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Fund will build on Shepard's legacy of promoting diversity

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Former Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard’s commitment to diversity will continue thanks to a permanent fund that aims to expand on his pioneering efforts to make the legal profession more reflective of society at large.

Several hundred friends, colleagues and dignitaries gathered May 10 for a gala in Shepard’s honor that had the dual purpose of establishing a namesake fund through the Indiana Bar Foundation.

Randall ShepardShepard

Organizers of the Randall T. Shepard Fund for Diversity in the Legal Profession hope to raise $150,000 in a drive that kicked off with the celebration of the former chief justice’s tenure on the Indiana Supreme Court.

“The fund came about after a lot of thinking about what would be a fitting tribute to Chief Justice Shepard’s body of work on one hand, and also something that would be aligned with one or more of his many interests and spheres of influence over his career,” said Myra Selby, the first African-American and first female justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.

Selby, now a partner with Ice Miller, and Indiana State Bar Association past-president Rod Morgan were instrumental in creating the fund and are co-chairs of the fundraising effort. Morgan, a partner with Bingham Greenebaum Doll, said Shepard’s commitment to diversity was unusual for a chief justice.

Morgan pointed out Shepard’s involvement in urging the creation and oversight of the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity program, which each year supports a class of about 30 incoming law students who demonstrate need. Out of about 400 ICLEO fellows since the program’s inception, about 75 percent have completed law school.

“He didn’t have to do that, but I think that shows his commitment to making our legal system better in the state of Indiana,” Morgan said.

Shepard said he was humbled by the honors, but wished not to look at the event as a retirement dinner.

“To gather with a purpose beyond tribute – that of building our profession’s long-term commitment to equal opportunity – likewise states a powerful message about Indiana lawyers,” he said.

“Indiana’s legal profession needn’t stare down at its shoes and shuffle when people talk about lawyers. Indiana lawyers have earned the right to look our fellow citizens straight on and say, ‘We have done what it lies within us to do,’” Shepard said at the gala.

trimble_joh-mug.jpgTrimble

John Trimble, partner with Lewis Wagner, said those who turned out to honor Shepard represented “a who’s who audience” of the legal community.

“It underscored what he had done for the reputation of the state of Indiana and the judiciary of the state of Indiana,” Trimble said. “When you talk about diversity and the chief justice, it’s also about advancement of women in our profession.”

Different times

It was 1997 when the ICLEO program, long recommended by Shepard, was signed into law by then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon.

“The legal profession, like many other walks of life, was a place where, maybe perhaps two generations ago, it was very difficult for African-Americans and Latinos to gain access,” Shepard said. “A long objective has been to create a profession that is open to people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to effect the sort of transformation that has likewise occurred with men and women.”

Morgan remembers those different times not so long ago, too.

“I grew up here in Indianapolis, and I left after high school to go to college in 1966,” Morgan said. “And the town I left in 1966 was not the town I returned to in 1991. We weren’t diverse ... especially in our profession.”

Selby, who served with Shepard on the Supreme Court from 1995 to 1999 agreed that his efforts to improve diversity in the legal system merit recognition.

“Chief Justice Shepard was a great and wonderful colleague in every way. He was an ideal chief in that he valued the role of chief as well as the importance of how the chief interacts with the other justices to make the court work well,” Selby said. “He just made going to work each day and doing the important work we did so much more pleasurable.”

selbySelby

Selby serves as chair of the Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Race and Gender Fairness. As well as supporting ICLEO, the fund in Shepard’s name will promote the goals of the commission and diversity efforts of local and state bar associations.

“There has been a great deal of improvement across the board, from who we see standing up to say ‘I want to go to law school,’ to who is entering the profession, all the way to the leadership within the profession,” Selby said. “However, I would say we really still have a long way to go and much work before us.”

The fund in Shepard’s name will enhance those continuing efforts to improve diversity in the legal profession, said Chuck Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation.

Making a difference

Rudolph “Rudy” Pyle III is among the hundreds of aspiring attorneys who have been assisted by the ICLEO program.

“We really owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Justice Shepard,” said Pyle, who shared his perspective as a former ICLEO Fellow.

“The most meaningful thing the program did for me was just to put me in touch with a number of people who mentored me,” Pyle said.

ICLEO fellows attend a summer institute that Shepard calls a “boot camp” for incoming law students at one of the state’s four law schools. Fellows are provided mentoring and networking opportunities and residency programs.

For Pyle, that included an internship at the Indiana Court of Appeals that led to a full-time job there. It also helped him in his hometown of Anderson, where he became a deputy prosecutor and in October 2009 was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels as the first African-American judge in Madison County.

“It started out with the Indiana CLEO program,” Pyle said.

Shepard said the results of ICLEO speak for themselves.

“There are a number of things that CLEO tries to do to help students succeed, and they do,” he said. “Over the period since CLEO started (in 1997), we have been able to double the number of minority lawyers in Indiana.”

Trimble said his firm has provided clerk opportunities for ICLEO fellows since the program began.

“The lawyers who have gone through that are the rising stars of the legal profession and they are spread out throughout the state of Indiana,” he said.

Trimble said Shepard deserves credit for his vision. “What he hoped would happen was to educate diverse lawyers and persuade then to stay in Indiana, and that has happened.”•

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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