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Grant Superior judge steps aside

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A Grant County judge's illness has forced him from the bench temporarily, and the Indiana Supreme Court has appointed a deputy prosecutor from Marion as judge pro tempore.

Grant Superior 2 Judge Randall Lee Johnson filed a petition in mid-April that notified the state's highest court that he was unable to perform the Superior 2 duties because of illness. While details of his illness aren't outlined by the Supreme Court, Judge Johnson has been experiencing health problems for more than a year because of a mold-infestation in the historic county courthouse.

In mid-2008, the Indiana State Department of Health found mold and mildew problems in the court complex. The county relocated both Superior 2 and the juvenile court to the county office complex, and Judge Johnson had been working from home and hearing cases despite his health issues related to the mold.

Other court employees have also had health problems and the judge had temporarily closed the court in the past. County officials are still in the process of finalizing repairs or renovations for the Superior 2 location.

Judge Johnson took the bench in 2001, and his current term is set to expire at the end of 2012. Under Trial Rule 63 (B) (1), the Supreme Court granted his petition and named Marion attorney Dana Kenworthy as judge pro tempore. The high court's public information officer described that as a rare move, having to appoint a judge pro temp because of an ill-stricken judge.

A 2001 graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, Kenworthy has been a Grant County deputy prosecutor since 2001. Aside from those fulltime prosecutor duties, Kenworthy has also received recognition and awards, including the Randall T. Shepard Award for her pro bono work. She served four years as the county's pro bono committee chair and continues serving District 6, while also working to set up a mediation program for that local legal community.

The Indiana Supreme Court has not indicated how long Kenworthy will serve in that role, but her appointment began April 19 and her service remains in effect until the court orders otherwise.

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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