ILNews

New state public defender, BLE director chosen

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Announcing two new appointments simultaneously, the Indiana Supreme Court has chosen the state public defender and director of the Board of Law Examiners.

The court announced its decisions Thursday, filling the two vacancies and completing search processes that have been under way for months.

Stephen T. Owens of Indianapolis is the new state public defender, one of 43 attorneys who applied to succeed Susan Carpenter after her retirement May 31. He has been a deputy and chief public defender in the statewide office for nearly 25 years after being admitted to practice in October 1985.

Owens immediately begins a four-year term as the administrative head of the 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing criminal appeals, including two death penalty cases.

“I’m extremely excited and honored, and all I can hope is to maintain what (Carpenter) has established,” Owens told Indiana Lawyer.

In addition to the public defender appointment, the court selected Bradley W. Skolnik as the next BLE leader. The Indianapolis partner at Stewart & Irwin succeeds Linda Loepker, who resigned in early December. More than 91 individuals applied for the post. While the search and review was pending, David Remondini from the Division of State Court Administration temporarily fulfilled the duties of the director.

At Stewart & Irwin, Skolnik practices in the areas of securities regulation, financial services, and general corporate litigation. Prior to his private practice, he worked as the Indiana securities commissioner in the Secretary of State’s office. He served as president of the North American Securities Administration Association, and in that role he has testified before the U.S. Congress.

“Serving as the executive director will afford me a unique opportunity to use the skills I developed as a regulator and private practitioner in an area that deeply interests me,” Skolnik said in a news release. “I passionately support the Board’s role in maintaining the integrity and high standards of the legal profession.”

The state BLE plays a pivotal role in the legal community, overseeing not only the admission of attorneys in Indiana through the bar exam but also administering legal intern certification and the formation and renewal of professional corporations, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships within the legal profession.

 “It is a coup for us to bring Brad Skolnik back to state government,” Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said in a prepared statement. “Having his management and investigatory skills at work in the judicial branch will allow us to continue ensuring the legal profession embraces the highest standards.”

 

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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