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IBA: Tips From the Bench

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By The Hon. Lisa Borges, Marion Superior Court Criminal Division

Each time you step into a courtroom, you have a goal to achieve. You may need to get in and out quickly because you need to be in nine separate courtrooms at the same time. It’s possible you want something outrageous (for a really, really good reason), thus you want to be heard after all the other folks leave. Judges appreciate your busy schedule and understand you may not always be able to put our courts first. And believe it or not, we really want you to be happy! In order to assist the court in getting you what you need, there are a few things you can do. Remember Eddie Haskell? No one would suggest going that far. But wouldn’t you like to have all your friends say “Mom (or that judge) always liked you best?” The following are some suggestions which may well catapult you to the top of the ‘faves’ list:
 

borges-mug Borges

INTRODUCE YOURSELF – We could be having an “elder moment” and have forgotten who you are what you are doing over there at the table. And don’t you want everyone else in the courtroom to know you, too?

BE ON TIME – AKA, LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE, WHY AND WHEN YOU WILL ARRIVE – We’ll accept almost any excuse. The donkey cart broke down, the kids play isn’t over yet…We just want to know when we will finish the calendar, because the motions your friends are filing right now are piling up in the office and the Bailiff is starving.

SUGGEST A DATE – If you’re ready, say so! If you aren’t, say when you WILL be ready. The Amazing Judge Carnack, can’t actually see into your calendar. Murphy’s Law says we’ll always pick a date you don’t want and we get embarrassed fumbling around suggesting date after date. Some of us are considering going to a lottery system.

KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR CASE – at the very least, be able to recognize your client. We have to figure out what to do with our other cases if yours is going to take a week to try. Remember to tip us off so we can prepare to concentrate on your case and only your case.

GIVE US A “HEADS UP” FOR EVIDENTIARY I.E.D’S IN YOUR TRIAL – We really will read the cases you give us before trial. In fact, we’re such big readers we go into transports over your Bench Briefs.

DRESS FOR COURT – Your client’s tee shirt that shows Tweety Bird with the saying “If you see a copy Warn-A-Brother” should be inside out during any court session. And you know your mother would want you to dress up to be a good example.

BRING YOUR OWN ART SUPPLIES AND TAKE THEM WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO – Unless you’d like to fund lockers for the court office.

BE NICE TO OUR STAFF – We don’t mean to give presents. All we ask is that you speak kindly and say please. They can help you in ways you can’t imagine. For example: working hard to convince us your excuse for being late is true or maybe even suggesting something that’s been working lately.

EX PARTE IS (ALMOST) ALWAYS A BAD THING – This will make us run for cover.

DON’T INTERRUPT – and please tell your client not to interrupt either. The court reporters are very valuable and we are trying to stay on their good side. They can become quite irritable if they can’t hear what’s being said, which is bad for everyone.

COME TO COURT WITH YOUR CLIENT – or at least have an idea where he or she might be.

REMEMBER, JUDGES ARE PEOPLE TOO – Smile. It will make us happy – and keep us wondering!•

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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