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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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