JamesJ.Bell

Recent Articles

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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Bell/Gaerte: 3 things to know about ethical responsibility for others’ conduct

June 4, 2014
The recent disciplinary case, Matter of Anonymous, is not the only time someone in Indiana has been disciplined for the conduct of another.
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