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The Indiana Court of Appeals has determined that state utility regulators wrongly approved $61 million in ratepayer fees for the Edwardsport coal gasification plant.

Duke Energy is seeking the money to cover construction costs for the new plant. But Appeals Court Judge James Kirsch wrote in an opinion issued Monday that members of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission should have better analyzed arguments from Duke Energy and plant opponents before approving the fee increase.


Duke officials have said a three-month delay led to increased project costs. But opponents led by the Citizens Action Coalition have argued that IURC regulators have been "rubber-stamping" fees and a rate hike sought by Duke.

The case is one of many surrounding the Edwardsport plant that is locked in battle inside the Indiana courts.



State lawyers tell the Ohio Supreme Court that using a budget bill to privatize state prisons didn’t violate a constitutional provision holding bills to a single subject.In a brief filed today, Ohio said the state’s budget, like any family’s, involves both revenues and expenses — not just appropriations.

The filing comes in a legal dispute with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. The prison workers’ union filed suit over privatization in 2012, contending that lawmakers extended beyond the single-subject rule when they used the budget to sell a state prison and turn others over to private operators.

An appellate court agreed, finding in October there was no “rational relationship” between the privatization plan and state spending.The state says privatization saved Ohio money and so had “obvious budget connections.”



For the first time since it declared California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the federal appeals court in San Francisco is readying to hear arguments over same-sex weddings in a political and legal climate that's vastly different than when it overturned Proposition 8 in 2012.

State and federal court judges have been striking down bans in more than a dozen states at a rapid rate since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.

Now, three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — all appointed by Democrats and one of whom wrote the opinion overturning Proposition 8 — are set to hear arguments Monday on gay marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii.

"It seemed like such an uphill battle when I started," said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "I really couldn't imagine then that we would be where we are now."

Minter has been fighting for gay marriage for 21 years, was instrumental in challenging bans in California and Utah and is representing gay couples seeking to overturn Idaho's prohibition.



Thirty-two states that either allow gay marriage or have banned it asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to settle the issue once and for all.

Fifteen states that allow gay marriage, led by Massachusetts, filed a brief asking the justices to take up three cases from Virginia, Utah and Oklahoma and overturn bans. And 17 other states, led by Colorado, that have banned the practice asked the court to hear cases from Utah and Oklahoma to clear up a "morass" of lawsuits, but didn't urge the court to rule one way or another.

The filing came as a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana are unconstitutional. The unanimous decision Thursday criticized the justifications both states gave, several times singling out the argument that marriage between a man and a woman is tradition. There are, the court noted, good and bad traditions.

The experience of Massachusetts — the first state to legalize gay marriage — shows that allowing same-sex couples to wed has only benefited families and strengthened the institution of marriage, said Attorney General Martha Coakley.



A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld 10 convictions against an Indianapolis financier but overturned two wire fraud counts, saying the government failed to enter into the record key documentary evidence.

Timothy Durham and co-defendants Jim Cochran and Rick Snow were convicted in 2012 of swindling thousands of investors out of $200 million. Durham was convicted on 12 counts and sentenced to 50 years; Cochran was convicted on eight counts and sentenced to 25 years; Snow was convicted on five counts and sentenced to 10 years.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago rejected most of the appeals but overturned two involving the transfer of $250,000 and $50,000.

The appeals court said the government's failure to enter the documentary evidence "was clearly an oversight, but the mistakes leaves a crucial gap in the evidence in those counts." It said the government used single-page printouts to establish the wire transfers were made in furtherance of the fraudulent scheme.


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