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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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