Voyles: Thoughts for this, my final column

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As my year as your President comes to an end and my friend, Chris Hickey, begins her year as your President, I just wanted to take this opportunity to jot down some of my random thoughts from the past year.

As a lawyer who practices in the field of criminal law - and one of the few who has been given the honor of being President of the IBA - I would like to thank all of the other great lawyers who also practice criminal law and all the public defenders who labor so long and hard, making us proud as they protect the rights of all citizens.

To all the other wonderful lawyers who have stopped me on the street or shook my hand at a social event to tell me that they are proud of the IBA, the work that we do and the effort that our staff makes to carry out its duties, I say "thank you."

At the beginning of my term last January, I could not have predicted all the support I have received. Those things I told you I wanted do for the IBA this year, I believe we have met our goals. We've increased membership and seen dues renewals come in at a tremendous rate, given the state of the economy.

We've seen young people get involved in the Bar, whether it's through committee work or pro bono projects. That's something that I am proud of - that our local practitioners continue to see the value of making connections and collegiality.

I must tell you that when I was asked to meet with the nominating committee almost three years ago as a possible candidate for the President of the IBA, I agreed very reluctantly to attend that meeting. When I was called and informed that I had been chosen, I was both surprised and fearful that I had just made a very bad mistake.

Now three years later, I can tell you it has been one of the best years of my law career. Somehow, with the help of all of the invaluable people I count on every day, I was able to make most of the meetings and social events - and finish this column on time. I have used other columns to thank both my staff and the staff of the IBA for all that they have done, but the sentiment bears repeating.

I guess you never really know if you have been able to keep up the standards that others have set for the IBA, but as I look back over the last year, I think we have had some success in that area. With my hard-working and dedicated board and the association's standing committees, we tackled issues such as judicial criticism, membership recruitment and retention, professionalism standards and recognition, and more.

One of the things I treasure most is having a sense of humor and boy did that come in handy this year. Not only did I take the time to laugh at myself pretty often, but also to enjoy some light moments with my board and fellow officers. As a famous comedian once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

During the last year we have also had some sadness, as members of our profession have passed away, along with family members and friends. This is all just part of the human experience we deal with in our lives.

As we move into the new year, I hope all of you will continue to be active in the IBA by helping to bring in a new member and enjoying the benefits of the best bar association in the country.

The role any President has is merely a reflection of the quality of the organization he or she leads and to keep your hand firmly on the rudder so that you guide that association both through smooth and troubled waters.

I hope you believe I have done that for the IBA in 2009.

Thank you all for permitting me to lead you and for all of your support - it has been a wonderful experience. Please help Chris Hickey have an even better year in 2010 for the IBA.


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  1. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.