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IndyBar: Memories Of Joe Russell

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While still shocked from Joe’s death, having spent the day before and the morning of his death with him, I am trying to adjust my own perception of life based on Joe’s premature departure. 

Enjoy each day as it comes, take time to appreciate each day, and take the time with friends and family.  End each day with laughs to relieve ourselves of our stresses.  Joe and I had that in common and I appreciate it even more now that he is gone.

Joe loved the practice of law.  We spent a wonderful two weeks together, with Denny Zahn, trying a federal wildlife case in South Bend before Judge Sharpe.  The best thing that happened was after the case when our client provided us each a large container of deer sausage.  Joe declared it the best he had ever had even though I doubted he was a true connoisseur of deer meat.  Immediately preceding his death, we started work on a new matter together.  Just knowing we were back together as co-counsels brought a smile to my face.  It also gave me confidence that we would work well together all the while having a good time in what we both loved so much – the practice of law.

I will miss Joe and will be reminded of him as I proceed on this new matter without him.  I will constantly be thinking “what would Joe do” on the case.  I will definitely wonder “what would Joe say…” that would be consistent with his cynical sense of humor that always made me laugh.•

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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