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Two Lake County events spotlight domestic violence

October 10, 2017

On Aug. 6, 2007, a mother in Gary and her two children lost their lives to domestic violence.

Cassandra Isom, her 13-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son were shot and killed by her husband, Kevin Isom, who then kept police officers are bay for several hours before being arrested and telling law enforcement, “I can’t believe I killed my family.”

He was eventually found guilty of three counts of murder and sentenced to death. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld his conviction and he remains on Indiana’s death row.

This tragedy and its aftermath will be the subject of a special panel discussion in East Chicago about domestic violence. It was one of two events being held this week in northwest Indiana to raise awareness about violence between spouses and intimate partners.

The panel discussion, “Capital Punishment at the Crossroads,” will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Lorenzo Arredondo Justice Center, 3711 Main St., East Chicago. Panelists are Lake Superior Judge Thomas Stefaniak, Jr, who presided over the Isom trial; Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter; and Valparaiso Law School Dean Andrea Lyon, a nationally recognized expert in the field of death penalty defense. Lake Superior Judge Calvin Hawkins will moderate the discussion.

Then, a daylong seminar entitled, “Intimate Partner Violence … Ramifications at Work, School, Home Court,” will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Villa Cesare, 900 Eagle Ridge Drive, Schererville. Hawkins will lead the event that includes presentations and panel discussions.

The Thursday discussion is sponsored by the Kimbrough Law Association. Hawkins said the event is a continuation of the domestic violence awareness programs his court has hosted over the past five years. The goal is to sensitize the legal community to the issue and variety of needs among the victims of domestic violence.

The Friday seminar, sponsored by the Women Lawyers Association of Indiana, will include presentations about protection and restraining orders, recognizing abuse, and testifying in court as well as how to handle domestic violence issues that arise in the workplace.

The keynote speaker with be Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, who is a retired Hammond police captain where she worked in the sex crimes and domestic violence divisions.

Carly Brandenburg, partner at Eichhorn & Eichhorn LLP, who helped organize the seminar, said the goal is to clarify the law and provide information to lawyers, law enforcement and mental health professionals so they can direct victims to the services and resources available to help.

The panel discussion has 1.5 hours of continuing legal education available. The event is free but attendees are asked to make reservations by contact either Erica Washington or Lupe Lopez at 219-398-2443.

The seminar is $50 and offers 7 hours of CLE credits. For more information or to register, click here.

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