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Inbox: Balancing the scales of justice

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the EditorTo the Editor:

Recently, the Zoeller family and friends gathered to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of my cousin, Chris Zoeller, a New Albany native who was well known in the courts of Marion County as a criminal defense lawyer. He was a somewhat larger-than-life personality who created memories with everyone with whom he came in contact.

Speaking as a one-time law partner with Chris and now in my current role as Indiana’s attorney general, I find that his professional life represents an important element in our system of justice. Often overlooked and underappreciated, the right to counsel guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment to the United State Constitution is essential in balancing the scales of justice. We cannot have a fair system without those who represent criminal defendants.

The life of a criminal defense attorney is hard, and one that cost Chris dearly in terms of his health. As someone who was attracted to the practice of law by the character Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Chris never backed down from defending the accused. There were those who feared his zealous and often creative approach and some who thought he pressed down too hard on his side of the scales at times, but that is as it should be. 

The important lesson I learned from Chris Zoeller is one I reflect upon in my current role: While fighting on behalf of the state of Indiana to convict the accused and affirm the conviction, we must always strive to seek justice. And justice is best served with a strong advocate that challenges the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. And with his life’s work done to the best of his skill and ability, the defense can finally rest, and rest in peace.

Greg Zoeller
Indiana Attorney General

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  • Sixth Amendment
    Not, to take anything away from what Greg Zoeller did. I am sure, he did a wonderful job. He never once helped somebody with the Privilege of the Sixth Amendment. As, now all of our unalienable rights are now privileges. He Represented People; Never was he anybody's assistance of counsel.

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

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  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

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  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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