ILNews

Federal judge lifts Marion County jail oversight

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indianapolis has ended a 35-year federal oversight period of the Marion County jail that resulted from a lawsuit by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1972.

Judge Barker's June 8 order released Monday noted that jail and lockup expansions, court-ordered inmate releases, and the creation of a night court late last year show that legal requirements have been met and judicial supervision of the litigation is no longer needed. Dissolving the consent decree is "fair, reasonable, and adequate," she wrote.

Stemming from overcrowding issues, the ICLU at the time sued over unacceptable conditions at the facilities. The civil liberties group's current legal director, Ken Falk, did not oppose lifting the order.

This has been the granddaddy of jail lawsuits filed in Indiana in past decades, with the suit being filed against the county jail in 1972 and current Sheriff Frank Anderson inheriting the suit in 2002. Following that, Judge Barker in April 2002 held the county in contempt for ignoring the jail overcrowding issue. She capped the jail population and threatened fines if that number was exceeded.
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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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