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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  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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