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Screening panel named in Public Defender search

April 13, 2011

The Indiana Supreme Court has named a five-person panel to lead the search for a new state public defender. The panel will review and narrow the pool of applicants, creating a short list for the justices to consider. The person chosen will succeed longtime public defender Susan Carpenter, who is retiring in May.

Committee members are Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck as chair, 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 who chairs the Marion County Public Defender Commission.

The deadline for applications was April 10. A count was not available by IL deadline, but court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said the number of applicants could help determine the eventual timing of the hiring process. The justices hope they can make a decision by the end of June, Dolan said, but no deadline has been set. Dolan said the court hasn’t discussed how it will handle appointing an interim public defender if justices don’t select a candidate by the end of May when Carpenter retires.

This process is operating somewhat differently than the ongoing search for a new Board of Law Examiners executive director, following the former leader’s sudden departure late last year. The BLE board continues interviewing and reviewing applicants to narrow the list of more than 91 who applied by mid-February. No deadline has been set to complete that process either, Dolan said.•

Rehearing "Chief pubilc defender retiring after 30 years" IL March 2-15, 2011

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