ILNews

ILS marks 50 years, commits to another 50

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Saturday night’s gala marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana Legal Services had the feel of a family reunion.

Former and current ILS attorneys, paralegals and staff along with lawyers who volunteer their services and friends of legal aid hugged, laughed and traded stories throughout the dinner held at the Indiana State Museum. Employees were recognized and standing ovations were given to former executive director Norman Metzger and longtime administrative assistance Ida Hayes.

However, the evening included an uneasiness. Like any family, ILS was concerned about its financial future especially in light of the White House’s call to eliminate all federal funding for legal aid.

This is not the first time an administration has made such a call. President Ronald Reagan also cut out support for the Legal Services Corp., which provides the bulk of ILS’s budget, during the 1980s but Democrats held the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate so the funding was always retained. Now Republicans are in the leadership positions on Capitol Hill and they may be more receptive to reducing support.

Jon Laramore, executive director of Indiana Legal Services, said his agency is trying to lessen its dependence on the federal government. Currently about 65 percent of its budget comes from Washington, but ILS is working to find alternative funding through grants and private contributions.

“I dare say we will still be here in 50 years,” Laramore said. “Our clients’ needs may be different, the legal landscape may be quite different but whatever happens in Washington in the next couple of years, we are not going away.”  

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David also nodded to the uncertainty. As the keynote speaker at the celebration, he praised ILS employees and alumni for having a commitment and work ethic that benefits not only the individual clients but improves the legal health of the entire state.

“Everyone is better in Indiana because of Indiana Legal Services,” David said.

He credited ILS with providing justice and protecting property and people who otherwise could not afford legal counsel. The work ILS and its employees do, he said, should not be taken for granted and must be continued.

 “We have fears, we have trepidation about what tomorrow will bring,” David said. “I consider that an opportunity for ILS to do great things despite what might be on the horizon. We can choose to be afraid, we can choose to be fearful or we can step up and move forward united. I believe we will step up and move forward united.”
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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