Complaint reignites debate

December 19, 2008
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At the end of October, I wrote about Indianapolis defense attorney Bob Hammerle filing a complaint with the Disciplinary Commission regarding television ads run by Attorney General Republican candidate Greg Zoeller. Hammerle has since heard back and I thought you’d like to know what the outcome of his complaint was, seeing that Zoeller will be our new attorney general.

Hammerle recently sent us the response from the Disciplinary Commission, which did not find an appropriate basis for formal action. Donald Lundberg noted that it would be difficult to punish Zoeller’s campaign speech in the ads aimed at Democratic opponent Linda Pence because it deals with public affairs and political discourse, which is at the heart of the First Amendment.

Lundberg did say in the letter that Hammerle’s complaint about the ads touched on a debate that’s happened in the legal community for years – should attorneys be judged by the clients they keep?

In theory, the answer is no, but in practice, some people’s opinions of certain attorneys may be defined by the clients they represent. Lundberg sees this debate as more of a philosophical one than one as foundation for disciplinary actions. Because this has been such an ongoing topic in legal ethics, we think the idea deserves a closer look. Indiana Lawyer reporter Michael Hoskins is going to explore this issue in a future issue of the paper. I’ll let you know when it will be published.
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  • good article, issue of concern
    The state bars have gone way to far towards punishing lawyers for polically incorrect speech. In Re Campiti mocks the First Amendment. This rule needs to be shoved back hard. Luncbergs recent article in Res Gestae was instructive but this trend is BAAAD for lawyers and free speech.

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  1. 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.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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