim. When a victim of domestic or family violence files for a Protective Order, the Court is required to have a hearing or allow a hearing,3 ...
June 20, 2019CD
The United States Supreme Court has long recognized the “fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.”1 This fundamental right to parent is why the Indiana Courts place the burden of proof on the Department of Child Services (“DCS”) when it comes to proving that a child is a child in need of services (“CHINS”). Specifically, our Indiana Supreme Court has found that DCS must prove three basic elements for a CHINS finding.2 Those elements are: (1) that the parent’s actions or inactions have seriously endangered the child; (2) that the child’s ...
June 17, 2019CD
The right to parent your child is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But, just like anything else in life, that right is not absolute. For example, parents who abuse their children, whether it be physical or verbal, do not have an absolute right to parent their child anymore. When a child is found to be in a detrimental home environment or found not having their basic needs met, then the State can become involved to protect the child. But there are limits to the State’s ability to intervene, such as when the ...
June 13, 2019CD
“You have the right to remain silent” is a phrase most have heard, whether it be from a television show or personal experience. This phrase is from what is known as Miranda rights. Miranda rights are a centerpiece to the American legal system and arise out of the United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But when exactly does an officer have to read an individual their Miranda rights? And what happens if an individual is not read their Miranda rights? The short and simple answer is that it depends. As is generally the case in law, there is ...
June 5, 2019CD