The interviews continue

July 30, 2010
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From reporter Michael Hoskins

ELLEN BOSHKOFF

Boshkoff said a justice must be open-minded. Important that the person be collegial, that they be passionate about the law. Integrity is the most important quality, she said. “A justice must be absolutely faithful to the law, must be absolutely scrupulous and fair to the litigants.”

Commission members so far have asked her the most questions: her views on how she could compliment - not duplicate - the other justices’ experiences, her views on first impression issues, pro bono initiatives, and what the three most pressing issues the court may face. Boshkoff said that her review of court activity shows her that access to justice and civil-litigation costs are the two top areas that the judiciary must address.

She highlighted the court’s action on IOLTA accounts, court interpreters, low-cost ADR, civil legal aid, pro se litigants, and the mortgage foreclosure crisis. But there’s still a lot to be done, she noted, especially since there’s been a 35 percent increase in people needing services in the past decade and the ratio of lawyers to litigants is “fairly poor,” and most aren’t even aware of what resources are available to them.

The Supreme Court could do more to possibly motivate and incenticize lawyers to help on that front in improving access to justice. A second area of concern is civil litigation costs, which Boshkoff said is something that judges must be more focused on because it prevents access to justice. Specifically, she pointed to rocket dockets that are “incredibly painful for everyone involved, but it does accomplish something and those cases do get resolved quickly.” Boshkoff said ADR isn’t used the way it should be, and there should be a review on how it can be phased in earlier into the litigation process. She also said technology is an important focus, one that Justice Frank Sullivan is already highly involved in with the statewide case management

KARL MULVANEY

He told the commission that his experience in handling attorney ethics issues is his biggest accomplishment, and changes that could be made include how judicial mandates are handled and possibly a rule revision on how long juvenile cases can have to be briefed on appeal. One commission member praised Mulvaney’s appellate experience in that he’s handled multiple areas of law. It garnered a response from the attorney that he viewed his advocacy role as being like an umpire and calling balls and strikes, between the legislature and the Constitution. Mulvaney also highlighted his experience as a Supreme Court administrator in giving him insight on very many legal matters that come before the court, and he opined on the quality of law school graduates and how he’s personally responded to ethical issues he’s faced as an attorney.

In responding to the common question from member John Trimble about his views on first impression issues, Mulvaney cited an issue in recent years where the justices addressed the definition of a child in relation to the Adult Wrongful Death Statute. He noted the chief justice’s analysis of what other states have done and how those issues may mesh with the state constitution.

SEN. BRENT STEELE


Referring to the commission’s multi-part question given out, Steele said that question is one that keeps you up at night, about wanting to give the right answer.  His being a lawyer in the first place is his biggest accomplishment, and how he’s been able to use those skills in contributing back to his community and the overall society. Two areas that need the court’s attention are both technology and how attorneys are taught practical aspects of practicing law, he said.

“As a member of the court, with my experience in the legislature, I can keep the Odyssey program on track,” Steele said. He also suggested the Supreme Court setup a sort of “mini-law school,” or an indoctrination program for new lawyers to learn the basic tenets of the law and how to apply those to their practices.

Now, the commission members are on a break until 1:15 p.m., when the final three semi-finalists face interviews. The commission goes into executive session at 3 p.m.
 

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  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

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