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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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