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Order restricts guns, alcohol in judge's home

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Special Judge Walter Chapala issued an order this week requiring all firearms be removed from the home of a LaPorte Superior judge who was shot last month in her home. On Jan. 27, Judge Chapala ordered Judge Jennifer Evans and her husband, Stephan Koethe, to remove any firearms from their home as well as to abstain from drinking alcohol immediately prior to or during any times that Koethe's children from a previous marriage may be in their care. The order also applies to Koethe's ex-wife, Megan Koethe.

Megan had filed a petition for appointment of Guardian Ad Litem and suspension of parenting time or enforcement of Indiana parenting time guidelines. Judge Chapala didn't modify the custody and parenting time rights of the parties, but did require them to participate in a parenting time evaluation to be submitted to the court for possible modification.

Judge Evans suffered a gunshot wound to the head in her home in late December 2008 and was hospitalized following the incident. Stephan Koethe told a LaPorte television station that the judge shot herself accidentally while handling a gun she thought was empty. The bullet grazed her head; the judge recovered and took the bench earlier this year. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, said St. Joseph County Prosecutor spokeswoman Catherine Wilson. The St. Joseph County Prosecutor is involved in the investigation to avoid any conflict of interest since Judge Evans had worked in the LaPorte County Prosecutor's office.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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