Second-in-command becomes acting state public defender

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State Public Defender Susan Carpenter retired May 31 after nearly three decades in that position, and her chief deputy took charge of the office until the Indiana Supreme Court appoints a successor.

While a five-person committee is still reviewing and interviewing applicants to succeed Carpenter, second-in-command Bill Polansky has filled in temporarily as the administrative head of the 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing criminal appellate cases.

The Indiana Supreme Court appointed Polansky, who was admitted in 1990, on June 1. His role as acting state public defender remains in effect until the court orders otherwise.

Carpenter announced her retirement Feb. 16. She held the post for nearly 30 years. Applications for that position were due April 10, and a panel was named that month to review applications and recommend finalists to the Supreme Court for consideration.

Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan said the panel continues to review materials and interview applicants. There is no set timeline for when recommendations will be made to the court or when a permanent replacement will be named.

The panel is chaired by Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck, and other members are Valparaiso University School of Law professor Derrick Carter, Terre Haute defense attorney Jessie Cook, former Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco, and Indianapolis attorney Jimmie McMillian.


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