Attorney trashed, literally

June 19, 2009
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One attorney took the term “getting trashed” literally this week and ended up in a trash can near his home after having one too many drinks.

It almost sounds like the punch line to a new lawyer joke: “An attorney wakes up one morning in a trash can and says…” For Larry Wilder, city council attorney in Jeffersonville, it’s reality as he woke up Wednesday morning in a neighbor’s trash can after a night of drinking and celebrating a friend passing the real-estate licensing exam. According to news reports, Wilder said he was driven home in a private limo and doesn’t really remember what happened after leaving Louisville.

Unfortunately for Wilder, there are pictures to prove what happened.

But is this really worth the amount of news coverage it’s generated? Yes, it’s funny. A guy ended up in a trash can and there is an embarrassing picture to prove it. I guess on a slow news day, it would make the paper or the nightly news. Is it deemed newsworthy because he’s an attorney, a profession the general public views with less tolerance for breaking the law, or the fact he’s a public figure since he’s the city council attorney?

Yes, Wilder is a public figure, but he didn’t engage in any illegal behavior (that we’re aware of). He went out drinking with friends, had a designated driver, and doesn’t remember much of what happened that night. Don’t tell me that hasn’t happened to you at least once in your life, perhaps in college or at a bachelor/bachelorette party, where you don’t remember all the details of the night before.

It would have been news had he been arrested for public intoxication, drunk driving, or any other illegal activity. It’s news when attorneys and judges are arrested, but is it news when they only end up in an embarrassing situation?

I’m convinced if Wilder wasn’t an attorney for the city, this wouldn’t have made the news. He wasn’t arrested and police who were called to the neighborhood just escorted him to his home nearby.

Why do you think the state’s news outlets picked up on this story? A great picture with a funny story, or is it because Wilder is a city attorney?
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  • Just because one is not arrested, does not mean one did not break the law. The attorney is an easy target as are members of the clergy, politicians, police officers, and celebrities.
    If he had a limo drive him home, how is it that he was in a neighbor\'s trash can and not his own? Could it be he lied? He stated he doesn\'t remember anything, but he remembered calling a limo, being dropped off and then he caught a case of amnesia? Also, as the city council attorney, yes, you are held to a higher standard. How can you defend the law and then, in a celebration, break it? Public intoxication is against the law, right?
    Did anyone check to see if there really was a private limo ordered, or did the attorney put it on the taxpayers\' tab? Perhaps his friend drove him home after a few too many, and the attorney is hiding him from the harsh sentence he would deem appropriate for the lay person.
    If you do not want to look like a fool in the newspapers, don\'t behave as a fool does. Whether any of us has done it, as you stated, is irrelevant. We took our chances with ending up behind bars, losing our jobs, embarassing ourselves and so did he.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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