David Powell, head of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, said Levco’s reputation as a fearless and diligent prosecutor with a talent for translating complicated evidence into a narrative that a jury can understand has won him respect from his peers.
“There are prosecutors all over this state who’ve helped him with research on this case, without getting paid for any of that extra work,” Powell said. “He can pick up the phone, call them at any time of the day or night and they’ll answer. That’s how much they respect him.”
Kammen has handled more than a dozen federal and state death-penalty trials, including a 2010 case in which he persuaded a jury to spare the life of a Michigan man convicted of gunning down an armored guard during a bank heist. In another case, he won an acquittal for a defendant whose earlier death penalty conviction had been overturned.
Kammen, who started practicing law in 1971, also has expertise in defending white-collar criminals in federal court. But his expertise in murder cases is what lead to what may be his highest profile case: In 2011, he was appointed to defend accused war criminal Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Guantanamo Bay detainee charged with masterminding the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole battleship that killed 17 sailors and wounded 40 others. The case has yet to go to trial.
Joel Schumm, who teaches who teaches at Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, said Kammen has built a national reputation for taking on tough cases.
“He’s certainly one of the best known, most respected criminal defense lawyer in Indiana and beyond,” said Schumm.
The final work on the Camm trial begins Monday, with Levco and Kammen set to deliver final arguments. The case is expected to go the jury Monday afternoon.
Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org