COMMENT CONCERNS: AG Rokita’s recent statement raises questions about retaliation and partisanship

By Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen December 12, 2023 A reference Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita made to two private attorneys’ voting and campaign contribution records has one lawmaker calling the remarks “bothersome” and “unnecessary attacks” that undermine public confidence in the legal system. “He will stretch whatever powers he has to go after the people that criticize him,” Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said. “Fortunately, it’s a fairly limited office and it’s incumbent upon the rest of us to recognize that and make sure he stays within the limits of his office.” Rokita’s comments about the attorneys – Paula Cardoza-Jones…

ATTORNEY ETHICS: AG Rokita’s actions hint at negotiations with disciplinary commission in his misconduct case

By Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen September 25, 2023 The admissions last week by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita that statements he made on national television in the summer of 2022 could “reasonably be considered” to violate attorney ethics have surprised members of the legal community. Rokita’s actions also hint that he may be negotiating an agreement to resolve the disciplinary complaint filed against him. Rokita has been criticized by lawyers, law school professors and judges for his public comments about Indianapolis OB/GYN Caitlin Bernard. The state’s top lawyer targeted Bernard after The Indianapolis Star broke the story of her…

DISCIPLINARY CHARGES: AG Rokita faces 3 allegations of attorney misconduct in Caitlin Bernard case

By  Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen September 18, 2023 Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has been charged with three counts of attorney misconduct by the Indiana Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Commission, which said comments he made about Indianapolis OB/GYN Caitlin Bernard caused “irreparable harm” and “burdened the court system.” The disciplinary commission filed the complaint against Rokita with the Indiana Supreme Court Monday. The complaint stems from remarks Rokita made in the days and weeks after The Indianapolis Star reported Bernard had performed an abortion on a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim in June 2022. Specifically, the commission said the attorney…

John Krull commentary: Todd Rokita keeps digging holes for him to fall into

With all the time, energy and money Todd Rokita devotes to dealing with the petty feuds he’s started, the crises he’s created for himself and the self-manufactured scandals in which he’s engulfed, does he have any left to spend doing the people’s business as Indiana’s attorney general? Marilyn Odendahl of The Indiana Citizen just reported that Rokita is working to both delay and escalate his persecution of Dr. Caitlin Bernard. (Disclosure: TheStatehouseFile.com and The Indiana Citizen have a partnership.) Bernard is the Indiana doctor who last summer performed an abortion for a 10-year-old Ohio rape victim. Bernard did so at the request…

Attorney General Rokita seeks to depose Indy Star reporter in Bernard licensing case

By Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen May 11, 2023 The request Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office made in late April to delay the case against Caitlin Bernard pending before the Indiana Medical Licensing Board came after an apparent change in the state’s lead counsel and accompanied a push to reopen some of the previous discovery and depose additional individuals including a reporter for The Indianapolis Star.  In an order filed April 28, the medical licensing board denied the motion filed by the attorney general’s office to postpone the May hearing until August. The board also turned down Bernard’s motion to prevent…

Attorney General’s office authored amendment that seeks to end lawsuit against Rokita

By Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen May 5, 2023 A 56-word provision authored by the Indiana Attorney General’s office and dropped late into the biennial budget bill appears to be an attempt to short circuit a lawsuit aimed at forcing Attorney General Todd Rokita to turn over a report about his former employment with Apex Benefits. The provision states that informal advisory opinions from the Indiana Office of the Inspector General to current, former or prospective state employees and officials are confidential. The language then goes a step farther by including a retroactive clause that makes advisory opinions previously issued…

Rokita adds GOP powerhouse Bopp as outside counsel in battle over Inspector General report — but thanks to lawmakers, he might have won already.

By Marilyn Odendahl The Indiana Citizen April 28, 2023 Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has hired James Bopp, a nationally recognized attorney championing Republican causes, to represent him in the fight to keep confidential an Indiana Inspector General’s report about his previous employment with Apex Benefits. Bopp along with attorneys Courtney Turner Milbank and Melena Sue Siebert, all from The Bopp Law Firm based in Terre Haute, filed an appearance April 26 notifying the Court of Appeals of Indiana they will be representing Rokita in Tully v. Rokita, 23A-PL-00705. Also, Benjamin Jones, the deputy attorney general who had been representing…

County court battle between Rokita and physicians ends with judge’s order

The Marion County Circuit Court has granted Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s request to end his effort to change another judge’s finding that as the state’s top lawyer, he violated confidentiality by making repeated public statements about his office’s investigation into Caitlin Bernard, M.D. Marion County Circuit Judge Amber Collin-Gebrehiwet filed her order April 26 which granted Rokita’s notice of withdrawal of motion. The case that was brought by Bernard and her colleague Amy Caldwell, M.D., is now closed. Through her attorney, Matthew Gutwein, partner at DeLaney & DeLaney, Bernard declined to comment. As Rokita did in his notice of withdrawal, the…

Rokita ends court fight against finding that he violated confidentiality

April 21, 2023 After hiring outside counsel and presenting oral arguments to the judge, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita is withdrawing his motion to remove a trial court’s finding that he violated state confidentiality laws when he publicized his office’s investigation into OB/BYN Caitlin Bernard. The state’s top lawyer filed a notice of withdrawal with the Marion Circuit Court Friday. A brief providing the legal arguments in favor of withdrawal is expected to be filed later today but the notice asserts the motion is no longer necessary. Rokita had been seeking to amend a portion of the Marion County Superior Court’s…

Rokita’s court fight against finding that he violated confidentiality takes another twist in Marion County hearing

For the first time since the Marion County Superior Court issued an order in December 2022 which found, in part, that Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita violated a state confidentiality law, attorneys representing the state’s top lawyer and Indianapolis OB/GYN Caitlin Bernard were back before a judge Tuesday morning arguing over whether the trial court could reopen the case to remove the finding against Rokita. The hearing in Bernard et al. v. Rokita, et al, 49D13-2211-MI-038101, was held in Marion County Circuit Court before Judge Amber Collins-Gebrehiwet in the Community Justice Center (above) in Indianapolis. Christopher Bartolomucci, partner at Schaerr…

Four attorneys assigned to abortion-related litigation resign from Indiana AG’s office

By Casey Smith Indiana Capital Chronicle  April 4, 2023 With key hearings scheduled in licensing and civil litigation against Indianapolis OB-GYN Dr. Caitlin Bernard this month, the Indiana Attorney General’s Office will be down four attorneys who worked on the case but have now resigned. Three of the four were section chiefs for Attorney General Todd Rokita (above). The Indiana Auditor’s Office — which is notified of personnel changes for payroll purposes — confirmed the recent departures. Rokita’s office did not respond to numerous requests for information, including resignation letters, but the attorney general himself denied that the staff resignations…

Rokita’s fight to overturn judge’s finding moves to yet another court, is set for hearing April 11

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita’s fight to overturn a trial court’s finding that he violated a state confidentiality law has been moved to another court – its third since the original complaint was filed in November 2022 – and set for a hearing April 11. Marion County Circuit Court Judge Amber Collins-Gebrehiwet is now presiding over the dispute between the attorney general and Indiana OB/GYN Caitlin Bernard over public statements Rokita (above) made about his office’s investigation into Bernard. Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch in a December 2022 order found Rokita had violated Indiana Code section 25-1-7-10(a) which…

UPDATE: ROKITA’S TIES TO PRIVATE SECTOR EXCEED THOSE OF OTHER STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIALS, REPORTS SHOW

March 16, 2022 The following report was written for The Indiana Citizen by veteran Indiana legal journalist Marilyn Odendahl. Despite the public fallout from his decision to hold onto his job with Apex Benefits after taking office, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita continues to maintain strong ties in the private sector. Rokita’s 2022 financial disclosure statement, filed in January 2023 with the Office of the Inspector General, reflects more outside interests than the statements filed by other statewide elected offices of governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, auditor and secretary of state. His statement shows he owns a consulting business that carries his…