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7th Circuit affirms crime-lab ruling

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a District Court's decision of summary judgment in favor of Indianapolis and Marion County in an appeal filed by a former employee of the county's Forensic Services Agency, or Crime Lab.

In Kelly S. Coolidge v. Consolidated City of Indianapolis and Marion County, 06-3587, Coolidge appealed the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, ruling, saying pornography she found created a hostile work environment and that she was fired from her job in retaliation for her previous lawsuit against her Crime Lab supervisor, David Willoughby, for sexual harassment.

Coolidge sued Indianapolis and Marion County, claming that Willoughby continued to sexually harass her after his retirement by leaving behind pornographic tapes where she would find them. She found two pornographic videos in the Crime Lab's videotape cabinet that were unlabeled, so she watched them to determine what was on the tape. She found they contained pornography, took the tapes to her attorney to copy for evidence, and several weeks later, notified her supervisor of the incident. Willoughby denied any knowledge of the tapes.

The 7th Circuit ruled Coolidge's finding of the tapes does not create a hostile work environment because her discovery and viewing of the tapes was brief and not particularly severe. There was no evidence to show the tapes were Willoughby's and that he left them behind to harass Coolidge.

Coolidge argued in her appeal that she was passed over for Willoughby's position and that it was given to a lesser-qualified candidate who did not have the education needed for the job. The successful job candidate was, in fact, more qualified in education and experience than Coolidge, and there is no proof to show she was passed over because of her previous lawsuit.

Finally, Coolidge contended she was reprimanded and subsequently fired in retaliation for her lawsuit. Her two reprimands and a third incident were cited as the basis for her firing. The reprimands included taking Crime Lab evidence from the premises to copy and for failing to take a blood sample from a rape kit exam.

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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