Annual Trip Through the Criminal Justice System

Valparaiso University Law Professor Derrick Carter and his Criminal Procedure students visited several state and federal agencies in Indianapolis on Thursday, Oct 20. The morning session began at the statehouse as Justice Robert Rucker (Valparaiso Law ’76), Justice Steven David, and Justice Frank Sullivan entertained the provocative questions submitted in advance by Criminal Procedure students on law, ethics, policy, and professionalism.

Court of Appeals Judges Bradford, Bailey, and Mathias discussed their roles in the Court of Appeals. Tammy Sommers, Gary Rom (’10), and Andy Kobe from the State Attorney General Consumer Affairs and the Criminal Appeals division discussed strategy, complaints, and tactics. Sebastian Smelko (’07), Assistant General Counsel to Governor Mitch Daniels, discussed the political process. The morning session concluded as judicial clerks Abigail Rom (’10), who helped organize the entire trip, and Jon Rogers (’06), explained their duties.

The law students selected one of two prepared tracks for the afternoon session. The state track included an hour-long visit with Steve Owens and Jamie Acklin of the State Public Defender Office; discussions with Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry; Marion County Trial Judges Sheila Carlisle, Judge Lisa Borges, and Judge Marc Rothenberg (’98) on trial advocacy, ethics, strategy, and humor; and an hour with the Marion County Public Defenders J.P. Roman-Lagunas (’09), Shannon Howard-Chastain, and Mary Kalachnik.

The federal track included an hour-long discussion with Federal District Court Judge Tanya Pratt, Judge Tim Baker (’89), Assistant United States Attorney Tom Kieper, and Federal Public Defender Bill Marsh.

After an exhausting day, the students attended an alumni reception at Barnes & Thornburg law firm. “This was a great opportunity to network with a number of alumni in different fields,” stated Nick Hoeffler, a second year law student.