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Thank You, Mediation Day Volunteers!

Through the Alternative Dispute Resolution section’s fourth-annual Mediation Day on Friday, September 6, six of nine mediations held for cases pending in Marion County Paternity Court were successfully settled by volunteer mediators from the section. Commissioner Sheryl Lynch estimated that this pro bono service freed up two days on the court’s busy docket.


The following mediators graciously volunteered their time: Marc Matheny, Attorney at Law; Jana Strain, Jana K. Strain, Attorney/Mediator; Dallin Lykins, Lewis & Kappes PC; Elodie Meuser, The Mediation Option; Emily Bubb, The Mediation Option; Erin Durnell, Broyles Kight & Ricafort PC; Jennifer Bays Beinart, Bays Family Law; Amanda Blystone, Broyles Kight & Ricafort PC; Ann Knotek, Ann Z. Knotek LLC; and Robin Kelly, Mitchell Law Group.

In addition, the day provided a valuable opportunity for 10 law students to shadow the mediators. The section also thanks Faegre Baker Daniels LLP for providing office space and assistance for the mediators throughout the day.

Free CLE Offered to Guardian Ad Litem Volunteers

The IndyBar Pro Bono Standing Committee, the Indiana Supreme Court and the Youth Law Team are teaming up to offer “Training to be a Guardian Ad Litem in a Juvenile Delinquent Case” on Friday, November 1. This training, which includes 6.0 CLE credits with 1.0 Ethics, can be taken for no charge by attorneys who volunteer to take two juvenile delinquent cases as a Guardian Ad Litem.

The program is designed to train lawyers who are interested in serving as a Guardian Ad Litem in Juvenile Delinquent cases, but may be unfamiliar with the procedures and expectations. Training includes role description and responsibilities, delinquency law and procedure as well as recognition of child abuse and child development as required by the 2012 statute. A question and answer session with the Juvenile Court Judges will be held over lunch. Make a positive impact on a minor and you could prevent them from entering the criminal justice system as an adult! Register online at www.indybar.org.

Volunteers Needed for Refugee Adjustment Intake Day

Attorney volunteers are needed to assist refugees in Indianapolis at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s Refugee Adjustment Intake Day on October 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a great opportunity for volunteer attorneys who don’t have time to take case referrals throughout the year to help out for one day with no commitment following them home. Attorneys, experienced or not, will join the NCLC staff in assisting up to 50 refugees in the Indianapolis area with adjusting their current status to obtain their “greencard.” Training for volunteers will take place the morning of the event.

The Intake Day will be held at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (3333 N. Meridian St.). Attorneys will meet with up to five clinic clients during the course of the day. Interpreters will be available for non-English speaking clients. Contact Erin Hougland at ehougland@nclegalclinic.org to volunteer or to get more information.

Welcome New Citizens at Naturalization Ceremonies

Courtroom connotations: stress, contention and opposition. Let the IndyBar change that for you—participate in a warm, wonderful Naturalization Ceremony. Twice a month, the IndyBar sends representatives to the Naturalization Ceremonies to give welcoming words to the new citizens. Ceremonies are held in the Federal Courthouse, last about an hour and are held on Thursday mornings. For more information and to volunteer, contact Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org.

Nominations Open for Recognition Awards

Do you know of a deserving IndyBar member who has worked hard for the community? Nominate him or her for an IndyBar award! Nominations are being accepted for the following IndyBar awards: the Dr. John Morton Finney Jr. Award for Excellence in Legal Education and the IndyBar Pro Bono Awards. For more information and to access the nomination form, go to www.indybar.org. Nominations are due September 30.

Deadline Extended for Green Legal Certification

To encourage Indy legal professionals to go green, the Green Legal Initiative has been developed by the IndyBar’s Go Green Committee. Now in its second year, this initiative encourages legal businesses, including law practices, legal departments, courts, agencies, legal support services and other members of the community to commit and engage in environmentally responsible business operations. Applications are now being accepted and are due on October 1.

Green Legal Initiative Members will be recognized by the IndyBar at the annual Recognition Luncheon and on the IndyBar website, and will also be provided with the Green Legal logo for print and electronic use when promoting their commitment to green business practices. Becoming a Green Legal Initiative member is easy! Simply access the application form at http://www.indybar.org/resources/go-green and return it to mprice@indybar.org by October 1.•
 

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  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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