ILNews

Judge suspended for 60 days, no pay

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The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended Marion Superior Judge Grant W. Hawkins from the bench for 60 days without pay, though two justices wanted a yearlong penalty while two others wanted a month suspension.

An order came just before 5 p.m. Wednesday in In the matter of the Hon. Grant. W. Hawkins,  No. 49S00-0804-JD-157, ending the almost yearlong disciplinary action that came to light because a wrongfully convicted man sat in prison for nearly two years after DNA evidence cleared him of a rape.

Starting Thursday, the judge who's been presiding over Criminal Division 5 since Janaury 2001 begins his 60-day suspension. He's been temporarily suspended since Nov. 25, but has been earning his state-set $125,647 annual salary.

A three-judge panel and the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications recommended his removal last year, stemming from the April 2008 charges that his lack of court supervision resulted in case delays. The judge's former commissioner, Nancy Broyles, was also charged but resigned last year and has been permanently banned from the bench.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and Justice Frank Sullivan wanted a yearlong suspension without pay based on the serious nature of the case and the recommendation for removal, while Justice Ted Boehm felt a 30-day suspension was appropriate since the trial judge didn't intentionally do anything wrong. Justice Robert D. Rucker concurred with the lesser sentence, and Justice Brent Dickson wrote a paragraph of his own saying the 60-day suspension was an appropriate middleground that balances his fellow justices' disagreement, the removal recommendation, and the 105 days Judge Hawkins had already been off the bench.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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