ILNews

Former lawmaker, public defender champion dies

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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A former state senator who'd served the legal community as a public defender and lobbyist for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association has died.

Robert Hellmann, D-Terre Haute, died late last week at his home after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 60.

Once minority leader in the Indiana Senate, Hellman had been a part of state government since the early 1980s. He was a member of the House of Representatives for four years before being elected to the Senate in 1986, where he served for 10 years. He left in 1996 to campaign for a congressional seat, but lost his bid.

Following his legislative career, Hellman worked as a lobbyist for ITLA. He was currently serving as a Vigo County Council president. During his time at the county level, Hellman also worked as a public defender - a role he'd maintained before being elected as a state representative.

But a love for the law shined through his legislative years.

Earning a law degree from St. Louis University in 1973, Hellmann began his legal career in Robinson, Ill., before moving his practice to Terre Haute. He served as an assistant city attorney and also as a public defender in Vigo County.

In honor of his work as a public defender and on legislation relating to that issue, Hellmann posthumously received a lifetime achievement award from the Indiana Public Defender Council, according to executive director Larry Landis.

Hellmann had sponsored legislation in 1989 that formed the Indiana Public Defender Commission, in which counties are reimbursed 40 percent for indigent defense expenses. In the early 90s, Hellmann was also a sponsor of legislation that authorized counties to create public defender boards.

He also taught business law at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, even into the fall semester of 2006.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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