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. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  2. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  3. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  4. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  5. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

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