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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. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  2. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  3. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

  4. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  5. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

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