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Lawmakers discuss same-sex marriage and criminal code revisions at IU McKinney Law School

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Two Republican lawmakers are backing off support for holding a second vote on the same-sex marriage amendment, advocating the Legislature take a wait-and-see approach.  

Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, and Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, both advised the Legislature wait to act until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the two same-sex marriage cases currently pending this term. A resolution calling for a constitutional amendment passed the Indiana General Assembly during the 2011 session and is eligible for a second vote this session. If approved by lawmakers, the measure would be on the 2014 ballot.

However, the legislators pointed out the General Assembly can also vote on the amendment during the 2014 session, and they advocated delaying the process until the Supreme Court takes action.

“With the Supreme Court case pending there’s really no reason to hear that bill or deal with that issue in this session until you have clarification,” Kenley said. “Because if we were to hear it this year and pass it this year, it would have to go on the ballot even if the Supreme Court had already declared it unconstitutional. And I don’t think that would make the Indiana Legislature look very wise.”

McMillin and Kenley were two Indiana lawmakers who spoke at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Tuesday evening. They were joined by Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz for the legislative panel discussion.

The discussion and reception was sponsored by Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Black Law Students Association. Indianapolis radio host Amos Brown served as the moderator.

In addition to the same-sex marriage amendment, the legislators also talked about the sweeping revisions proposed for the state’s criminal code. McMillin, a member of the Courts and Criminal Code Committee, framed the issue as a fiscal one.

“I understand the argument when people do a crime, they need to pay for those crimes,” he said. “But those who just want to continually harp on the fact we need to put people away need to understand being tough on crime is also being tough on taxpayers.”

Brown questioned whether lawmakers were fearful of voting for any revision that could open them to the charge of being soft on crime.

Taylor dismissed that assumption. “I think the electorate has become more educated on this issue,” he said. “The electorate understands that if we talk about being smarter on crime, instead of harder on crime, that people understand what we mean by that.”

McKinney Law School Dean Gary Roberts asked the panel about Senate Bill 88 which would require the loser in civil litigation to pay all attorney fees. The dean called the proposal a “radical departure from the American tradition” and said it would change the dynamics of litigation.

Kenley agreed. He said the impact on the civil legal system would be huge with the parties having to decide if they are willing to take a chance and file a case.

“I don’t know whether this has any chance of passing or not, but it would be an enormous change as you pointed out,” he said.


 

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  • Suits & Atty Fees
    Loser pays attorney fees is a good idea, so long as it's not an all or nothing thing. I would favor a graduated scale (think income tax rates) for fees. Perhaps cap it out at 30-40%. Think of someone suing a big retailer, and then getting a $50,000 bill for attorney fees when they lose.

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  1. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  2. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  3. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  4. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  5. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

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