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Attorney general’s office will now represent DCS on appeal

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday afternoon that the attorney general’s office will take over appellate representation of the Department of Child Services. DCS currently utilizes attorneys of its choice in appellate matters.

Taking over legal services for DCS on appeals has been under review in the AG’s office since March. The office sent a letter to DCS dated Thursday informing the agency of the change.

“When created by executive order as a separate state agency in 2005, DCS was best positioned to represent the interests of children in court cases, so the limited legal authorization allowed it to hire its own lawyers rather than using deputy attorneys general who normally serve as state government’s lawyers. But because appellate cases are highly complex and can result in new legal precedent, it now is necessary that the state government’s law firm – the Attorney General’s Office – harmonize the legal positions of DCS and other state agencies in appellate court, to ensure they are consistent with each other and with our state’s legal policy,” Zoeller said.

This change is triggered administratively through the revised consent letter, and it will become effective as soon as transitional details are finalized, but no later than Jan. 1, 2013, according to a release from the attorney general. DCS attorneys will continue to represent the agency in trial court.

The DCS appellate caseload volume is around 150 cases; the AG’s office currently has 144 deputy attorneys general. Zoeller said his office will work with DCS over the new few weeks on the logistics of staffing to ensure “that the change to AG management supervision of the cases is fiscally neutral and structured to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.”

 

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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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