Sometimes change happens quickly. Other times it happens slowly. But often, both are true — if you need proof, just look at The Indiana Lawyer. This week we have another new editor to introduce: me.
You can expect a “new and improved” Lawyer, with more stories you’ll find compelling, more information that gives you a leg up in your career, and new events that provide networking opportunities as well as insights into crucial issues like diversity in law.
Indiana has no legitimate excuse to require “excuses” for registered voters who wish to cast an absentee ballot. The state is not our parent, and in the last vote, plenty of us determined that as grown adults we shouldn’t have to go through a ridiculous exercise of asking their permission. The last thing that ought to be is a law.
A parade of attorneys from Lake and St. Joe counties testified against House Bill 1453. Most spoke in disbelief that this was happening without any prior consideration. They explained why they had taken their time and traveled all the way down to Indianapolis, some twice, to tell lawmakers why this is a bad idea and why the current judicial nominating system works. It was enough to give any reasonable person pause. But this is the Indiana Legislature we’re talking about.
I asked former three-term Indiana Attorney General Linley Pearson, if you were a younger person today, would you run for office? He didn’t hesitate. “There’s no question today I could not be in politics,” he said. “It’s just totally changed, and it’s not very attractive to me. … If you want to exaggerate or malign a person, you could always do that, but do you want to do that?”
Someday not too long from now, we at Indiana Lawyer will say hello to you in person, and I have to say, I can’t wait for that day. Until then, we have some exciting news to share about our annual Leadership in Law awards.
A few lawyers have gone to court since Donald Trump lost, attempting a legal coup arguing that 74 million is greater than 81 million. By no coincidence, the votes these lawyers seek to disqualify — to vilify — are almost without exception those cast by Black voters. I take comfort, though, knowing the American rule of law, such as it is, stands because men and women of goodwill guard it.
Here’s a modest proposal for electing our next batch of leaders: Let’s randomly select people to run for federal office and build reality television programming around them. I’m certain we can find sponsors and patrons, and how can it possibly be worse than our current system?
I’m by no means the first to suggest that merit selection systems may produce biased results, and people far smarter than me make compelling arguments both ways. But as applied in Indiana, it’s hard to argue this is not a biased system, especially in Marion County.
The Indiana Lawyer editorial staff has been covering Indiana’s voter suppression laws and how they are holding up to court challenges. So far, so good for several statutes, which is awful news for democracy and the right to vote.
Crises present tests of leadership, and Holcomb’s milquetoast excuses for not backing no-excuse mail-in voting during this time will haunt him and define him. This is easily his worst hour in a long political career.
At a time when the American criminal justice system is under the most intense scrutiny of most of our lives, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling allowing the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee was slap in the face of the victims’ family members who opposed it and a bizarre, out-of-touch, wholly mean-spirited form of justice.
Say what you will about Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, he is a man of convictions. But for purposes of this earned polemic, let’s set aside the wrongful convictions that are still being overturned from Hill’s years as Elkhart County prosecutor. Instead, let’s focus on his time as AG and explore Hill’s personal and political convictions.
While the world has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic since we selected our honorees earlier this year, we are pleased that one feature of our signature award program has remained the same: We couldn’t have asked for a more impressive Leadership in Law class for 2020.
A divided Indiana Supreme Court recently passed judgment on a case in which only two of the five justices could find reason instead of a callous abstraction of the law. The callous abstraction prevailed, as increasingly seems to be the style of our times.
One of the saddest parts of my job is when a victim of an unscrupulous lawyer calls, asking in exasperation, “Is there anything that can be done about this?” The very saddest part is the realization that, deep down, the caller already knows the answer is no, or next to no. The legal profession has no contingency when one of its own who swore an oath goes rogue and steals from vulnerable clients. This must change.
In order to continue to best serve you, the Indiana Lawyer website, theindianalawyer.com, can no longer remain wholly free of charge. Beginning soon, we will follow the example of most print and digital media outlets that have instituted metering on their websites.
Indiana Lawyer readers, have you nominated a deserving attorney for our annual Leadership in Law awards? We know it’s the start of the year, and it’s an especially busy time (when isn’t it?), but time is running out — nominations must be made by noon Jan. 31.
Our commitment is this: If you have something to say that would be of interest to IL readers, we have the platform. Whether you prefer a lectern or a soapbox, we’re here for you.
Just ahead of the Labor Day holiday, Indiana Lawyer staff members took to the roads less traveled, visiting some of the Hoosier state’s smallest counties. We each spent a day finding out just a bit about how the law works in places like Liberty. And Portland. And Shoals. And Williamsport.