Legal organizations/services

Young, Donnelly indicate support for legal-aid funding

July 18, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
With the budget looming on the agenda of the U.S. Senate, Indiana’s two senators are both supportive of federal funding for legal aid, but neither are putting any dollar amount to their support.
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Indiana Tech disperses books from law library

July 11, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A bulk of the books from the law library at the defunct Indiana Tech Law School are finding a new home at Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, while other volumes are going elsewhere.
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Report: Most civil legal needs for low-income residents go unmet

June 15, 2017
Olivia Covington
The vast majority of civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans in the last year received inadequate or no legal help, a recent survey conducted for the Legal Services Corp. shows.
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Indiana joins ABA’s portal offering free legal advice

June 14, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
In recent months, the Indiana resource transitioned from being a stand-alone website that the Indiana Bar Foundation operated to becoming a part of the American Bar Association’s online portal, ABAFreeLegalAnswers.org. Currently, the bar foundation is reintroducing the website — indiana.freelegalanswers.org — to attorneys around the state.
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Trump budget hits legal aid and public service sectors

May 24, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The American Bar Association is speaking out against key provisions in the Trump administration’s budget blueprint that would hit legal aid particularly hard.
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US sued for warning immigrant advocacy group to stop legal aid

May 10, 2017
 Bloomberg News
A nonprofit fighting the Trump administration’s travel ban in court sued the U.S. Justice Department after being warned to stop offering legal aid to undocumented immigrants.
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Pro bono reporting results draw mixed reaction

May 3, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The first round of data collected from Indiana’s new pro bono reporting rule invoked opposing reactions among the members of the Coalition for Court Access who recently reviewed the numbers. Some thought the amount of time and money lawyers donated to legal aid was shameful, while others were thrilled with the level of giving.
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ILS celebrates 50 years, looks to future of legal services

May 3, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The April 22 gala marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana Legal Services Inc. had the feel of a family reunion.
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ILS marks 50 years, commits to another 50

April 24, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Saturday night’s gala marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana Legal Services had the feel of a family reunion.
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As ILS celebrates 50 years, it prepares for a changing future

April 19, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Looking ahead to the next 50 years, Indiana Legal Services Inc. is certain one thing will remain constant — the need for legal assistance among low-income individuals. However, the manner in which clients come to the agency and the kind of representation offered will likely change.
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Indy-area attorneys hosting re-entry job fair

April 7, 2017
IL Staff
Members of Indianapolis’ legal community are offering assistance today to help recently incarcerated people find the jobs and resources they’ll need to build their future.
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Hard line on immigration has Indiana attorneys scrambling

March 22, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Since President Donald Trump took office, lawyers are seeing more fear and more work from clients worried about deportation.
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Legal aid funding cut from Trump budget

March 16, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The Trump Administration’s proposed budget would eliminate funding to the Legal Services Corp., which provides grants to 134 legal aid organizations around the country including Indiana Legal Services Inc.
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Nonprofit legal groups help East Chicago residents living in environmental nightmare

March 8, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The legal aid groups are working on finding new housing for people as well as securing assistance.
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ACLU, others speak out against Trump’s repeal of transgender bathroom directives

February 24, 2017
Olivia Covington
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and other civil rights advocacy groups are speaking out against the Trump administration’s decision to rescind federal guidelines protecting transgender students in school restrooms, calling the move dangerous and irresponsible.
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Legal aid agencies jointly seek $210,000 expungement grant

February 22, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
In what is believed to be a first, Indiana Legal Services Inc., Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic are hoping to collaborate on a single project that they say will help people overcome hurdles to employment and give communities an economic boost.
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ACLU is seeing a Trump-era surge in members and donations

February 13, 2017
 Associated Press
The nearly century-old American Civil Liberties Union says it is suddenly awash in donations and new members as it does battle with President Donald Trump over the extent of his constitutional authority, with nearly $80 million in online contributions alone pouring in since the election.
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State immigration lawyers say clients fearful amid Trump orders

February 8, 2017
IL Staff
Indiana immigration attorneys and their clients face uncertainty after President Donald Trump issued executive orders in his first week banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, suspending refugee resettlement programs and stepping up domestic enforcement.
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ILAS sees red ink flow into budget

January 27, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
Even coming off a holiday fundraiser that pulled in just over $150,000, the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society is expecting the 2016 expenditures will throw its budget in the red for the first time in decades.
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Simon grant allows ILS to continue helping the homeless

January 11, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
The clinic at Horizon House provides advice and counsel to people most in need of legal assistance.
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Wylie tapped to lead Evansville Volunteer Lawyer Program

January 3, 2017
IL Staff
Scott Wylie, attorney and director of the Vanderburgh Community Foundation, has been named as the first full-time staff director of the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana.
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Cities, counties mull immigrant legal fund after Trump's win

December 19, 2016
 Associated Press
Major U.S. cities and counties are beefing up legal services for immigrants to help them fight deportation and avoid fraudulent lawyers in the wake of Donald Trump's election and his hard-line immigration enforcement promises.
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Retirement of key attorney, funding cuts cloud Indianapolis Legal Aid Society effort

December 14, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Retired corporate general counsel Orville Copsey created a program 19 years ago at Indianapolis Legal Aid Society designed to help older people who had been cited by the Marion County Public Health Department for living in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. But the initiative is now potentially facing its own crisis. Weber passed away unexpectedly in February and Copsey is retiring at the end of this month.
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Lawyer retires after helping countless people stay home

December 14, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
Almost everyone who talks about their friend Orville Copsey begins with the stories about his suits.
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IBF honors advocates of civil legal aid and civic education

December 12, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
This year’s annual event was held Dec. 11 in downtown Indianapolis, bringing together state and federal judges, attorneys and their families.
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  2. 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.

  3. 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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