ILNews

New Indy Law dean speaks at ACLU-IN event

Rebecca Berfanger
January 1, 2007
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A number of ACLU of Indiana attorneys and supporters attended a reception for Gary Roberts, the new dean of the Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis on Thursday afternoon at Baker & Daniels.

The dean, who was also the keynote speaker, mingled with the attorneys before and after discussing a few of his experiences as deputy dean for Tulane University Law School in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and subsequent flooding, pending sports law cases, and how he plans to encourage more diversity at the Indianapolis law school.

While the dean said he didn't know much about civil liberties law as a sports lawyer, other than a few civil liberties issues that may come up regarding athletes who are suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs in competitions, he did speak at length about the current judicial system, or virtual lack of one, in Louisiana.

He described the literal collapse of civilization in certain areas of New Orleans where martial law was more or less instated; areas that are uninhabited but serve as breeding grounds for crime in the forms of crack houses and chop shops; and how the judicial system including the structures that housed the courts, judges, prosecutors, and public defenders had also contributed to less than adequate handling of both criminal and civil cases.

Roberts added that Tulane's law school's criminal law clinic helped where they could, and some attorneys came in from other cities to volunteer their time, but help is still needed even two years later. Students from Indiana law schools and some Indiana attorneys have also given their time to both reconstruction and legal matters along the Gulf Coast since Katrina's devastation.

The reception also included a few words from ACLU of Indiana Lawyers Council members, especially Carol Seaman of Bloomington, who said they are currently seeking members and looking at other ways to make the organization reach the entire state and appeal to the specific interests of those involved instead of the very broad topic of civil liberties.

ACLU staff members, including Executive Director Claudia Porretti, Legal Director Ken Falk, and disability rights attorney Gavin Rose, also said a few words to those in attendance about the organization's goals and recent lawsuits.
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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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