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Indy attorney Joe Hogsett tapped for U.S. Attorney post

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When Indianapolis attorney Joe Hogsett received the news Wednesday that he’d been chosen by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, he wasn’t in court or handling a client’s legal matters.

The senior partner at Bingham McHale was walking out of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, where he’s on vacation for his 12-year-old son’s weeklong baseball tournament.

“Walking out of the home of baseball when you get a call about the president giving you such an honor… You can’t get any more American and patriotic than that,” the 53-year-old lawyer told Indiana Lawyer within an hour of the White House announcement about 7:15 p.m. “What a uniquely American experience, and I’m so extremely honored to be thought of for this.”

Limited in what he says publicly about the job prior to getting Senate approval, Hogsett said he’s looking forward to the confirmation process and will leave comments about why he applied for the post until that’s complete. He’s honored the president would tap him for such a critically important post, which hasn’t had a presidentially appointed leader in nearly three years.

The most recent confirmed leader was Susan Brooks, who left in October 2007 to take a general counsel spot at Ivy Tech Community College. Longtime second-in-command and previous interim leader Tim Morrison took over that role temporarily until a new nominee could be found.

For the Southern District, the U.S. Attorney manages a staff of about 80 people that includes roughly 30 lawyers. Morrison said the office in recent years typically handles an average 1,300 new civil cases and 1,300 pending ones, 350 new criminal cases and about the same number of pending ones, as well as about 2,000 active financial litigation cases that have collected about $20.1 million in the past three years.

Indiana’s Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh had recommended Hogsett, who’s been practicing since 1981 and had previously served as chief of staff and senior advisor to Bayh during his governorship. Hogsett has long been expected to be the choice for the post, given his experience in working with Bayh in the past, his time as the state Democratic Party chairman several years ago and his service as Secretary of State during Bayh’s time as governor.

Bayh praised the nominee’s experience, intellect, and temperament and highlighted Hogsett’s supervision of numerous fraud prosecutions during his time as Sectary of State.

Hogsett now handles individual employment contracts, non-compete agreements, sexual harassment and retaliation claims, and immigration compliance, and he defends businesses in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation at the state and federal levels. He also assists the firm’s government department in advising Hoosier cities, towns, and counties on various issues. Hogsett graduated from what is now the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington.

Now, Hogsett faces a confirmation process that requires U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approval and confirmation by the full Senate. Spokesman Brian Weiss in Bayh’s office in Washington, D.C., said there isn’t a set timetable for when the Senate might take action on the nomination, but it could take longer with the pending confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court. Some have generally speculated that the process might wrap up by year’s end, when Bayh leaves office after his decision to not return to the Senate.

If confirmed this year, Hogsett would be the state’s second new U.S. Attorney following the Senate’s approval in May for interim leader David Capp to take that position for the Northern District of Indiana, following the elevation of Joseph Van Bokkelen to the federal bench in mid-2007.
 

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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