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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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