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


  • 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. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well