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New state public defender, BLE director chosen

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Announcing two new appointments simultaneously, the Indiana Supreme Court has chosen the state public defender and director of the Board of Law Examiners.

The court announced its decisions Thursday, filling the two vacancies and completing search processes that have been under way for months.

Stephen T. Owens of Indianapolis is the new state public defender, one of 43 attorneys who applied to succeed Susan Carpenter after her retirement May 31. He has been a deputy and chief public defender in the statewide office for nearly 25 years after being admitted to practice in October 1985.

Owens immediately begins a four-year term as the administrative head of the 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing criminal appeals, including two death penalty cases.

“I’m extremely excited and honored, and all I can hope is to maintain what (Carpenter) has established,” Owens told Indiana Lawyer.

In addition to the public defender appointment, the court selected Bradley W. Skolnik as the next BLE leader. The Indianapolis partner at Stewart & Irwin succeeds Linda Loepker, who resigned in early December. More than 91 individuals applied for the post. While the search and review was pending, David Remondini from the Division of State Court Administration temporarily fulfilled the duties of the director.

At Stewart & Irwin, Skolnik practices in the areas of securities regulation, financial services, and general corporate litigation. Prior to his private practice, he worked as the Indiana securities commissioner in the Secretary of State’s office. He served as president of the North American Securities Administration Association, and in that role he has testified before the U.S. Congress.

“Serving as the executive director will afford me a unique opportunity to use the skills I developed as a regulator and private practitioner in an area that deeply interests me,” Skolnik said in a news release. “I passionately support the Board’s role in maintaining the integrity and high standards of the legal profession.”

The state BLE plays a pivotal role in the legal community, overseeing not only the admission of attorneys in Indiana through the bar exam but also administering legal intern certification and the formation and renewal of professional corporations, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships within the legal profession.

 “It is a coup for us to bring Brad Skolnik back to state government,” Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said in a prepared statement. “Having his management and investigatory skills at work in the judicial branch will allow us to continue ensuring the legal profession embraces the highest standards.”

 

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. 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!

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