Opinion

Making Rain: When a room full of strangers freaks you out

August 13, 2014
Dona Stohler
As most good rainmakers know, it is all about networking, and sometimes this means talking to people who are total strangers. It can be daunting to attend an event that your firm is sponsoring or a conference that your target market attends and be expected to “go out there and make new friends.”
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Book review: Divorce case allows glimpse into amusing law firm matters

August 13, 2014
It begins with a ten year old’s Happy New Year greeting to her grandpa, including the sentence, “Mommy and Daddy are cranky.” It ends with a brief reminder on a lawyer’s personal legal stationary. In between these handwritten notes, “The Divorce Papers” tells a story about a divorce through legal documents, emails, court filings, news articles, a psychiatric report, statutes, judicial opinions, billable hour reports, invitations, and, of course, offers and counter-offers.
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Remembering former Indiana Justice Dixon W. Prentice

August 13, 2014
A former law clerk of Justice Dixon Prentice reflects on his time working with the justice.
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Hammerle On … 'Wish I Was Here,' 'Life Itself'

August 13, 2014
Robert Hammerle
Bob Hammerle says "Wish I Was Here" is one of those overlooked films that answers the question, "Is there anything worth a damn playing in the theater?"
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Inbox - 7/30/14

July 30, 2014
A reader responds to a recent article about employment after graduating law school.
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Bell/Gaerte: 3 things to know about ethical advocacy in closing argument

July 30, 2014
James Bell, K. Michael Gaerte
Recently, several published decisions have found attorneys to have engaged in improper advocacy. Here are three things to know about ethical advocacy in closing argument.
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Hammerle On … 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,' 'Begin Again'

July 30, 2014
Robert Hammerle
Bob Hammerle says if you loved "Once," then you should see "Begin Again."
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Whaley: Adventures in e-discovery and social media

July 30, 2014
With the amount of social media people use, it is not surprising that social media can have a significant impact on litigation and discovery. Occasionally something dramatic provides a cautionary tale, like the confidential settlement in a Florida employment discrimination case that the defendant private school voided when the plaintiff’s daughter bragged about it on her Facebook account. But there are many aspects of social media which, while not flashy, present interesting e-discovery challenges.
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Reed: ‘Gray divorce revolution’ alters traditional estate planning

July 16, 2014
Estate planning for “gray divorcees” presents unique challenges for their legal and financial planning professionals.
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Andrews: Can you protect the stepparent bond after a divorce?

July 16, 2014
A subsequent divorce between a biological parent and stepparent can have a devastating impact on the stepparent/stepchild relationship that often rivals that of a biological parent and child. This relationship is so significant that nine of our states recognize stepparents as having a right to seek visitation of a child.
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Indiana Judges Association: Officiating same-sex marriages leaves judge optimistic

July 16, 2014
David Dreyer
On June 25, 2014, and the next day, I officiated over 50 same-sex marriages. For reasons I did not expect, it may have changed my life.
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Janzen: 4 tips for starting a law blog and finding your voice

July 16, 2014
Blogging is a great communication tool for lawyers. For other attorneys who are considering launching their career into the blogosphere, here are four tips.
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Zoeller: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage suit

July 16, 2014
Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.
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Technology Untangled: Regain some Internet privacy and anonymity

July 16, 2014
Stephen Bour
While no one should operate under the illusion that total Internet privacy is obtainable, there are at least a few things you can do to keep from being a complete open book when using the Internet.
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Living Fit: Tips for those who are or will be in the 50 and Over Club

July 16, 2014
Sharon McGoff
Congratulations! You made it to the Fifty and Over Club – or hope to someday. After all, not making it means you’re a member of the Six Feet Under Club, a dirty place to be. As a bonafide member of the elite 50 and over team, you know the joys of waking up with more creaks than your wood floors.
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Hammerle On… 'Obvious Child,' 'How to Train Your Dragon 2'

July 16, 2014
Robert Hammerle
Bob Hammerle says "How to Train Your Dragon 2" is a sequel with meaning and is an animated film that you should hunt down.
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Sidebars: Bloomington eatery’s Cajun food leaves diners satisfied

July 16, 2014
Jennifer Lukemeyer, Fred Vaiana
We give Uptown Café 4 gavels!
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DTCI: Would you choose to be a lawyer if you had a do-over?

July 2, 2014
Renee Mortimer
“If you could do it all over again, would you still be a lawyer?” Anyone reading this has probably been asked the question. I myself cannot think of anything else that I would do, and of course, my answer is “Yes!”
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Federal Bar Update: Rule 30(b)(6) depositions

July 2, 2014
John Maley
One of the most useful tools in discovery is the Rule 30(b)(6) deposition, allowing a party to depose an entity, which must then produce one or more witnesses to testify to enumerated topics.
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Inside the Criminal Case: Passive vs. forcible resistance

July 2, 2014
James Bell, K. Michael Gaerte
The Court of Appeals recently brought us the story of a woman, her dog and her not-so Gandhi-like attempt at passive resistance when her dogs were investigated for biting. The question before the Court of Appeals was whether this passive resistance was criminal.
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Hammerle On … '22 Jump Street,' 'The Grand Seduction'

July 2, 2014
Robert Hammerle
Bob Hammerle says if movie heroes are more irritable than loveable, no film can succeed. In "The Grand Seduction," they were dedicated to a fraud that you sadly grew to resent.
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BGBC: 10 crushing questions to ask a business valuation expert

July 2, 2014
As part of your cross-examination, you wish to attack the expert’s work. You’re supposed to ask about the methodology, assumptions, procedures and how the opinion of value was determined. These are standard questions asked in cross-examination that we expect to hear. What about those questions that are not standard, but just as effective if not more?
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A View From Gitmo: Proceedings lack transparency available in US courts

June 18, 2014
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley writes in the first of a three-part series about what she observed while at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for hearings regarding the accused bomber of the USS Cole.
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Torres: How to handle prayer before government meetings

June 18, 2014
How do governments work to ensure that their practices are such that they are wholly within the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause?
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Start Page: ‘Excel-erate’ your practice by learning Microsoft Excel

June 18, 2014
Seth Wilson
This article (and maybe some YouTube searching) will give you a starting point to help turn your dreams of organized and easy-to-understand data into reality using Microsoft Excel.
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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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