MarilynOdendahl

Marilyn Odendahl covers the Indiana General Assembly as well as law schools and bar associations across the state for the Indiana Lawyer. Prior to joining the Indiana Lawyer, she was a reporter for nearly eight years at The Elkhart Truth, in Elkhart, Ind., where she primarily covered business. She holds degrees from Ball State University and the University of Louisville.

Recent Articles

Legal community rolls up its sleeves for ‘Day of Service’

September 22, 2014
Once again, members of the Indiana State Bar Association gave up part of their Saturday to help their local communities as part of the association’s Annual Day of Service.
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Issues of material fact allow Environmental Legal Actions claim to proceed

September 19, 2014
The Indiana Court of Appeals is allowing a claim under Indiana’s Environmental Legal Actions statute to move forward, ruling there are many questions for the lower court to examine about the former landlord’s role in the contamination of the soil.
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County sheriffs tell dire stories of mentally ill held in local jails

September 16, 2014
From different communities in different parts of Indiana, two county sheriffs told lawmakers very similar stories about the mentally ill individuals who end up in their jails.
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Part of payday loan settlement funding new legal aid consumer project

September 10, 2014
Indiana Legal Services and Heartland Pro Bono Council will be using a portion of a class-action settlement to help Indianapolis residents who have battled payday loan companies or suffered other consumer rights abuses.
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7th Circuit: Marriage law is unconstitutional

September 10, 2014
Indiana’s assertion that preventing same-sex marriage encourages responsible procreation among heterosexuals was unequivocally rejected Sept. 4 in a blistering opinion from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said the state’s argument could not be taken seriously.
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Economic harm is key part of gay marriage argument

September 10, 2014
When the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 4 affirmed Indiana’s marriage law was unconstitutional, Judge Richard Posner’s opinion gave special nod to the economic harm married same-sex couples suffer by not receiving the tangible state and federal benefits that are extended to married opposite-sex couples.
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Legal aid benefits from settlement

September 10, 2014
A financial boost for legal aid is expected to come from one of the banks that contributed to the 2008 economic collapse. The money will bring much-needed funding to the state’s pro bono districts which have been crippled by dwindling revenues and growing client lists. While the money will help, some say it should have come sooner.
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New program gives attorneys an 'Intro to Indy'

September 10, 2014
The Indianapolis Bar Association's "Intro to Indy" program will introduce attorneys to nonprofit agencies and give them leads on becoming more engaged in the community.
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Indiana files same-sex marriage petition with SCOTUS

September 9, 2014
In the race to get a same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Court of the United States this term, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office is arguing the state’s three lawsuits provide the best vehicle for resolving the same-sex marriage issue.
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Late Fort Wayne program director to be honored with pro bono award

September 9, 2014
The Indiana Bar Foundation and the Indiana Pro Bono Commission will recognize the dedication and tireless efforts of the late Terrance P. “Terry” McCaffrey at its 2014 annual pro bono awards ceremony.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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