ILNews

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. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  2. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  3. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  4. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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