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Longtime Madison County judge dies

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A longtime Madison County judge died suddenly Wednesday. Judge David W. Hopper, 60, had served as a jurist for a total of 28 years. He spent 22 years as judge of Madison County Courts Division 1 and Superior Court 4. Perhaps his legacy in Madison County will be most felt through his work in the Madison County Drug Court Program.

Madison Superior Judge Dennis Carroll, who had known Judge Hopper since they both took the bench in 1981, said there are a number of legacies in the county as a result of Judge Hopper but the one he was most proud of was drug court.

"His temperament, his style, his empathy, his personality was so well-suited for a problem-solving court like drug court," Judge Carroll said. "He was really able to shine in that environment."

Many graduates of the drug court literally owe their lives to Judge Hopper and many people in Madison County think of him as the drug court judge.

Judge Hopper was first elected in 1980 in Madison County; when he lost an election and was out of office for six years, he worked as Hamilton County Circuit Court Master Commissioner until he was re-elected to the bench in Madison County.

Originally a teacher, Judge Hopper graduated from Indiana University School of Law in 1978. At one time, he was a regular lecturer at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nev., said Judge Carroll. In 2006, he was named the Indiana Correctional Association Judge of the Year. According to his election Web site, Judge Hopper resolved more than 70,000 cases in his time on the bench.

Judge Hopper had just become the chief justice of the county courts this year, which will now revert back to Judge Carroll, who was chief justice last year.

Judge Hopper was also active in his community and church. He was a "gentleman farmer," according to Judge Carroll and would take the week off of the 4-H Fair in Madison County. He also was a leader and deacon at his church.

He is survived by his wife, Durenda Sue Hopper; mother and stepfather, Cathy and Ralph Carlton; sons Hugh David Hopper and Andrew Hopper; four brothers and one sister; three grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. March 1 at Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Service, 229 S. Rangeline Road, Anderson, and one hour prior to the March 2 service at Bethany Christian Church, 1920 N. Rangeline Road, Anderson; services begin at 1 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be made to Jail Ministry Chaplaincy Program, Madison County 4-H Association, Fall Creek Christian Church, or Milligan College.

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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