7th Circuit panel visits Indy law school

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A 7th Circuit Court of Appeals panel converged on the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis campus Tuesday to hear three appellate arguments in its first visit in more than a decade.

Trading in the Chicago courthouse for the law school's Wynne Courtroom, the three-judge panel of Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook, Judge Michael Kanne from Lafayette, and Judge John D. Tinder from Indianapolis heard arguments in:

United States v. Ricky L. Fines and Leroy Miller, Nos. 08-1069, 08-1089, is a combined criminal sentencing case from the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana's South Bend Division. Both defendants are appealing their federal firearms convictions and sentences, arguing on evidentiary and procedural issues, including whether Miller can be defined as a gun collector.

Jonathan S. McGlothan, M.D. v. Tracey and Eric Wallace, No. 07-4059, is a case that delves into expert testimony issues involving a LASIK eye surgery medical malpractice case from the Southern District of Indiana's Terre Haute Division. McGlothan wants the 7th Circuit to reverse the $678,793 jury award against him and dismiss the case.

Sondra J. Hansen and William R. Hansen, individually and on behalf of C.H. v. Board of Trustees of Hamilton Southeastern School Corp. and Dimitri B. Alano, No. 08-1205, a case from the Southern District of Indiana's Indianapolis Division, stems from a former high school band teacher's arrest and admittance in 2004 that he had sexual contact with a teenage female student in exchange for good grades. This federal suit eventually filed by the girl's parents alleges the school district was liable for Alano's criminal acts as they happened during his employment. The District Court granted summary judgment for the school corporation, and the attorneys argued about whether that was properly done and whether the judge lost jurisdiction of all state and other federal claims relating to Title IX.

The judges lobbed questions at the various attorneys standing at the podium, and Chief Judge Easterbrook interjected humor that drew laughs among the law school crowd, such as his opening comment about the medical malpractice jury award.

"A $700,000 award for loss of night vision seems high ... for that, you could just hire a chauffer," he said.

The court periodically visits different law schools to hear arguments. Law school spokeswoman Elizabeth Allington said this is the first time the federal appellate court has come here since March 9, 1994.

More than 100 students and faculty attended; after 90 minutes of arguments about half of the observers remained for a question-and-answer session where the judges answered general questions about their court and positions. Questions ranged from the balance between briefs and in-person arguments, the most difficult part of the judges' jobs, how they work their law clerks, and how they've felt about being reversed by the nation's highest court.

The judges told the audience that 55 percent of its final work comes in the form of written opinions and 45 percent in unprecedential orders, and that the court strives to issue a decision within two or three months of an argument but that it can range anywhere from a week to more than a year.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise