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Tippecanoe president supports local events

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Tippecanoe president supports local events

The president of the Tippecanoe County Bar Association, Randall L. Vonderheide encouraged members of that organization to attend Indiana District 4 Pro Bono Corporation’s annual meeting Oct. 27 at the Holiday Inn City Centre in Lafayette and a Nov. 4 lecture about Helen Jackson Gougar, a female lawyer from Lafayette who was the third woman to argue before the Indiana Supreme Court.

The Courts in the Classroom project of the Indiana Supreme Court also planned two events in November about Gougar. The first event was held at Tippecanoe Superior Court Nov. 5, and the second will take place at the Indiana Supreme Court’s courtroom in Indianapolis Nov. 16.

The Oct. 27 event hosted by Pro Bono District 4, which includes Tippecanoe, White, Carroll, Clinton, Montgomery, Fountain, Warren, and Benton counties, was held during the American Bar Association’s National Pro Bono Celebration, Oct. 24-30.

An afternoon CLE included an update about how the courts and legal community in Indiana have been handling mortgage foreclosure settlement conferences. Speakers for that CLE included Brian Dunkel of Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic in Indianapolis, whose attorneys have handled settlement conferences in the last year; Diane Cowger, an attorney in one of the Marion Superior courts that handles foreclosure mediations; Joe Kellogg of Homestead Consulting, which handles mortgage workout agreements under the Housing Affordable Mortgage Program; and Elizabeth Daulton, project manager for the Indiana Supreme Court’s Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Project.

CLE credit for that event was offered in exchange for various volunteer opportunities, including taking on a pro bono case and/or volunteering at Talk to a Lawyer programs in the Lafayette area. A program was held at Ivy Tech Oct. 28 and another is scheduled for Purdue University in April 2011.

The evening’s events included a reception, awards program, and a CLE program by Jeffrey Dible, estate and tax attorney for Frost Brown Todd. Dible’s presentation focused on his projections regarding estate tax planning issues.

The second event the president of the Tippecanoe Bar Association highlighted was a Nov. 4 lecture about Helen Gougar, who fought for her right to vote after an election board denied her that right in 1894. In 1895, Gougar was the first woman to become a member of the Tippecanoe County Bar, and she argued the same day that because she could join the bar, she was eligible to vote.

Her case, Gougar v. Timberlake, was rejected by the trial court judge, and she appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court where she again represented herself in 1897. She ultimately lost her case and died 10 years before women received the right to vote, but she was remembered for her work as a suffragette, lecturer, author, and journalist.

On Nov. 5, Gougar’s story was again told as part of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Courts in the Classroom project. That presentation to 150 students from three area schools took place at the Tippecanoe Superior Court 3. Students were also given a tour of the courthouse in Lafayette.

The program will be presented again at the Indiana Statehouse in the Supreme Court’s courtroom Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. That event will include 250 students from Indianapolis area schools and is open to the public. More information about Courts in the Classroom is available at http://www.in.gov/judiciary/citc/ or by contacting Elizabeth R. Osborn, assistant to the Chief Justice for Court History and Public Education, at eosborn@courts.state.in.us.•

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  1. 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!!!

  2. 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.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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