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Senate confirms Indy lawyer as new U.S. Attorney

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An Indianapolis lawyer has gotten approval to become the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, ending a three-year gap since last time a U.S. Senate confirmed leader held that post.

After a full day of business Wednesday, the Senate at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Joseph H. Hogsett, who is a senior partner at law firm Bingham McHale. The president had chosen him for the top prosecutor spot back in July. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination Sept. 16 and Hogsett was one of six U.S. Attorneys confirmed by the full Senate just before it left for a midterm election break.

Hogsett Joe Hogsett

The last confirmed leader was Susan Brooks, who left in October 2007 to take a general counsel spot at Ivy Tech Community College. Longtime second-in-command and previous interim leader Tim Morrison took over that role until a new nominee could be found.

Indiana’s Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh had recommended Hogsett, who’s previously served as chief of staff and senior advisor to Bayh during his governorship in the 1990s. Hogsett also had been the Secretary of State and the state Democratic Party chairman for several years.

Practicing law since 1981, the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington graduate has been with Bingham McHale since leaving public service work in the late '90s. He now handles individual employment contracts, non-compete agreements, sexual harassment and retaliation claims, and immigration compliance, and he defends businesses in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation at the state and federal levels. He also assists the firm’s government department in advising Hoosier cities, towns, and counties on various issues.

Attending a retirement ceremony this morning for Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore R. Boehm, the newly confirmed Hogsett received congratulations from those in the legal community and was acknowledged during remarks from the bench. Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard introduced those in the audience and included Morrison as the acting U.S. Attorney, but pointed out the “good news is that help is on the way” with Hogsett’s recent confirmation.

After hearing the news today, Hogsett confined most of his remarks to a release sent out this morning from Bingham McHale. But he told Indiana Lawyer that he hopes the president will sign his commission soon so that he can be sworn in by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young in the next week or so.

In the release, Hogsett vowed that the Southern District will approach legal issues with a “renewed sense of commitment and priority, with vigilance and timeliness.”

“Criminal wrongdoing will be sought out wherever it is to be found - whether in our neighborhoods or in corporate boardrooms, whether perpetrated by the famous or unknown - and these individuals will be identified, investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

This is the second new U.S. Attorney the state has had confirmed recently, with senators late last year confirming second-in-command David Capp to lead the office in the Northern District that he’d been filling on an interim basis since 2007 when Joseph Van Bokkelen was named to the federal bench.
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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