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Longtime trial lawyer Townsend dies

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Indiana has lost a pioneer who has been a fixture in the personal injury legal community for more than six decades.

Earl C. Townsend Jr., who co-founded Indianapolis law firm Townsend & Townsend and went on to become one of the most recognized names in the legal community, has died. He was 92.

Along with his brother John, he helped establish the law firm Townsend & Townsend in downtown Indianapolis after graduating in 1940 from the University of Michigan Law School. He remained a senior partner since then, watching three generations of his family follow in his footsteps there.

Through the years, Townsend became a part of numerous legal organizations and received various distinguished fellow and barrister awards, including Indiana's Sagamore of the Wabash and a Champion of Justice Award in 1989 from the State Bar of Michigan.

While Townsend had an unequivocally illustrious legal career as a trial lawyer, other aspects of his life shone just as bright.

He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981 for his play in high school and at DePauw University. He also had been a Big Ten basketball referee. Townsend's diverse list of accomplishments, according to his obituary, included his being the first television announcer for the Indianapolis 500, a composer, actor, and honorary chief of the Black River-Swan Creek Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

One of his life's passions led him to write a 740-page book entitled "Birdstones of the North American Indian" - which ties in with his having one of the largest and best collections of prehistoric stone Indian artifacts. The tribe recognized him for this effort, making him honorary chief in 1971 and giving the name Senee Pen Eshee Na Na, meaning "Birdstone Man."

Some of Townsend's other accomplishments include composing a waltz entitled "Moon of Halloween" and his work as a radio-television announcer on WIRE, WFBM, and WFBM-TV.

Visitation is 1 p.m. Thursday at Meridian Street United Methodist Church, 5500 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis. A private burial will follow at Crown Hill Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to Arsenal Technical High School, DePauw University, or Meridian Street United Methodist Church. Condolences can also be made online at www.flannerbuchanan.com.
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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. 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?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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