ILNews

Council confirms new chief defender

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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It's official: Marion County has a new chief public defender.

The City-County Council voted Monday to approve Robert Hill Jr. as the county's top public defender, succeeding David E. Cook who left the office after 13 years to return to private practice.

Hill, who has long ties to the agency and extensive experience in public defense, won the council's support by a 27-1 vote. Councilman Monroe Gray was the sole dissenter, and Jose Evans did not attend the meeting. The public defender's office expected the council to vote at a meeting later this month, but learned last week that the vote would happen April 14.

Cook's last day was supposed to be today, but his final day ended up being April 11; he was on vacation this week. Hill took over Tuesday.

The Marion County Public Defender Agency's board of directors selected Hill March 12, voting for him over Indianapolis attorney Eric K. Koselke, who was the other finalist chosen from 10 original applicants. Hill now oversees a $20-million-budget office, handles a burgeoning caseload currently at about 37,000 a year, and has 160 full-time employees and about 100 contract lawyers.

In an interview in March, Hill told Indiana Lawyer he plans to continue his predecessor's work of fighting for adequate funding of indigent defense and public defenders, as well as promoting more mentorship opportunities and disallowing outside private practice.
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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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