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Zoeller, Merritt tour campuses, promote Lifeline law

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The Indiana state senator who sponsored a law that aims to protect minors from arrest when they seek medical attention for alcohol-related emergencies is joining Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller in spreading the word on college campuses.

Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, joined Zoeller today on a visit to Purdue University in West Lafayette to promote the Lifeline Law, SEA 274, enacted this year by Gov. Mitch Daniels. Merritt and Zoeller also were scheduled to visit Wabash College in Crawfordsville and DePauw University in Greencastle today.

Zoeller said in a statement that many college students are unaware of the law that passed without opposition and was drafted with input from students. “By raising public awareness that the Lifeline Law protects them, we hope that young people will not be reluctant to call 911 – and will instead seek medical help for impaired friends and not look the other way,” Zoeller said.

Merritt said the law was passed because binge drinking can be a matter of life and death.

“More than two dozen Hoosier students under the age of 21 have lost their lives to alcohol poisoning since 2004,” Merritt said. “Unfortunately, the fact is, many of these deaths could have been prevented if bystanders or actual friends sought medical attention immediately for the victims. Indiana's Lifeline Law encourages students to do just that – make the call to save a life.”

The law creates legal immunity for the person who calls emergency services, meaning the prosecutor would not file criminal charges for alcohol offenses – such as illegal possession or public intoxication – against those who request help for an intoxicated friend, according to the statement from Zoeller’s office.

Zoeller and Merritt previously visited Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana State University in Terre Haute and Ball State University in Muncie to raise awareness of the Lifeline Law.

 

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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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