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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues five today, none involving Indiana directly

But this is interesting. In Van Patten v. Deppish, Judge Evans explores this question:

Telephone conversations with clients are a big part of what lawyers do. But can using a telephone while representing a client go too far? This habeas case presents the novel—but, in the endless quest for efficiency, perhaps inevitable—question: What does the law require when a client on the other end of a telephone hookup with his lawyer is standing before a judge, about to relinquish a bevy of important constitutional rights? * * *

Although counsel-by-conference call probably could not have been imagined by the Supreme Court in 1938, it is worth remembering that Justice Sutherland in Powell— as well as Justice Stevens in Cronic more than a halfcentury later—invoked the metaphor of the “guiding hand” of counsel which a defendant requires at every step. Similarly, we have observed that “[t]he Sixth Amendment . . . guarantees more than just a warm body to stand next to the accused.” Thomas, 856 F.2d at 1015. In this case, Van Patten didn’t get even a warm body. The judgment of the district court is REVERSED and the case is REMANDED for the entry of an order granting the petition for a writ of habeas corpus. On the subsequent remand to the Circuit Court for Shawano County, the proceedings against Mr. Van Patten can resume with a plea of not guilty in place.

In Jolly Group Ltd. v. Medline Industries, a 6-page opinion, Judge Evans begins:
In this appeal, attorney Michael J. Rovell challenges a rather modest ($450 plus 4 hours of attorneys fees) sanction order issued against him stemming from his representation of The Jolly Group, Ltd. in a breach of contract action against Medline Industries, Inc. For reasons we will explain, we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in imposing the sanctions, but we also deny Medline’s cross-appeal asking us to significantly enlarge the scope of the penalty: Medline seeks a more robust sanction order—in excess of $30,000 (as of May 2004) with the meter still running.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 24, 2006 12:39 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions