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IndyBar: Indiana Appellate Institute Moots Eight Cases, Raises Thousands for Scholarships

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The Indiana Appellate Institute was created by the IndyBar Appellate Practice Section in 2010 as a resource for lawyers throughout the state who have oral arguments scheduled before the Indiana Supreme Court or Indiana Court of Appeals. Modeled after the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law School, the Indiana Appellate Institute offers “moot” or practice argument sessions before panels of former appellate clerks, seasoned appellate advocates, and subject matter experts who have reviewed the briefs and will ask the sorts of questions an advocate can expect at the actual argument.

In the first six months of 2014, the Institute mooted three Indiana Court of Appeals arguments and five Indiana Supreme Court arguments. Whether preparing for their first argument or their 20th argument, advocates have found the experience enormously helpful and often remarked that several of the questions posed by the judges or justices were ones they encountered in the moot.

The Institute generally schedules a moot argument approximately one week before the actual argument. Panels of either three (Court of Appeals) or four (Supreme Court) lawyers acting as judges pose questions for well over the allotted 20 minutes and then offer constructive feedback to the advocate. The entire experience usually takes about 90 minutes. All moots are confidential, and panelists run conflict checks.

Although the moot arguments were originally offered at no cost, the Institute began charging a $500 fee for some arguments last year. The Institute recently revisited its policy on fees. Advocates representing an indigent or pro bono client are never charged a fee nor are advocates preparing for their first oral argument in any court. Others may apply for a fee waiver or reduced fee by explaining their circumstances. The advocate form and further information is available at indybar.org/appellateinstitute.

Advocates in four of the 2014 cases paid a fee, which is being used by the Appellate Practice Section to fund scholarships for Indiana lawyers to attend the Appellate Judges Education Institute (AJEI) conference in Dallas in November.

The Institute is only possible because of the service of many lawyers as volunteer judges. Most spend at least one to as many as several hours preparing for each moot argument in addition to the 90-minute moot. The Institute thanks the following lawyers who served on panels in 2014: Arend Abel, Bryan Babb, Victoria Bailey, Lucy Dollens, Yvonne Dutton, Tyler Helmond, Amy Karozos, Michael Limrick, Patricia McMath, Stephen Peters, Dino Pollock, Joel Schumm, Geoff Slaughter and Suzy St. John.

Lawyers who would like to volunteer to serve on a panel in the future should complete the judge form available at indybar.org/appellateinstitute.•

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  1. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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