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Criminal Justice News


Posted on: Oct 7, 2015

By Mark Busby, Voyles Zahn & Paul

Pro tempore (/?pro? ?t?mp?ri/, /?pro? ?t?mp?r?/ or /?pro? ?t?mp?re?/), abbreviated pro tem or p.t., is a Latin phrase which best translates to "for the time being" in English -  Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia

Pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 63, and in the interests of continuing the orderly administration of justice, the Supreme Court of Indiana allows judicial officers to appoint an attorney as judge pro tempore. Each year, when the mandatory judicial conference occurs, court staffs diligently (and often desperately) hunt for pro tempore candidates to take the bench. “[F]or the time being’ an attorney is ordered to put aside their practice and assume the role of judge.

This month in the Sagamore American Inn of Court, our speaker presented his experiences in the English legal system. The English system is divided into two primary rolls – the Solicitor and the Barrister. The Solicitor will solicit and prepare cases, but never appears in court. Similar in many ways to our paralegals (and every bit as crucial), a solicitor prepares a case and hires a Barrister for presentation to the court.

Barristers are monitored and licensed through the Bar Standards Board and must belong to one of the four Inns of Court to practice law. However, each barrister is self-employed through the Inn, in contrast to our system of firms. The professional expectations placed on a Barrister demand that they treat each case independently of all others, negating many of the traditional conflict-of-interest exclusions identified in our Rules of Professional Conduct.

Such expectations frequently results in Barristers representing private citizens on some cases and serving as a representative of the Crown in a prosecution in another case. Two members of one of the Inns are often adverse to each other in Crown (criminal) or civil cases. It is simply expected that the professional tenants will ensure ethical conduct, even if the opposing party’s most sensitive information lies readily available mere feet from your desk. (This is not to suggest the same ethical demands are not in place in our system - they are.)

At the end of the day, a Barrister is an advocate, as we all are. The law doesn’t change, justice doesn’t change, merely the position for which we advocate. “For the time being,” take a step back and consider your own role in our legal system. While it is often indulgent to advocate for your own beliefs, how often have you embraced the opportunity to advocate for an issue as a matter of law, and not a matter of principle, even when you disagree with it personally?

The Criminal Justice Section will present a CLE on October 30 regarding judicial experiences with the new sentencing guidelines. Thanks to the hard work and inspiration of Andrew Reidle, Judges Carlisle, Flowers, Rothenberg and Stoner have volunteered to discuss the impact of the new guidelines in their courts and on their cases. This is a great opportunity to listen to their opinions, and learn more about the effect your advocacy may have on a case.

This post was written by Mark Busby of Voyles Zahn & Paul. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Criminal Justice Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at rbeachy@indybar.org.

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