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Lawyer-legislator's attacker on trial

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The man accused of attacking a lawyer-legislator last year because of a 23-year-old legal dispute is on trial in Hamilton Superior Court, facing multiple felony charges and potentially 100 years or more in prison.

The trial began Sept. 7 for Augustus J. Mendenhall, who was charged following the October 2009 attack on Rep. Edward DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, who is also an attorney. The man used a fake name to meet with DeLaney about a possible real estate deal in Carmel, but when the two met, Mendenhall beat DeLaney and tried to shoot him, according to news reports. A witness called police after seeing DeLaney and Mendenhall acting suspiciously, and believing DeLaney was in danger. When police arrived, they found Mendenhall on top of DeLaney, punching him in the head. DeLaney suffered injuries to his head and face in the attack. Police later learned that the man held a grudge about a legal dispute from the 1980s involving Mendenhall’s father, and that appeared to have led to this attack.

Also an attorney, Mendenhall was admitted to the bar in October 2008 and the Indiana Supreme Court suspended him in July 2010 because of this incident.

Mendenhall was charged with attempted murder, felony robbery resulting in serious bodily injury, felony criminal confinement, and misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. Setting aside 10 days for the trial, Hamilton Superior Judge William J. Hughes heard testimony that included DeLaney.

Mendenhall’s attorney Jack Crawford is presenting an insanity defense, and the court docket shows physicians listed as expert witnesses to testify in the case.
 

Rehearing "It's a dangerous legal world" IL Nov. 25-Dec. 8, 2009

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

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