"Nobody is above the law."
Mr. Prosecutor, in its gravest expression, this quote means the famous, wealthy, and influential who commit illegal acts will be prosecuted, and if convicted, punished with equal fervor as the unknown, destitute, and friendless.
But, to me, it also means every governmental rule, regulation, ordinance, or law applies equally to all. We grant no exemption based on privilege or position. Do you agree as a matter of principle?
Every family law attorney in Marion County knows that when parents divorce, they have to attend a class called "Children Cope With Divorce." It costs $55, and it takes two hours to complete. Its purpose is to ensure that parents appreciate the psychological effects their children suffer by virtue of their conflict. It's an important message. Do you agree as a matter of principle?
Invariably, I have clients who are very amicable with their spouses, even during an emotional breakup. They are the rare few who possess the maturity to put their children first. They ask, "Why do I have to do this?" And I tell them, "Because it's required by the Marion County Family Law Rules." They are not entitled to "waive out" of the class.
As you may know, Mr. Prosecutor, Marion County is not alone. Boone County has the following Local Family Law Rule (LR06-FL00-BLR-17):
In the best interest of all minor children in a divorce action, Petitioner and Respondent shall be required to attend a divorce workshop addressing post-separation parenting and encouraging the ability of parents to enter into agreements concerning child-related matters. To this end, Parties are required to attend the workshop offered through Boone County Mental Health Association entitled “Helping Children Through the Divorce.” Parties are responsible for the payment of the cost of the program, with an allowance for waiver of the fee for indigence. Attendance is mandatory for all parties in a Dissolution of Marriage action if there are unemancipated children under the age of eighteen (18). This course must be completed prior to the Final Hearing. Failure to complete the workshop could result in a party having to show cause why s/he should not be held in Contempt of Court.
You know who got divorced in Boone County? You did, Mr. Prosecutor. According to the docket sheet on that case, your ex-wife filed her certificate of attendance on January 20, 2009. But you never did. The case was closed when you entered a settlement agreement on February 24, 2009.
To my knowledge, no account has ever been given that you are not a truly devoted father. There's no indication you struggle to appreciate how difficult your dissolution is for your children. But can you direct me to the "good Dad" or "elected prosecutor from another county" exemption to the Boone County Local Rule? I can't find it.
Also, Indiana Code § 31-15-2-6(b) provides:
At the time of the filing of a petition under section 4 of this chapter, at least one (1) of the parties must have been: (1) a resident of the county; or (2) stationed at a United States military installation within the county; where the petition is filed for three (3) months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
How was your ex-wife able to file in Boone County? After all, she truthfully stated in her Verified Petition that she had been a Marion County resident before filing. When did you serve as our Marion County Prosecutor while living outside of our county, except when you resided with Tim Durham (in his Fortville (Hancock County) mansion) briefly during your divorce?
I have clients who would love to avoid the embarrassment of seeing their name in the divorce listing of the Indianapolis Star, and they could do this if they could just file in another county. I also have clients wanting to avoid being seen and having to "waste a Saturday" and $55 on a class they feel they don't need. You know what I tell them when they complain? You have to follow the law.
Do you agree as a matter of principle?