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Judge clears way for $4.5 million settlement

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A U.S. District magistrate judge granted a joint motion Sept. 2 to vacate a jury verdict in favor of a man wrongfully imprisoned for rape, allowing a settlement reached between the man and the city of Hammond to be approved.

The parties in Larry Mayes v. City of Hammond, Indiana, et al., No. 2:03-CV-379-PRC, reached a settlement of $4.5 million in March and asked that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals vacate summary judgment and a jury verdict awarding Larry Mayes $9 million after DNA evidence exonerated him from committing a 1980 rape.

The 7th Circuit denied the motion to vacate and remanded to the District Court to allow it to inform the appellate court if it would vacate the judgment and jury verdict. On Aug. 15, Magistrate Judge Paul R. Cherry of the Northern District of Indiana's Hammond Division issued an opinion advising the 7th Circuit that the court was inclined to grant the joint request of the parties to vacate the jury verdict and judgment to allow for the settlement. The 7th Circuit remanded the appeal of the case to the District Court to allow for the magistrate judge to vacate the judgment and jury verdict.

Mayes spent 21 years in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. With the help of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis' Criminal Defense Clinic, he was released in 2001 after the court granted a petition filed by students requesting DNA testing in his case.

For more about this story, check out the Sept. 17-30, 2008, edition of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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