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. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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