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Editorial: More of the same?

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Indiana Lawyer Editorial

They’re back, and like most citizens who watch with interest the goings on in the Indiana General Assembly, we’re not sure it’s altogether a good thing.

House Democrats ended their five-week walkout, and now we seem ready to get on with the business at hand: continuing the process by which Indiana can enshrine in its Constitution the discriminatory legislation some lawmakers are convinced without which heterosexual marriage will become endangered; and continuing the work toward passing an Arizona-style immigration law, without which some are certain our economy will collapse under the weight of all the welfare we apparently provide to people not in the country legally.

For a party that seems both at the state and national level to pride itself on a platform of small government and getting government out of everyone’s lives, Republicans certainly have a peculiar means of demonstrating these values.

Few things are more conservative than big business, and that some of Indiana’s largest employers have testified that our proposed same-sex marriage prohibition amendment and our determination to become the next Arizona regarding immigration will actually harm our business interests seems no deterrent to legislators who would advocate for such discriminatory practices.

Given that this is the kind of behavior we’ve become accustomed to expect from our legislators, no matter the political stripe, we must say that the bar is set remarkably low regarding what we expect from the last weeks of the legislative session.

We could be moving closer to completing the work of the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee with the case management system that has been implemented in 81 courts of 26 counties statewide. JTAC advocated for legislation that would have tacked on a modest fee increase to certain court filings to fund the project through its completion; the fee would have decreased upon the project’s completion. Instead, legislators delivered a funding cut.

We understand the argument that some have against our courts being in this business and that some would rather have seen private enterprise deliver this service. Restricting funding for a project that is about a third of the way completed seems like a tremendous waste of public funding.

Judicial raises are under threat again, after years of being non-existent. A law was passed in 2005 that tied judges’ pay raises to that of other state workers. But language is now on the table that would circumvent the change.

That such a move could undo all of the effort that went into finally securing a means for these judicial officers to be treated the same way all other public employees are treated is despicable and shows a contempt for our legal system. Either the state can afford to give all public employees a pay raise in the next budget or it cannot; all should be treated the same way.

Most bar association leaders who watch the Legislature say they expect no mischief in the waning days of the session.

We’d like to be able to express that sort of optimism.•

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  1. Future generations will be amazed that we prosecuted people for possessing a harmless plant. The New York Times came out in favor of legalization in Saturday's edition of the newspaper.

  2. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  3. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  4. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  5. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

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