JamesJ.Bell

Recent Articles

Bell/Whelan: 3 things to know about amended pro bono reporting rule

May 20, 2015
Rule 6.7, in effect for a mere four months, was recently amended by a Supreme Court order issued April 30, 2015, and effective immediately. The amendment provides additional clarity on what is expected of Indiana attorneys with respect to reporting pro bono service.
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Inside the Criminal Case: The admissibility of Robert Durst’s confession

March 25, 2015
If we had told you three weeks ago that a man walked into the bathroom with a live microphone and did some things he would live to regret, you would have probably thought we were referring to a scene from “The Naked Gun” movie. By now, however, you know that we are referring to the statements suspected murderer Robert Durst made while “mic’d up” for an HBO documentary.
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Bell: 3 things to know about the ethics of interviewing witnesses

January 14, 2015
January brings frigid temperatures, snow and icy roads. In other words, it is a perfect time for you to knock on doors and conduct a field investigation. But before you put your coat on and head out to find that needle-in-a-haystack witness who will save your case, remember that there are ethical rules regarding how you deal with witnesses.
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Inside the Criminal Case: Grand juries in Indiana shrouded by law

December 17, 2014
The effectiveness of grand juries has been in the news lately. In one case, a Missouri grand jury failed to indict a police officer in a case involving the death of an unarmed suspect. When inconsistent testimony was raised as a possible justification for this result, many opined that police needed to carry body cameras. However, approximately a week later, a New York grand jury failed to indict another police officer involved in the death of an unarmed suspect where the officer’s interactions with the suspect were caught on a cellphone video. This led lawyers and non-lawyers alike to wonder what happens behind the closed doors of grand juries. This article speaks to how grand juries are used in Indiana.
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Bell: 3 things to know when leaving a law firm

November 19, 2014
According to the all-reliable Internet, the economy is improving. That may mean lawyers will soon be moving from their secure jobs to (possibly perceived) greener pastures. The act of leaving a law firm implicates several Rules of Professional Conduct that both law firm management and departing attorneys should be aware of. Here are three things to know about leaving a law firm.
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Inside the Criminal Case: Contempt, punctuality and expressing yourself to a court

October 22, 2014
We advise our clients that unfortunately, delays can be part of the court experience. However, one thing we have never advised our clients to do is “tell the court how you really feel.” Or, as Dave Chappelle would say, we have never advised our clients to “keep it real” with the court.
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Bell: 3 things to know about reporting pro bono hours

September 24, 2014
Ready or not, Rule 6.7 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct will hit the books Jan. 1, 2015. This rule will require an attorney to report his or her pro bono hours at the time of annual registration.
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Inside the Criminal Case: Can your lyrics be used against you in court?

August 27, 2014
It is common knowledge that what you say can and will be used against you. But what about what you sing or intend to sing?
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Bell/Gaerte: 3 things to know about ethical advocacy in closing argument

July 30, 2014
Recently, several published decisions have found attorneys to have engaged in improper advocacy. Here are three things to know about ethical advocacy in closing argument.
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Inside the Criminal Case: Passive vs. forcible resistance

July 2, 2014
The Court of Appeals recently brought us the story of a woman, her dog and her not-so Gandhi-like attempt at passive resistance when her dogs were investigated for biting. The question before the Court of Appeals was whether this passive resistance was criminal.
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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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