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Leadership in Law 2013: Richard A. Waples

Partner, Waples and Hanger, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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rIchard-waples01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Richard A. Waples is a leading attorney in the area of Section 1983 litigation and constitutional law. He’s achieved landmark decisions that have advanced the protection of individual rights and liberties, including a wrongful death suit that led to changes in the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center so that suicidal inmates are tracked and monitored. His pro bono work includes helping a 15-year-old boy move from solitary confinement in an adult correctional facility to an age-appropriate unit with supportive services and education. He also advises many attorneys with questions on Section 1983 law and serves on the Local Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Before entering private practice, he was legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana for 11 years.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Combating ivory poachers in Africa.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Abe Lincoln, because of his historical importance and his sense of humor. 

What civic cause is the most important to you?
I consider global warming to be the most important and greatest challenge of our time. 

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
To the time when Jesus was alive. And I’d bring a video camera. 

In life or law, what bugs you?
Pretence.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Relax, focus, and stretch. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flight.

What do you find scary?
Intolerance and ignorance, especially in combination.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
Not a song, but a poem, “The World’s Alright,” by Robert Service.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
Technology is neither good nor bad, it’s what we do with it.

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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