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AG holds first criminal justice summit on death penalty costs

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In what was the first of its kind in Indiana, the state Attorney General’s Office held a criminal justice summit at the University of Notre Dame this month to examine the critical issues the legal system faces from capital cases where the death penalty is utilized.

The day-long session at the South Bend campus was held Nov. 15. The following day, part two of the AG’s program focused on mortgage foreclosures. The criminal justice summit theme brought law students, attorneys, judges, academics, and policymakers together to consider how Indiana is impacted by the costs of capital punishment cases.

With the trial stage often taking a couple years or more, the appellate process in state and federal courts can stretch 10 and beyond, Attorney General Greg Zoeller said. Though the Indiana Public Defender Commission reimburses counties half of the dollars spent adjudicating these cases, the high cost of death penalty cases has the potential to severely burden cash-strapped counties – especially those outside the larger urban areas of the state.

“So it is time that we in the criminal justice system have a candid conversation about the economic impact of capital punishment in Indiana,” Zoeller said. “I don’t claim to know the answers; but as state government’s lawyer sworn to uphold the laws of Indiana, I hope we can trigger a frank discussion of these questions. We serve the crime victims and our constituents – the taxpayers – best if we confront a problem directly and objectively.”

About 75 people attended the seminar that doubled as a free Continuing Legal Education session, and brought in prosecutors and defense attorneys as well as lawmakers and other states’ criminal justice officials to discuss the issues. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Frank Sullivan spoke about his experience handling death penalty cases since the early 1990s, while a Rutgers University economics professor discussed a grant-funded study on the fiscal consideration of the death penalty in Indiana.

You can read more in-depth coverage on this topic in future issues of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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