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Indy magistrate gets Senate panel's approval

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An Indianapolis federal magistrate joins two of her colleagues in getting a U.S. Senate committee's approval to become an Article III judge for Indiana.

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson for a judicial opening in the Southern District of Indiana. Committee members voted today after postponing discussion and vote on March 4, when members unanimously approved two other Hoosier nominees: Jon DeGuilio for the Northern District of Indiana and Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for the Southern District of Indiana.

Ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., wanted to personally follow up with Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson before voting because he'd received a response from her the night before about questions following her Feb. 11 nomination hearing. His press office declined to elaborate on details of the meeting March 8, but the magistrate's online response showed the senator had concerns about her handling of capital cases, the death penalty, and recusal issues she's faced in the past.

If confirmed, Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson, who's been on at the federal court since 2007, would succeed U.S. Judge Larry McKinney, who took senior status in July 2009; Judge Pratt would succeed Judge David F. Hamilton, who was elevated last year to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; and DeGuilio would fill a vacancy left by Judge Allen Sharp, who died in July 2009 after almost two years of senior status.

With this approval, the three nominees - chosen by President Barack Obama in mid-January - now must get approval from the full U.S. Senate, though no timetable exists for when that might happen. It's up to Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to determine when they are brought up for discussion and a vote. The same process is in place for the nomination of Indiana University Maurer School of Law - Bloomington professor Dawn Johnsen, who received a party-line vote March 4 from the Senate committee. She was first nominated early last year and went through the confirmation process, but didn't get a vote in the full Senate and was ultimately re-nominated this year.

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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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