Less than a month after the deadliest mass shooting in Indianapolis history, questions are still being raised about whether Indiana's red flag law could have stopped the shooter from purchasing the two assault-style rifles he used at the FedEx Ground facility on the city's southwest side. Meanwhile, Kids' Voice of Indiana is preparing to take over as the GAL/CASA provider in the Marion County Courts after negotiations with Child Advocates ended unsuccessfully. Plus, meet the Evansville attorney who doubles as the leader of a women's wellness website.
Tanya Walton Pratt is making making history as the first African American chief judge of U.S. Court for the Southern District of Indiana, but she also is looking forward to a future past the pandemic and, she hopes, with a new judgeship for one of the America’s busiest federal courts. For women judges, their journey to the bench often begins with a mentor who plants seeds of encouragement. And two Indianapolis nonprofits that serve youngsters in the child welfare system, Child Advocates and Kids’ Voice of Indiana, have been at the center of an argument that many families have had: Who can better care for the youngest members?
It’s no secret jury trials are declining across America, even as they are increasing in other parts of the world. What’s less obvious, though, is why that decline is occurring. Meanwhile, Marion County courts are struggling to get potential jurors to report. Immigration attorneys say challenges for unmarried international couples have risen as COVID kept them apart. And as President Joe Biden begins making nominations to fill federal judicial vacancies, Indiana lacks a clearly defined process for identifying qualified Hoosiers to fill the vacancies.
A new dual-degree program is giving agriculture professionals a chance to learn the legalities of their work. Meanwhile, the state of Indiana is fighting multiple court orders requiring disclosure of the state's lethal injection cocktail. Plus, law students are learning the value of in-person communication through their pandemic clinic experiences.
Indiana Capitol Police say they feel a special sense of pride and honor carrying out their duties safeguarding the Indiana Statehouse and other Circle City landmarks. A recent ABA resolution is urges new programs to assist law school graduates and law students experiencing financial hardship due to student loan debt. Family law practitioners and longtime colleagues James Reed and Michael Kohlhaas made a career move that runs counter to the current trend — they went from big to boutique, and they aren’t the only big law firm lawyers who have made such a change.
Legislation that would strip away protections for Indiana’s isolated wetlands has drawn opposition from conservationists as well as state environmental regulators. Efforts to remove lawyers from commissions that recommend candidates to serve as trial court judges in Lake and St. Joseph counties are meeting resistance from the local legal communities. And the Taft law firm is expanding its public service and government practice areas, opening an office in Washington, D.C., with the help of new partners who departed Ice Miller.
After 39 years, G. Michael Witte, executive director of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, is calling it a career — sort of. A new yearlong legal-focused series, Open Conversations, hopes to draw on the power of frank discussion to illuminate issues of race and justice. And with the powerful lobbying interests of two boys from LaPorte, Indiana lawmakers are taking a stand for lemonade.
A surprise gift from a new law firm foundation is helping a re-entry nonprofit reenergize its work. Also, a state senator has introduced legislation that could change juvenile gun laws. But for one family, the focus is on COVID-19 immunity legislation after the family patriarch died from what they allege was nursing home negligence.
As Hoosier legal aid organizations do more with less, a well-known leader in Indiana’s pro bono community has moved from one major law firm to another. Chief Justice Loretta Rush told lawmakers that Indiana courts will hold the line on spending this year, while new statistics from the Supreme Court revealed a big change: In the past five years, there were far fewer child in need of services cases but termination of parental rights filings soared.
As work continues toward completion of the new Indianapolis-Marion County Community Justice Campus, the new towers rising southeast of downtown also mark a reconfiguration of how courts will handle family law and juvenile cases in the future. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office is launching a first-of-its kind unit in Indiana that seeks to ensure the integrity of criminal convictions. And as coronavirus topped the news of 2020, many other major legal news stories also played out. Find out which were the most read stories of 2020 on the Indiana Lawyer website.