Public defenders

New Indiana criminal code being implemented in courtrooms

July 16, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Prosecutors, public defenders and judges around the state have been attending special seminars, updating computer programs and reading through the new criminal code in preparation for the switch. Many say they will need about six months before they feel comfortable with the new code, and they expect they will be juggling cases charged under the old code for at least another 12 to 18 months.
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Conour defender asks to withdraw from 7th Circuit appeal

May 5, 2014
Dave Stafford
The public defender appointed to represent convicted fraudster and former leading personal-injury attorney William Conour has asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to withdraw from the case, citing an unspecified conflict of interest.
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Proposed criminal justice complex draws 5 bidders

February 12, 2014
Kathleen McLaughlin
Five groups of developers have responded to Indianapolis' call for candidates to build a new criminal justice complex.
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Indy attorney: airport site 'cannot' work for justice complex

February 12, 2014
Dave Stafford
Indianapolis International Airport may be officials’ preferred location for a proposed Criminal Justice Complex, but some attorneys who work in the system are critical of the idea.
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Every defendant has a story

January 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
After 11 grueling years on the high-profile Camm murder case, attorney Stacy Uliana believes justice was served.
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Federal judge orders new trial in felony gun possession case

December 19, 2013
Dave Stafford
Finding the interests of justice require a new trial for a man convicted of a federal gun crime in which the government withheld potentially exculpatory evidence, Judge William T. Lawrence granted his request Wednesday in the Southern District of Indiana Terre Haute division.
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Convicted Conour wants to keep fees, attorney says

August 21, 2013
IL Staff
Despite pleading guilty to wire fraud on government charges that he took more than $4.5 million from at least 25 clients, William Conour’s public defender argues the former attorney is entitled to some $2 million in legal fees on cases other attorneys worked.
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Senators skeptical of funding Odyssey access for public defenders

March 28, 2013
Dave Stafford
Senate budget writers appeared skeptical of a request Thursday to spend more than $2.1 million over the next four years to give public defenders statewide the same access to case management systems that prosecutors, judges and others have in many counties.
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Justices order new trial for man tried in absentia

February 19, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A North Carolina man who was convicted of two counts of Class C felony neglect of a dependent by an Elkhart Superior Court while the defendant was on a bus on the way to court will get a new trial, the Indiana Supreme Court concluded Tuesday.
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Low pay leads to high job turnover

November 21, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Salaries in the public sector are causing the criminal justice system to suffer.
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Death penalty foe Foster pumps up federal defenders

October 10, 2012
Dave Stafford
Taking charge at Indiana Federal Community Defenders Inc. in the Southern District, Monica Foster's seeking, and getting, bigger caseloads.
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Lawyers relax and find camaraderie in softball league of their own

July 4, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The Lawyer League softball is an annual summertime league in Indianapolis that's been around for more than 30 years.
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Hogsett lifts US attorney's public profile

June 6, 2012
Dave Stafford
One expert says federal prosecutors have become more visible across the country.
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Dressing defendants

May 23, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
Attorneys say image and attire may influence jurors.
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Court splits over motion for discharge ruling

January 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge dissented from his colleagues in a Criminal Rule 4(B) motion for discharge case, disagreeing with the interpretation of language in Jenkins v. State regarding the relevant time for purposes of determining whether a defendant can file a pro se motion for a speedy trial.
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Economic woes hitting state's public defense

August 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Years ago, those working in the Porter County Public Defender Office reported seeing a bright blue Post-it note tagged to their caseload reports that said, “HELP!” in huge hand-written print. That was a common occurrence at a time when the local public defender’s office faced a critical overload point because of skyrocketing caseloads and too few attorneys.
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Man entitled to warning that conduct may waive right to counsel

August 24, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the finding that a man charged with murder is no longer indigent and that his difficult behavior caused him to waive or forfeit his right to appointed counsel. The appellate court concluded that the judge considered the defendant’s conduct, not his ability to pay, when finding him no longer indigent.
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New state public defender, BLE director chosen

June 16, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Announcing two new appointments simultaneously, the Indiana Supreme Court has chosen the state public defender and director of the Board of Law Examiners.
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Second-in-command becomes acting state public defender

June 6, 2011
Michael Hoskins
State Public Defender Susan Carpenter retired May 31 after nearly three decades in that position, and her chief deputy took charge of the office until the Indiana Supreme Court appoints a successor.
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Court hasn't chosen new state public defender

May 31, 2011
Michael Hoskins
State Public Defender Susan Carpenter retires Tuesday after nearly three decades in that position, and no decision has been made as to who will succeed her.
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Court rules on public defender fee imposition

May 27, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals has decided that a state statute’s indigency hearing requirement doesn’t apply when a defendant has entered into a cash bail-bond agreement, meaning a trial court can use that bond money to pay court costs such as the imposed public defender fee.
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Views shift on use of executions

May 25, 2011
Michael Hoskins
What if 1976 hadn’t played out the way it did, and some of the jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court had held the view of capital punishment at that juncture that they did at the end of their judicial careers? The death penalty may never have been reinstated.
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Mental aspect of capital cases can be challenging

May 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
When it comes to tallying the total price of capital punishment, the cost of those cases for the legal community is more than just expansive legalese and court procedures that span a decade or two.
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Balancing philosophical with practical concerns regarding death penalty

April 27, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Indiana Lawyer takes an in-depth look at the death penalty in the "Cost of Justice" series.
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Prosecutors: money doesn't trump other factors when considering death penalty

April 27, 2011
Michael Hoskins
At a time when capital punishment requests are down and some state officials are questioning the cost and overall effectiveness of seeking a death sentence, the issue of what it’s worth to go after this ultimate punishment is getting more scrutiny in Indiana and nationwide. Read more in Indiana Lawyer's in-depth look at the death penalty and the cost of justice.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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