More frequent fitness exams?

December 10, 2009
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When you decided to become an attorney, one of the last steps you took was standing before the Board of Law Examiners Committee on Character and Fitness, which determined whether you should be admitted to the bar.

Attorneys deemed to have “good” moral character and fitness, as defined by Rule 12 for admission to the bar, go on to practice law in Indiana as long as they meet all the other requirements.

Chances are that’s the last time you had anyone evaluate your physical and mental suitability. But what if you had to have your character and fitness evaluated periodically throughout your legal career in order to maintain your license?

Attorneys, like a lot of professions, must take classes to continue to be in good standing. Why shouldn’t lawyers undergo evaluations by mental-health professionals and doctors to make sure you are still up to task for the job? After all, a lot can change after you first were admitted. It’s no secret attorneys are under a lot of stress, and stress can take its toll on people’s bodies and minds in various ways.

If attorneys were periodically evaluated, some of the issues that we read about in attorney disciplinary cases could possibly be prevented. Attorneys could seek help before a serious problem developed.

What about a requirement that if you want to be a judge, you have to have your character and fitness examined before running or applying for that post? Even though judges going through the appointment process sort of do this already, surely there is information that isn’t divulged to the judicial nominating commission. A confidential interview with a health professional could provide the nominating commission with a simple yes or no as to whether this person should be a judge. No other specifics would need to be divulged.

Just like the character and fitness test you took as a student, the ones you would take as an adult would be confidential. If it turns out you need further tests or meetings with health professionals, then so be it. You’d be able to treat the problem before it interferes with your work, and as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work, no one else would have to know. Because once you do something to violate the rules of professional conduct, it’s out in the open for anyone to find with a few simple clicks on the court’s Web site.
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  • Yes, more exams!!!
  • Anyone conservative who thinks this a good idea better think again.
    Here is why: http://news.ibj.com/ilemg/ILEmails/2009_12_10_ILDaily_Standard/Articles/5068.htm?1=1&EGEmailID=754&PublicationID=1&PublicationDesc=Indiana%20Lawyer%20Daily&EmailType=Standard

    See the pleadings against JLAP posted here: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2009/12/federal-lawsuit-charges-indiana-lawyer.html
  • A really bad idea
    Now that we see political correctness and government control and the Left's misuse of power just about everywhere around us, does anyone with a modicum of reason think the above is a good idea?
  • no way !!
    I am on meds for anxiety. It is really not a problem for me at this point but I have no desire to talk it over with some stranger. Likewise as other people have noted these "exams" can be abused to screen out people for arbitrary capricious reasons including "political correctness." Alexander Solzehnitsyn talked about the abuse of mental health services for political purposes and I do not think we are above it here in the USA.

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

  2. Do I have to hire an attorney to get co-guardianship of my brother? My father has guardianship and my older sister was his co-guardian until this Dec 2014 when she passed and my father was me to go on as the co-guardian, but funds are limit and we need to get this process taken care of quickly as our fathers health isn't the greatest. So please advise me if there is anyway to do this our self or if it requires a lawyer? Thank you

  3. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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