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Woman sues Crown Point defense attorney over fees

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Court battles aren't yet over for a Schererville woman sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in May to facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

From a federal prison in Connecticut, Sun Cha Thompson is suing her Crown Point criminal defense attorney, Tony Zirkle, on claims that he overcharged her about $53,000. She is now representing herself and doesn't speak, read, or write English, according to her suit filed July 11.

In her handwritten filings, Thomas claims Zirkle overcharged her because she doesn't speak, read, or write English and didn't understand his billing structure. She also accuses him of refusing to provide a translator. Her filings note that she agreed to pay $16,875, but Zirkle charged $70,420 for the work he and a paralegal did in her defense.

Thompson was one of nine people charged last year with running four illegal spas in Highland and Dyer, the rest of whom have resolved their cases by pleading guilty or getting the charges dropped. She is disputing characterizations from prosecutors that she was a ringleader in the organization; she claims she was only an "investor" and did not participate in the activities. She's hoping to have her sentence reduced to 18 months and to get credit for 12 months already served, according to her handwritten complaint.

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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.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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