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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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