The hallmark of justice in our society for serious criminal cases is a jury of one’s peers and a fair and impartial judge. No system is perfect. Human perceptions and job focus can sometimes interfere with a criminal case to such an extent a fair trial is not possible. In a new key criminal case on appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals barred trial in northern Indiana of man who was charged with the shooting death of his wife.1 At the most ...
June 8, 2017 / General Practice
In today’s digital age, a cell phone or hand-held device is basically a sophisticated hand-held computer as well as a primary means of communication. Given this, there is general uniformity in the law that to search a cell phone or computer, the police have to have probable cause and a search warrant, just like your home. This is guaranteed by state constitutions the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and applies in all states,1 which is important if the state has a ...
May 30, 2017 / Court Trial
In trial court testimony, it is rare that the prosecutor (if the defendant testifies on his or her behalf) or a Plaintiff’s or Defendant’s attorney gets a stunning revelation on cross-examination, such as in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men where the witness on trial in a military court—while enraged on cross—admitted he ordered the “code red” which caused other soldiers to beat up a non-conforming soldier. Equally, criminals on trial for murder don’t typically admit they killed the ...
Civil appeals are guided by very rigid appellate rules. Generally, missing an appellate deadline precludes a civil appeal. The only remedy is a malpractice action against counsel who failed to advise his or her of the appellate deadline or missed this deadline. This is unlike criminal appeals, where belated appeals may be allowed due to the potential loss of life and liberty by incarceration. This blog explores a very narrow remedy that the Indiana Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have embraced where the facts of ...
As with all cases brought against an individual or family (civil or criminal), the State has the burden of proof. With respect to neglected children (“CHINS”) or children who commit acts that would be crimes (“Juvenile Delinquents”) if an adult, the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) acts for the State. In a recent case, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Child in Need of Services (“CHINS”) determination against a father. This case has three key holdings or points for ...
Over time, the nature and complexities of divorce have changed. In the 60s and 70s, for instance, before uniform acts were adopted by the states on custody jurisdiction, a parent wanting to obtain child custody simply went on “vacation” with the children to another state, filed divorce, and had custody decided in a more favorable place to their legal objectives. Laws, lawyers, judges, and legislatures have done a great deal to level the playing field for litigants. However, there are certain “no-nos” even today ...
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 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 ...
March 2, 2017 / Protective Order
Through cases and statutes, criminal and civil trial courts have an array of tools under the general umbrella term of protective orders to assist with due process and justice—to protect people and property from injury or harm to their case. This blog explores four common types and their uses. The first is a “no contact order”. They typically are a term of release when one person has injured another or threatened such and may extend to victims and witnesses. How these ...
February 21, 2017 / Custody Modification
Indiana’s elected judges are tasked with the important job of weighing the evidence of the parties’ positions when presented with a custody modification case or contempt of court for a wide range of circumstances, such parenting time interference. In a recent key dissent (from granting transfer [i.e., taking the case by its discretion]), the Indiana Supreme Court1 signaled that when the facts can support but one conclusion—a parent has intentionally interfered with parenting time--such continual interference itself can ...