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Bentley: Darden honored for impact, influence on legal community

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Indiana Lawyer Commentary

By Cassandra A. Bentley

On September 14, 2012, the Marion County Bar Association hosted a retirement dinner in honor of Judge Carr L. Darden, who retired as a full-time appellate judge from the Indiana Court of Appeals on his 75th birthday, July 21, 2012. The event was held at the downtown Indianapolis Marriott and included dinner, musical entertainment and remarks from several individuals to whom Judge Darden has served as a colleague, mentor, family member and friend.

The dinner was attended by more than 230 guests, including judges and attorneys from the Indiana legal community, as well as many of Judge Darden’s family and friends. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Judge Carr L. Darden and Mrs. Lundy Darden Public Sector Legal Education Scholarship Fund, a recently established scholarship at Judge Darden’s alma mater, the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
 

darden-mcba-15col.jpg Lundy Darden dances with her husband, Judge Carr Darden, at the retirement dinner held in his honor by the Marion County Bar Association Sept. 14, 2012. (Photo/James Carey)

Masters of ceremony for the celebration were the Hon. Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and her husband, attorney Marcel A. Pratt Jr. Several speakers gave remarks about the impact that Judge Darden has made in the Indianapolis legal community and beyond, including fellow Indiana Court of Appeals judge, the Hon. James Kirsch; past president of the Indiana State Bar Association, Roderick Morgan; president of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Scott Chinn; attorney Wandini Riggins, former law clerk for Judge Darden; daughter Bellary Darden-Davis; and past chair of the MCBA board of directors Nathaniel Lee. Following dinner and remarks, guests joined Judge Darden in one of his favorite activities, dancing, with music provided by disc jockey Norman Reed, attorney at law. Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to record video messages to Judge Darden to express their appreciation and well wishes.

Among the distinguished guests were current and former judges, including Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justice Steven David, Indiana Supreme Court; Chief Judge Margret Robb and Judges Mark Bailey, John Baker, Paul Mathias and Patricia Riley, Indiana Court of Appeals; Judge John Tinder, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; Magistrate Judges Denise K. LaRue and Tim Baker, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; Justice Myra Selby, Indiana Supreme Court (retired); Judge John Christ, Marion Superior Court (retired); Judge Annie Christ-Garcia, Marion Superior Court; Judge John M. Sedia, Lake Superior Court; Judge Roland Chamblee, St. Joseph Superior Court; Judge Stanley Levine, Allen County Superior Court; Administrative Law Judge Noell Allen; Judge Ricardo Rivera; and Judge Maxine King.

Judge Darden has been a valuable member of the Indianapolis legal community for over 40 years. He was named to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Evan Bayh in October 1994, and was only the second African-American to serve on that court. Judge Darden formerly served as a presiding judge in the Marion Superior Court and the Marion Municipal Court systems. He also served as the chief deputy state public defender of Indiana. Following his retirement, Judge Darden was appointed senior judge on the Court of Appeals by the Indiana Supreme Court on July 24, 2012.

Judge Darden is a lifetime member of the MCBA, the National Bar Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the ISBA, and the IBA, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Judge Darden has been honored twice as a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest distinguished citizen award. In July 2012, the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Opportunity Program announced that its summer institute would be renamed the “Carr L. Darden CLEO Summer Intern Program” in his honor.

To give back to the legal community, Judge Darden and his wife of 57 years, Lundy Darden, established the scholarship fund at I.U. McKinney School of Law in July 2012. The scholarship will be awarded to students at the law school who have demonstrated an interest in state and local government and pursuing careers in public service. Donations to the scholarship may be made through the Indiana University Foundation at the I.U. McKinney School of Law, and contributions should be designated to go to the Darden Public Sector Legal Education Scholarship Fund.

Judge Darden has been an invaluable member of the MCBA for several decades. He served as a longtime member of the board of directors and has provided guidance and mentoring to countless young lawyers in the Indianapolis community. He has always had an open door to the members of the bar association and continues to advise the board whenever he is called upon for additional guidance. The MCBA is eternally grateful to Judge Darden for his instrumental role in the growth and development of the organization and its members and wishes him well as he transitions into the next chapter of his legal career.

The MCBA was founded in 1925 as an association for African-American attorneys who, until 1952, were excluded from the ABA and other majority bars. Today, the MCBA continues to serve as an organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all minority attorneys through mentoring, education, community service and activism, and the furtherance of diversity in the Indianapolis legal community.•

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Cassandra A. Bentley is a law clerk for the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mark Dinsmore at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. She also serves on the board of directors of the MCBA and the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program committee.

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. 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.

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