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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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