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Retiring justice to join Indy dispute resolution firm

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Justice Theodore R. Boehm marked his departure from the Indiana Supreme Court today with a celebratory retirement ceremony, using that event to announce that he’ll not only be senior judging at the appellate and trial levels but that he’s joining Van Winkle Baten Rimstidt Dispute Resolution in Indianapolis as an arbitrator and mediator.

More than 200 people gathered for the retirement ceremony inside the Indiana Supreme Court’s ornate third-floor courtroom at the Statehouse, saying goodbye to a justice who’s been on the court since 1996. The governor made remarks, as did several others from the legal community, including representatives from the Indiana State Bar Association and Indiana Judges Association. New Justice-designee Steven David, who wraps up his duties as a Boone Circuit judge and begins on the Supreme Court Oct. 18, attended the ceremony.

“Ted Boehm has found appropriate ways to be of this community and of this entire state community,” Gov. Mitch Daniels said. “We’re so fortunate that he came our way. That a person of this degree of talent was willing to lend and invest in year after year, chapter after chapter, in diversity of ways to the like we haven’t seen. He’s been a major part in establishment of a national reputation that Indiana has as fine a Supreme Court as the country knows. He leaves to his successor and to his colleagues a very, very high target in order to maintain that stellar reputation.”

Indianapolis Bar Association president Christine Hickey thanked Justice Boehm for his service on the court and his past work that’s included serving as president of the local bar association. She announced that the IBA is commissioning a biography to preserve his judicial legacy for future generations.

His four colleagues on the court gave Justice Boehm a parting gift of a 3 wood golf club, with the 104 TRB engraved, honoring his status as the state’s 104th justice.

In his goodbye speech, Justice Boehm noted that he’d be taking on the role of arbitrator, mediator, and “perhaps a few other roles” at the Indianapolis-based ADR firm, which was founded in 1995 and describes itself as the state’s first and oldest ADR-devoted firm. The retiring justice joins two others from the bench – former Marion Superior Judge David Rimstidt and former Hancock Superior Judge Richard Payne.

Justice Boehm also said he didn’t plan to vanish from the public arena; he said his past 14 years in state government have given him some perspective of issues that need addressing. He criticized the many duplicative government services noted in the Kernan-Shepard report on local government reforms, and he also criticized the current judicial-selection slating system in Marion County that he described as “a scheme that purports to place the selection in the hands of voters but in practical effect leaves it under the control of a few party officials.”

“There are several pernicious results, not the least of which is the judges become a vehicle for raising funds for political parties,” Justice Boehm said. “Despite widespread derision, even ridicule of this system, few in government have the will to challenge it.”

Before convening the ceremony for a reception, Justice Boehm made a point to answer the age-old universal question about what judges and justices wear beneath the black robes. He unzipped the robe and to applause and laughter, revealed his attire underneath: an Indiana Pacers jersey of No. 33 player Danny Granger.
 

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