Law & Politics

Magistrate, attorney general bills become law

March 19, 2010
Jennifer NelsonMore

Senate Judiciary Committee approves JohnsenRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
More than a year since she was first nominated to head the Office of Legal Counsel, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee March 4 approved Indiana law professor Dawn Johnsen along party lines for the second time.
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Legislature's final days bring up merit selection, out-of-state placement issuesRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Hoosier lawyers and judges were kept on the edge of their seats as the Indiana General Assembly navigated its final days of the session, reviving talk on two issues that have significant impact on the state's judiciary and legal system.
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Agencies examine UPLRestricted Content

March 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Long before he became Greenwood's police chief, attorney Joe Pitcher recalls sitting as a special judge in town court and facing an Unauthorized Practice of Law case that may be one of few like it in Indiana.
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Legislature's end suspenseful for legal community

March 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana General Assembly got down to its final hours in a short-session, significant changes for the Hoosier legal community were on the table to possibly increase the number of appellate judges, change how one county chooses its trial judges, and impact how juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Legislators revisit vetoed merit-selection measure

March 12, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In the final days of the Indiana General Assembly session, as lawmakers pushed to finish and put final touches on the end-of-term business, a 2009 measure that divided the Hoosier legal community came back into play.
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Lawmakers miss self-imposed deadline

March 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana General Assembly tried to end the session more than a week before the constitutional March 14 deadline, but impasses on school funding and unemployment insurance caused the legislators to miss their March 4 self-imposed deadline.
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Lawmakers mull veto override on merit selection

March 11, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Vetoed legislation that would scrap St. Joseph County's merit selection for judicial elections and also add a new three-judge panel to the Indiana Court of Appeals is back in play.
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Houses active as session nears end

March 5, 2010
IL Staff
As this year's legislative session winds down, several bills of interest to the legal community have made it through both houses, but many remained stuck in conference committee Thursday.
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House OKs child support-casino billRestricted Content

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers have passed a bill that allows the Indiana Department of Child Services to more efficiently collect delinquent child support, including a gaming intercept requiring casinos to check whether gamers are on a state delinquency list before releasing large jackpots to them.
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Lawmakers move court-funding billsRestricted Content

March 3, 2010
In the last days of the legislative session, lawmakers addressed funding proposals in HB 1154 on converting Marion County commissioners into magistrates and using a $35 fee on traffic infractions to pay for this; SB 307 that would allow a $50 fee on Bartholomew County traffic infractions to pay for a new Superior Court there; and SB 399 on capping traffic violation fines statewide.
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Committees wrapping up business

February 19, 2010
Michael Hoskins
With legislative deadlines fast approaching for the Indiana General Assembly, lawmakers have reached crunch time in moving legislation through for consideration before the short session comes to a close.
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Lawmakers criticize traffic court fines

February 19, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A legislative committee this week unanimously approved a bill that would cap the fines a court could assess for traffic violations.
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Police animal amendment moves to full House

February 19, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The proposed amendment making it a Class D felony for someone who kills a police animal while driving drunk has found a home in legislation.
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Judges see more cases that involve veteransRestricted Content

February 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
For a little more than a year, Grant Superior Judge Mark Spitzer has presided over his local drug court and has witnessed what he describes as remarkable results from the problem-solving court model.
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School-focused bill moves to SenateRestricted Content

February 17, 2010
An amended version of House Bill 1193, which came about as a result of a juvenile justice conference in August, passed out of the Senate's Judiciary Committee 6-1 Feb. 10. One major change in the bill approved by the committee was the deletion of the section about training for police officers who deal with juveniles on a regular basis.
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Lawyers balance public role as legislatorsRestricted Content

February 17, 2010
Michael Hoskins
In his 35 years as a lawyer-legislator, Sen. Richard Bray has thought about whether he should get involved in litigation because of his role as an elected state official. While he doesn't recall this ever affecting his involvement on a case or legislation before him, the veteran attorney from Martinsville, who practices with his son at The Bray Law Office, sees how it could present problems.
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Make net metering, renewable energy an issueRestricted Content

February 17, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Energy is one of the major issues environmentalists and lawyers who work with companies concerned about green technology are keeping an eye on during the 2010 Indiana legislative session.
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Police deaths, injury inspire late legislation

February 12, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
Although the deadline has passed to introduce new legislation, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak has called on legislators to find current bills that will allow amendments to statute in response to two separate car accidents involving police officers.
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Report: Laws alone won't stop cell phone use while driving

February 12, 2010
IL Staff
A House bill looking to ban texting while driving in Indiana on its own may not be very effective in preventing drivers from using their cell phones in the car, according to a policy brief from an Indiana University research center.
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General Assembly reaches midpoint

February 5, 2010
Michael Hoskins
At the midway point in this Indiana General Assembly session, dozens of bills died this week when one house didn't vote on them while others moved on for further consideration.
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Juvenile justice bill passes SenateRestricted Content

February 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A bill that incorporated suggestions from attendees and organizers of an Indiana State Bar Association-sponsored juvenile justice summit last summer passed the Indiana Senate 45-3 Feb. 18.
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Committees hit deadline for first half of session

January 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
During the final week of committee hearings before the Indiana General Assembly reaches its midpoint, the legal community watched as many bills died in their current form for lack of a hearing while others remained in play and moved to the full House or Senate for a potential vote.
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Out-of-state placement bill goes to House

January 29, 2010
Michael Hoskins
A legislative committee has given its OK to a bill that would repeal a last-minute 2009 special session provision, which gave the Indiana Department of Child Services key control in deciding whether juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Conservation Day highlights energy issues

January 29, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A renewable electricity standard and net metering expansion were among the legislative priorities addressed at Conservation Day at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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