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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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