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AG holds second civil, criminal justice summits

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller held his second annual Civil and Criminal Justice summits this week at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, focusing on financial protections for military service members and crime lab evidence in trials.

The focus of the civil summit Oct. 19 was protecting service members from financial scams. Speakers included Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden; Holly Petraeus, the federal director of consumer financial protection efforts for military service members; and Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, who is Adjutant General of the Indiana National Guard.

Summit participants received an overview of the consumer protections that protect military personnel from scams and addressed how to strengthen the legal assistance programs available to them. A number of consumer protections are provided under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and state law. The AG’s office recently launched www.indianaconsumer.com/military to give military families easy access to resources.

On Oct. 20, Zoeller focused on criminal law, taking a look at a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States on the use of witness testimony when introducing crime lab evidence in criminal trials. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King joined Zoeller to discuss the case — Donald Bullcoming v. New Mexico — which originated in his state.

The 5-4 decision this summer found that the laboratory analyst who performed the analysis of evidence in the crime lab — such as tests for drug and alcohol in blood — must testify at a defendant’s trial for the results to be admissible. Zoeller said he had concerns that the ruling will create significant backlogs and burdens on the testing system and if the lab technician who performed the test is unavailable to testify, it could allow a defendant to go unpunished.

Speakers at the criminal justice summit also included Johnson Superior Judge Lance Hamner, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak and Forensic Services Agency director Michael Medler.

Zoeller’s inaugural justice summits at the University of Notre Dame last year focused on mortgage foreclosure and death penalty costs.

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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