In This Issue of Indiana Lawyer

JULY 22-AUG. 4, 2020

As Indiana law schools prepare to welcome back students amid the COVID-19 pandemic, administrators are planning for a semester that will be unlike any other. Indiana willl have a new attorney general come January as Republican Todd Rokita and Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel are gearing up for the November general election. The pandemic threw ice water on the red-hot law firm merger market, but Indiana, a state often absent from the list of merger activity, recorded two separate combinations just as the COVID-19 crisis was taking hold. 

Top StoriesBack to Top

Rokita, Weinzapfel launch general election AG campaigns

With the candidates now in place, what has so far been an unconventional race for Indiana Attorney General is shifting gears toward the November election. Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel, a former state representative and mayor of Evansville, is promoting himself as the attorney general of the people, not the party. He’ll face off against former Indiana Republican Rep. Todd Rokita, a known quantity in the Hoosier state who is promising “certainty in uncertain times.”

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Courts, attorneys fear wave of COVID evictions

A moratorium on evictions of families in federally subsidized housing is set to end July 25, and Indiana’s moratorium prohibiting evictions is set to end July 31. Advocates warn a wave of evictions is coming that could leave many Hoosiers without a place to live, but because of how these cases are tracked, they lack data to how big that wave will be and when it will arrive.

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Scams and schemes rising with spread of coronavirus

Schemes to con people out of their stimulus checks, to get money for face masks that are never delivered and to get payments for bogus COVID-19 treatments or cures have surged. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has a special coronavirus page on its website devoted to advising consumers on how to identify real contact tracers and to ignore offers for home test kits.

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Democrat Weinzapfel continues fundraising lead in Indiana

Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel continues to lead fundraising in the Indiana attorney general race, finishing the second quarter of 2020 with more than $720,000 available to his campaign. His Republican counterpart, former Indiana Congressman Todd Rokita, posted a total of a little more than $18,200 at the end of the second quarter, about two months after he entered the race.

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FocusBack to Top

Making the best: Adoptive families find new ways to celebrate as in-court ceremonies are called off

With in-person proceedings largely called off, adoptive families have had to adjust their plans. But as long as a case is uncontested, lawyers say judges have been willing to hold final hearings via Zoom or other platforms to give these families a sense of finality. And in some cases, adoptions in the age of COVID-19 have become a cause for community celebration.

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Mom wins federal ruling against Carmel schools in son’s special education case

A Carmel mother is celebrating a federal court ruling that concluding that the public school district had denied her son a free and appropriate education since January 2018 and May 2018, in part by failing to ensure he received his special education and related services. The family attorney says the case sets precedent for parents whose special-needs children rely on individual education plans.

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Makris: COVID-19 presents new co-parenting issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread changes to everyday life that have presented new questions for parents and family law practitioners alike. While we began in uncharted territory, this experience has been an opportunity for attorneys to creatively problem solve in a time when we, like our clients, are navigating many of the same uncertainties.

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OpinionBack to Top

Trimble: Now more than ever, we all need courage

A courageous man, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” In so many words, Dr. King was describing courage. Now, more than ever, we all need courage.


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Maley: Pro bono appointments are necessary obligation for justice

I’m still processing the news that this morning my court-appointed death-row client, Wesley Purkey, was executed. I was his pro bono counsel on three civil-rights/conditions of confinement claims in the Southern District of Indiana. So as I wrestle now — and hopefully for some time — with the legal and moral aspects of capital punishment that otherwise have been remote, it seems appropriate and timely to discuss the needs and opportunities for pro bono service in civil cases in our local federal courts. Both are robust.

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Hammerle on… President Trump and the national loss of honor and dignity

I write this article on the day our federal government executed the first prisoner in 17 years. His name was Danny Lee, and he was put to death in Terre Haute, Indiana. Our state. The original judge, prosecutor and victims’ family opposed killing Lee because the co-defendant was more culpable and received life in prison. They were ignored while our president had time to commute the sentence of his buddy Roger Stone. No time for Lee, however.

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Bar AssociationsBack to Top

IndyBar’s Commission on Racial Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is Ready to Lead

In his June 2020 guest column, Indianapolis Bar Association President-Elect Jimmie McMillian encouraged each of us to use our “power and position as an attorney to work in conjunction with the IndyBar on issues of racial injustice.” The obvious question is “how?” The short answer from the IndyBar is to engage with the newly created Commission on Racial Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

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DTCI: Spotlight on New Defense Lawyers

The DTCI resumes its popular feature, “Young Lawyer Spotlight,” introducing a few of its new members to the Indiana legal community at large. DTCI members are encouraged to submit the names of their new associates for inclusion in future Spotlight features.

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