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High-profile federal trials slated for early 2009

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The first half of the year is shaping up to be a time of high-profile trials for Indiana's federal courts.

The U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana's first-ever federal death-penalty trial is slated for March. In May, a major energy company is expected to go through its second liability trial on clean-air violations while a former mayor is set to be tried on civil racketeering charges.

A capital trial is set to begin March 30 before Judge Richard Young in Evansville in the case of U.S.A. v. Jarvis Brown, No. 3:06-cr-00014. Brown faces execution for being part of a drug-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in four murders and eight people being shot in Indianapolis and Evansville several years ago.

Late last week, U.S. District Judge Larry McKinney in Indianapolis set May 11 to begin the nine-day trial in U.S.A., et al. v. Cinergy Corp., et al., No. 1:99-cv-1693, which would be the second trial within a year. In December, Judge McKinney determined that the original two-week liability trial in May 2008 - the nation's first to go before a jury on the issue of whether slight modifications at coal-fired power plants triggered the need for new pollution control equipment - was tainted because of potential attorney and witness misconduct. The judge ultimately opted not to sanction the lawyers involved, but he upheld his decision to set aside the original jury verdict finding that Cinergy had violated the U.S. Clean Air Act at its Wabash plant in Terre Haute but not at four other plants.

A first remedy trial happened earlier this month, but the discovery and remaining remedy aspects are stayed until after the second trial is complete.

That comes just two weeks before State v. Pastrick, et al., No. 3:04-cv-00506, is set to begin in the Northern District of Indiana. Former East Chicago Mayor Robert Pastrick and top mayoral aides James Fife and Timothy Raykovich face federal racketeering charges in that case. They are the only remaining defendants from an original 26 named in the case accusing high-ranking city officials of illegally using public money to pave sidewalks and other work in order to influence votes during the 1999 Democratic primary election. Senior Judge James Moody in Hammond on Friday set May 26 to begin the trial, which was postponed from January.

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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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