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Opioid Epidemic: 10 Indiana cities suing pharmaceutical companies

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Indy Star on 1/8/2018 by Ryan Martin

Noblesville was among several Indiana cities and counties to legally confront opioid companies this week, joining the likes of Indianapolis, Bloomington, Lafayette and others that already have filed lawsuits or announced intentions to do so.

The rush of new suits came from Greenwood, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Kokomo, Terre Haute, Atlanta, Jennings County and Vigo County.

But the filings won’t stop there. Two attorneys representing many of those cities — Chou-il Lee and Manuel Herceg of Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Indianapolis — said Westfield, Jeffersonville, New Albany, Jackson County and Chandler will be filing suits, too.

According to the Noblesville suit, opioid manufacturers “aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction.”

Opioid distributors, according to the suit, “intentionally and/or unlawfully breached their legal duties under federal and state law to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates.”

As a result, Noblesville said it has sustained numerous economic damages, including costs tied to overdoses, law enforcement, and treatment of babies born with opioid-related medical conditions.

The city is seeking damages that would pay for the “past and future costs to abate the ongoing public nuisance caused by the opioid epidemic.”

“The city of Noblesville has joined other Hoosier cities to hold the manufacturers and distributors of highly addictive opioids responsible for the crisis that our public safety departments are struggling to cope with,” said Robert Herrington, city spokesman, in a statement. “Noblesville has filed a federal lawsuit — at no cost to taxpayers — to seek damages that would pay for the rising costs of battling the opioid epidemic that is now the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50.”

In Hamilton County, the rate of non-fatal emergency room visits caused by opioid overdoses nearly doubled over 2011-15, according to the suit. And in 2014-15, the rate of chronic hepatitis C cases jumped by more than 35 percent.

“This incredible harm to not just the victims of opioid addiction, but the communities in which those individuals live, stems directly from the defendants’ intentional choice to pump opioids into” the Noblesville community, the suit says.

Pharmaceutical companies Purdue Pharma, Teva, Janssen, Endo and Mallinckrodt were among the named defendants in the lawsuit. The named drug distributors included AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp.

Companies denied wrongdoing in written statements released to IndyStar shortly after some of the earlier lawsuits were filed.

“We are deeply troubled by the opioid crisis, and we are dedicated to being part of the solution,” Purdue Pharma said. “We vigorously deny these allegations and look forward to the opportunity to present our defense.”

Healthcare Distribution Alliance, which represents the three distribution companies, said distributors are not to blame.

“We don’t make medicines, market medicines, prescribe medicines or dispense them to consumers,” Senior Vice President John Parker said. “Given our role, the idea that distributors are solely responsible for the number of opioid prescriptions written defies common sense and lacks understanding of how the pharmaceutical supply chain actually works and how it is regulated.”

Most of the new suits share the same attorneys and were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Fort Wayne’s suit was filed in federal court in Northern Indiana.

Four of the lawsuits — Fort Wayne, Atlanta, Muncie and Terre Haute — name only the three distributors.

Lee and Herceg, the attorneys, said they expect some of these suits to eventually include manufacturers, too.

Indianapolis’ lawsuit, filed Nov. 14, targeted the same companies named by Noblesville. Indianapolis and Jennings County are represented by the same attorney, according to court records.

Home detention matters

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Legislative Update Published by the Indiana Office of Court Services on 1/12/2018 by Court Services

The Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1034 authored by Rep. Lehman on home detention matters. The bill eliminates the requirement that a period of home detention ordered as a condition of probation must be at least 60 days. Adds to the list of activities that a home detention offender may engage in outside the home any activity approved by the court. Requires an offender to maintain a working telephone, which may be a cellular telephone, or other wireless or cellular communications device, in the offender’s home while on home detention.

No testimony was heard on the bill. The bill passed 10-0.

Read the bill at:

‘We feel like our system was hijacked’: DEA agents say a huge opioid case ended in a whimper

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The Washington Post via MSN News on 12/17/2017 by Leonard Bernstein, Scott Higham

After two years of painstaking investigation, David Schiller and the rest of the Drug Enforcement Administration team he supervised were ready to move on the biggest opioid distribution case in U.S. history.

The team, based out of the DEA’s Denver field division, had been examining the operations of the nation’s largest drug company, McKesson Corp. By 2014, investigators said they could show that the company had failed to report suspicious orders involving millions of highly addictive painkillers sent to drugstores from Sacramento, Calif., to Lakeland, Fla. Some of those went to corrupt pharmacies that supplied drug rings.

The investigators were ready to come down hard on the fifth-largest public corporation in America, according to a joint investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.”

The DEA team — nine field divisions working with 12 U.S. attorney’s offices across 11 states — wanted to revoke registrations to distribute controlled substances at some of McKesson’s 30 drug warehouses.

Schiller and members of his team wanted to fine the company more than $1 billion. More than anything else, they wanted to bring the first-ever criminal case against a drug distribution company, maybe even walk an executive in handcuffs out of McKesson’s towering San Francisco headquarters to send a message to the rest of the industry.

This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said Schiller, who recently retired as assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division after a 30-year career with the agency. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’ ”

But it didn’t work out that way. Continue reading →

Bangert: As DCS roils in Indy, local advocates for neglected kids ‘soldier on’

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Journal & Carrier on 01/06/2018 by Dave Bangert

LAFAYETTE, Ind. – By all accounts, it was just a normal day Wednesday in the fourth-floor courtroom of Tippecanoe Superior 3, where the county’s child neglect cases are heard.

Sixty miles to the south, Indiana House and Senate leaders were gaveling in the 2018 General Assembly session Wednesday afternoon with a vow that they weren’t going to get caught up this session with a crisis brewing in Indiana’s child neglect and welfare system.

What they’d read and heard since the December resignation letter from Mary Beth Bonaventura surfaced – specifically the former Department of Child Services director’s claim that cuts under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration “all but ensure children will die” – wasn’t enough for the legislature to jump in right away.

Or, maybe it was too big for one 10-week legislative session.

“The same stories that we all heard from case workers in the past, I’m still hearing,” Sen. David Long, the Senate president, said. “It’s not Gov. Holcomb’s fault – it’s a systemic issue.”

Business as usual, in other words.

Appellate Court Affirms Battery Conviction, Probation Condition

Full Article on 01-09-18 by Olivia Covington

The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a man’s battery conviction and probationary prohibition on possession of a firearm, finding the trial court did not err in the process of hearing testimony and imposing a sentence.

In Robert Wilder v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1706-CR-1420, Robert Wilder operated a food truck next to an Indianapolis restaurant known as The Tailgate, owned by Dennis Turpen. One day, Turpen was parked behind his restaurant to unload supplies, creating what Wilder believed to be an obstruction that would prevent his son from driving through a nearby alley.

When Turpen refused Wilder’s command to move his vehicle, Wilder became angry and began a physical altercation that ended with Wilder tackling Turpen and banging his face onto the ground. Wilder fled the scene, but both Turpen and William Camp, a witness, called 911.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Kevin Duley interviewed Wilder and Camp and eventually submitted the case for prosecution. Wilder was charged with Class A misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury, but argued the police had botched the investigation by failing to interview him or his son.

Duley, however, testified for the state that he believed there was sufficient evidence the battery had occurred as Turpen and Camp described it, considering Camp “did not have a dog in the fight.” Wilder was then found guilty as charged and was sentenced to probation. The court also imposed, over Wilder’s objection, a probation condition that prohibited him from possessing a firearm during his one-year probationary period.

Wilder then appealed, arguing first that the Marion Superior Court committed fundamental error by failing to sua sponte exclude Duley’s testimony under Rule of Evidence 704(b). But the Indiana Court of Appeals rejected that argument Tuesday, with Judge Mark Bailey writing that even if Duley’s testimony was an improper legal conclusion, it was admissible because Wilder “opened the door” to that testimony when he challenged the sufficiency of the police investigation.

The appellate court also rejected Wilder’s challenge of the probationary condition prohibiting him from using a firearm, finding the condition did not violate his rights under the Second Amendment or Article 1, Section 32 of the Indiana Constitution. That’s because Wilder’s actions showed a propensity toward violence, the court said, so the state’s goal of preventing him from committing more violence while on probation was furthered by the probation condition.

“Furthermore, the probation officer/probationer relationship is one that can become fraught with tension, as the probation officer has the power to regular the probationer’s behavior in ways that may be unwelcome and the power to seek a revocation of probation that could result in incarceration,” Bailey wrote. “…Decreasing the risk that officers will encounter violent, armed probationers is a significant and legitimate law enforcement need.”

Annual State of the Judiciary Address 2018: “A Hope-Filled Future”

Full Article on 1/10/2018

(Article link includes full video)


Governor Holcomb, Lt. Governor Crouch, Members of the General Assembly, State leaders, and Judges, welcome to the 2018 State of the Judiciary. Today I fulfill my constitutional responsibility of reporting on Indiana’s judiciary, which I am pleased to say is renewed, respected, and resolved. In a word, strong.

Let’s begin by talking about the happiest day in court: Adoption Day. What you just saw on the monitors were the hope-filled faces of some of the 220 children in 33 Indiana courthouses—children who joined their forever families in November. The Supreme Court allowed the use of cameras in court for Adoption Day proceedings, and we wanted to share these moments with you. We are immensely proud to do our part in making Indiana one of the most adoption-friendly states in the country.

The 4,100 adoption cases were but a fraction of the 1,316,714 cases filed in our trial courts this past year. These cases ranged from business litigation to foreclosures, from family violence to property rights, from human trafficking to elder abuse and, of course, to the drug crisis.

These cases tell dramatic stories of our children, our families, our neighbors, our communities—in essence, the story of our Hoosier state. Thanks to the extraordinary men and women of Indiana’s judicial branch, we are delivering justice in every courthouse across the state, and we’re firmly poised to meet future challenges.

The Drug Crisis

In preparing these remarks, I asked your leadership what you would like included in this address. Thank you, Governor Holcomb, President Long, Speaker Bosma, Leaders Pelath, Goodin, and Lanane, for your time and input. There was a common theme to your responses: how is the judiciary addressing the opioid crisis?

Addiction has swept into every community and is flooding every court—and not just in Indiana, but across our country. This past year, I was appointed co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force.

People often ask me the same question they are asking you: what can we do about this crisis? I have only one answer: together, we must do everything. This is a situation where well-reasoned, evidence-based judicial interventions can get people to treatment, give consequences, cut the supply, support families, and save lives.

Your judiciary is responding by:

  • Convening teams from each county this July to participate in extensive training on treatment for substance use disorder that works;
  • Developing with partners a judicial toolbox for effective and evidence-based court-ordered drug treatment;
  • Extending the reach of our problem-solving courts; we expect to have over 100 such courts by the end of this year;
  • Advancing drug courts in child welfare cases that involve the entire family in the parents’ treatment;
  • Expanding our corps of CASA volunteers to support the children of parents swept up in the horrors of addiction;
  • Supporting community corrections, pretrial, and jail-based programs so treatment begins as early as possible;
  • Leveraging court technology to slow the supply of drugs from hitting Indiana streets; and
  • Supporting your efforts to expand treatment and prevention programs in our communities.

Yes, we are doing all of this and more to combat the drug crisis.

While opioids are currently our most emergent challenge, we confront many others. To better position our judiciary to face future challenges, the Indiana Supreme Court has made several strategic decisions. And today, I want to highlight three.

  • First, we completed an extensive reorganization of the entire judicial branch administrative structure.
  • Second, we expanded and improved our technology.
  • And finally, we enhanced our judicial branch training by making it more rigorous.

Continue reading →

Divided COA again allows sentence modification in fixed-sentence agreement

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The Indiana Lawyer on 1/11/2018 by Olivia Covington

A divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to reconsider a sentence modification for an offender who agreed to a fixed-sentence plea agreement, a ruling that goes against proposed legislation currently pending before an Indiana Senate committee. However, in his first writing as an appellate senior judge, former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Robert Rucker dissented from the majority ruling.

After being charged with multiple charges related to drunk driving, Alberto Rodriguez pleaded guilty to Class A misdemeanor operating while intoxicated and to being a habitual vehicular substance offender. The agreement required Rodriguez to serve six years on the Elkhart County Work Release program in exchange for the state dropping all other charges against him.

The Elkhart Superior Court accepted the agreement in January 2016, but Rodriguez moved for a modification one year later, alleging his placement had caused undue hardship on his family. The trial court denied Rodriguez’s motion, finding Indiana statute deprived the court of authority to modify the fixed-sentence plea agreement.

But a divided panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed that denial Thursday in Alberto Baiza Rodriguez v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1704-CR-724, with Judge Terry Crone writing for the majority joined by Judge Paul Mathias that Indiana Code section 35-38-1-17(l) does not permit a person to “waive the right to sentence modification under this section as part of a plea agreement.” Crone also noted the agreement allowed the trial court to modify Rodriguez’s sentence only if he became incarcerated, which he did not.

“The trial court essentially concluded that by entering into a plea agreement with a fixed sentence to be served on work release, Rodriguez waived the right to modification of that sentence,” Crone wrote. “But that is precisely what Section 35-38-1-17(l) prohibits in no uncertain terms as a violation of public policy; it does not distinguish between implicit or explicit waivers, and we may not read such a distinction into the statute.”

Thus, the majority determined section (l), when harmonized with sections 35-35-3-3(e) and 35-38-1-17(e) preserves a defendant’s right to modification in fixed plea agreements. The majority remanded Rodriguez’s case for further proceedings, also drawing on precedent from State v. Stafford, 86 N.E.3d 190, 193 (Ind. Ct. App. 2017).

The Stafford court held that, “Unless and until the General Assembly clarifies the statute at issue, it clearly and unambiguously states that offenders ‘may not waive the right to sentence modification … as part of a plea agreement.’” The General Assembly is currently taking steps to offer that clarification through Senate Bill 64, which would allow modifications of fixed-sentence agreements only with prosecutorial consent.

Former Justice and now Senior Judge Robert Rucker also disagreed with the ruling that fixed plea agreements may be modified, pointing to language in section (l) that holds the statute “does not prohibit the finding of waiver of the right to sentence modification for any other reason” not included “as part of the plea agreement.”

“In particular, the trial court lacked the authority to modify Rodriguez’s sentence from work release not because of a ‘waive(r) to the right of sentence modification … as part of a plea agreement,’” Rucker wrote. “Instead, the trial court lacked such authority for a wholly different reason – or in the language of the statute, ‘for any other reason’ – namely: because of the bargain Rodriguez struck with the State of Indiana that his sentence would be served with a specific entity.”

“In essence, it does not appear the Legislature intended to repeal long-standing statutory authority or to overrule long-standing judicial precedent by the enactment of (section (l)),” Rucker wrote, echoing the arguments put forth by supporters of SB 64.

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee is currently considering SB 64, while Stafford will go before the Indiana Supreme Court for oral arguments on Jan. 25.


Legal sports betting in Indiana anticipated by lawmaker’s bill

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The Indy Star on 1/5/2018 by Mark Alesia

An Indiana Senate bill filed Friday would allow the state’s riverboats, racinos and their satellite facilities to offer legal sports betting if federal prohibitions are lifted.

SB 405, introduced by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, follows similar bills or laws in at least 10 other states. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case early this year that could open the door for legal sports betting in any state that wants it.

Rep. Alan Morrison, R-Terre Haute, has said he will file an identical bill in the House.

The bill does not exempt wagering on college sports. The Indianapolis-based National Collegiate Athletic Association opposes all forms of wagering on sports.

The NCAA’s website says sports betting “has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests and jeopardizes the welfare of student-athletes and the intercollegiate athletics community.”

The NCAA declined comment on Ford’s bill.

Legal Sports Report, which follows the issue nationally, said Indiana will be a “key sports betting battlefront.”

The post noted that Indiana was the second state nationally to regulate paid fantasy sports in 2016, but the NCAA influenced the law by keeping college sports out of the games.

Legal Sports Report called that “a relatively easy victory” for the NCAA because there were few major companies in the industry. Influencing legislators in perhaps dozens of states, it predicted, will be much more difficult. The American Gaming Association (AGA) has already said it will fight any attempts to “carve out” college sports from legal sports betting.

The current battle, in the Supreme Court, is Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. It involves the state of New Jersey trying to have the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) declared unconstitutional. PAPSA, which passed in 1992, prohibited sports betting except in a few states.

A panel on gaming at an Indiana legislative preview conference in December agreed that sports betting is quickly moving to the mainstream. The AGA estimates that $150 billion a year is wagered on sports illegally in the U.S.

Ford’s bill would impose an initial fee of at least $500,000 for operators that want to offer sports betting. They would also pay an annual administrative fee of $75,000.

Adjusted gross receipts on sports wagering would be taxed at 9.25 percent.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Public Policy.

Matt Bell, president and CEO of the Casino Association of Indiana, said at the legislative conference that educating lawmakers on the issue will be imperative.

He said sports betting by itself won’t bring a huge amount of money into state coffers. The benefit of sports betting, he said, will be in attracting people to casinos who wouldn’t otherwise go there.

“We have to be reasonable in the way we address sports betting and its taxation as well, both in terms of entry into the market and how we tax it as a state,” Bell said. “Its benefit is that it will be driving customers to a property who wouldn’t be there, who will spend incrementally in other ways. That’s where the state will realize a benefit.”

This is opioid addiction: A Herald-Times special report

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Herald Times on 12/17/2017 by Laura Lane

Forty-eight people died in Monroe County from accidental heroin and opioid overdoses in the past two and a half years.

Thirty-five happened over two years.
Sixteen in 2015.
Nineteen in 2016.
During the first six months of 2017, opioid overdoses claimed the lives of another 13 people in Monroe County. And more have died since. The drugs’ death toll this year is on pace to eclipse each of the previous two years.



Heroin and other opioid-based drugs have been linked to suicides during that time as well. And in August of 2016, 26-year-old Brittany Seabrook Sater’s life came to a violent end over heroin after she was shot with an assault rifle during a drug robbery at her duplex.

This addiction has crippled the country, and it exists in every city and town. Lives are lost; families are left grieving, wondering, forever changed.

Bloomington and Monroe County this past week joined dozens of cities and states across the country in the filing of legal claims against drug manufacturers who peddle opioids. They should be held accountable, the lawsuits say, for the widespread distribution of the drugs feeding addicts’ destructive and deadly habits. Some turn to heroin or synthetic opioids purchased over the internet when the pills run out.

Herald-Times reporters Abby Tonsing and Laura Lane spent time getting to know and interviewing family members and loved ones of 11 of the 35 people lost to the opioid epidemic in 2015 and 2016. The other families were contacted, and either did not respond or said they did not want to be interviewed.

A newspaper editor whose 35-year-old daughter died in Bloomington in the summer of 2015 of an overdose of fentanyl and olanzapine considered telling her story, but declined in the end. “The journalist in me wants to write her story myself, and my pastor says it could be cathartic. The mom in me wants to let her tortured soul rest in peace,” she said. “What I really want is a few more tries to say, “Dammit, you gotta stop this mess!”

The stories in today’s Herald-Times special report on opioid addiction and the devastation that results call those who have died by their first names because it’s how family members referred to them during in-depth interviews about their lives, and their deaths. Durrel, Patty, John, Kevin, Dominique, Kelly, Jessica, Parker, Ashley, Phil, Alex.

Sources are identified by their last names, according to newspaper style rules.

Jennifer Tafoya talked about her stepdaughter Dominique, hoping others hear her story, praying it will turn someone away from heroin.

“It seems like everyone is touched by this in some way or another,” the Greene County woman said. “The only thing I have found to be similar among all the sad stories I know and have heard about heroin is that the person was looking for a way to make the pain inside go away.

“They just wanted to stop hurting.”

Article continues here.

Howard County Drug Epidemic: A New Pursuit

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Kokomo Tribune on 12/13/2017 by Cody Neuenschwander

Tyler Sparger is a 22-year-old former addict who will begin studying law at Indiana University Kokomo in January.

KOKOMO – Tyler Sparger knows exactly where he would be today if he never beat his addiction – in fact he didn’t even need to wait for the entire question to be asked.

“Dead,” was his fast, blunt response.

Sparger has been clean since around April 2016, and has a dream of becoming an attorney. But before then, he developed a drug addiction and overdosed twice in 2016, each time on a deadly cocktail of drugs, brought back into the land of the living with Narcan.

But that’s not where his story starts, and it certainly isn’t where it ends.

Feeling more comfortable standing than sitting for about half of a two-hour interview, the 22-year-old Sparger described his relatively mundane first step into addiction, the sordid depths it brought him and the people and faith that pulled him back out.

When he was 10 years old, Sparger was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, causing him to have uncontrollable twitches and ticks. His mother, Melissa Ballard, who sat with Tyler during his interview, said some of the involuntary movements were so severe she could clearly hear when his chin collided with his chest.

It was a hard thing to cope with when he was young. It caused physical pain in his neck from consistent twitches, leading to tense muscles – an ache that developed over years. Additionally, other kids in school teased him about it.

That combination of physical and emotional pain formed the groundwork that sprouted his addiction, Sparger believes – but it wouldn’t materialize until he turned 16.

That’s when Sparger had his wisdom teeth removed. He got pain medication from the dentist, and said he took them in appropriate doses. That led to something of a revelation: the meds did more than treat the pain in his mouth; they helped manage his ticks. Continue reading →

Odd Indiana crimes of 2017: Brains and vodka, fast cars, and Uber or ER?

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The Indy Star on 12/27/17 by Ryan Martin

A drunken-driving arrest involving human organ samples. A shooting victim who called Uber. An underwear thief. Crimes are rarely a laughing matter. Occasionally, though, they’re unusual.
Here are five that were particularly memorable from the past year.

In September police made a drunken-driving arrest in Morgan County after a witness said a Nissan Titan was moving erratically.

Elmo Griggs

Inside the pickup truck police found several totes with some unusual labels: brain and liver samples.

The reason why? The truck’s driver, 75-year-old Elmo A. Griggs, worked as a pathology vendor for the Marion County coroner’s office, IndyStar reporter Justin Mack reported.

Griggs wasn’t providing services to the county at the time of his arrest.

Police also found a half-empty vodka bottle in the truck.

Police later learned that the samples were connected to Griggs’ private cases involving the Tippecanoe County coroner’s offices.

Griggs was sentenced in October to a year of probation after pleading guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated.


Last year police learned of a six-month shoplifting spree across Indianapolis. Police said the perpetrator stole purses, coats and athletic wear.

Terry Benyon

And lots and lots of women’s underwear.

All told, police say he stole at least $20,000 in merchandise.

They eventually arrested Terry Benyon. He was sentenced in February to seven years in prison after being found guilty of corrupt business influence and multiple counts of theft, IndyStar reporter Holly Hays reported.

Benyon told police that he sold the underwear and other clothes from the back of his truck.

He would park outside gas stations, salons and liquor stores, he told police.

The underwear — some from Victoria’s Secret, according to the report — sold for $3 each.


Want to give a 707-horsepower car a spin? Maybe don’t try it on the Indiana Toll Road in Lake County.

That’s where Indiana State Police in April found an Illinois man reaching 158 mph in his 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

The posted speed limit in that area is 70 mph.

Fully throttled, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The driver told a state trooper that he knew he was driving fast — but that he wanted to show his friends what the powerful engine was capable of, Hays reported.

The Hellcat can reach a top speed of 199 mph, according to an IndyStar auto review, moving from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds.

The driver was arrested on a preliminary charge of reckless driving.


A man was shot in the groin early one May morning.

But instead of calling an ambulance, he apparently called for an Uber, IndyStar reporter Emma Kate Fittes reported.

The 27-year-old eventually was transferred out of the Uber vehicle into an ambulance.

He was taken to Eskenazi Hospital with no life-threatening injuries, police said.

Two suspects fled. No arrests have been made.


Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Scott Dixon and former 500 champion Dario Franchitti were making a food run on a Sunday night in May when they were robbed at gunpoint.

Chip Ganassi Racing IndyCar driver Scott Dixon (9)Buy PhotoChip Ganassi Racing IndyCar driver Scott Dixon (9) watches Ed Carpenters last lap securing him the pole position for the Indianapolis 500 during Armed Forces Pole Day Sunday, May 21, 2017, afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

While waiting in the drive-thru line at Taco Bell, 3502 W. 16th St., two teenagers approached the car, IndyStar reported.

They demanded Dixon’s wallet and phone.

“There goes that Taco Bell sponsorship we were working on I guess,” race team owner Chip Ganassi tweeted.

Two boys, 15 and 14, were arrested.

Statewide symposium to address opioid crisis in rural Indiana

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Purdue University Agricultural Communications on 11/30/2017 by Darrin Pack

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A consortium of eight Indiana agricultural and public health organizations will host a statewide symposium focusing on the significant impact of the opioid crisis in rural and farming communities.

The symposium is scheduled for Jan. 5, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 1300 Hwy. 100 S, Lebanon. Sponsors are Purdue Extension, AgrIInstitute, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Council of Indiana, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana Rural Health Association, Indiana State Poultry Association, Indiana Porkand the Indiana Farm Bureau.

During the symposium, a statewide panel of public policy leaders and experts from the health, economic development and law enforcement sectors will discuss the social and financial consequences of opioid abuse, as well as prevention and treatment initiatives.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will introduce the program and provide opening remarks. The keynote speaker is Sam Quinones, nationally recognized author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.” The luncheon speaker will be Jim McClelland, executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement for the state of Indiana.

Anne Hazlett, assistant to the secretary for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and former director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, will deliver the closing address.

The symposium is open to the public. Registration, including lunch, is $30. To register, go to

Study: Poverty, jail time linked

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Sentinel & Enterprise on 12/26/2017 by Sam Cote

Boston University Statehouse Program

BOSTON — Consider this: You are fined as punishment for some offense. You can’t pay this fine and wind up in jail. Upon release you still don’t have the money to pay the fine or the means to avoid the behavior you were fined for in the first place. You are penalized again, but this time you face twice the fine and double the jail time.

Cycles like these are an unfortunate reality for many in Massachusetts, according to Lois Ahrens, the founder of The Real Cost of Prisons Project.

“You can’t jail people for being poor, but that is what’s happened,” she said.

The U.S. locks up more people per capita than any other nation, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. Despite Massachusetts’ progressive reputation, the Commonwealth is no exception.

The Bay State locks up a disproportionate number of residents from smaller, more disadvantaged cities and town, according to research by Jessica Simes, an assistant professor of sociology at Boston University.

These results are consistent with existing research that shows locations with greater populations of minorities and economically disadvantaged households have higher prison admission rates.

‘Stop the Bleed’ campaign

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Journal Review on 12-13-17

“Stop the Bleed” is a national awareness campaign and a call to action. Stop the Bleed is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.