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Bentley: Darden honored for impact, influence on legal community

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Indiana Lawyer Commentary

By Cassandra A. Bentley

On September 14, 2012, the Marion County Bar Association hosted a retirement dinner in honor of Judge Carr L. Darden, who retired as a full-time appellate judge from the Indiana Court of Appeals on his 75th birthday, July 21, 2012. The event was held at the downtown Indianapolis Marriott and included dinner, musical entertainment and remarks from several individuals to whom Judge Darden has served as a colleague, mentor, family member and friend.

The dinner was attended by more than 230 guests, including judges and attorneys from the Indiana legal community, as well as many of Judge Darden’s family and friends. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Judge Carr L. Darden and Mrs. Lundy Darden Public Sector Legal Education Scholarship Fund, a recently established scholarship at Judge Darden’s alma mater, the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
 

darden-mcba-15col.jpg Lundy Darden dances with her husband, Judge Carr Darden, at the retirement dinner held in his honor by the Marion County Bar Association Sept. 14, 2012. (Photo/James Carey)

Masters of ceremony for the celebration were the Hon. Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, and her husband, attorney Marcel A. Pratt Jr. Several speakers gave remarks about the impact that Judge Darden has made in the Indianapolis legal community and beyond, including fellow Indiana Court of Appeals judge, the Hon. James Kirsch; past president of the Indiana State Bar Association, Roderick Morgan; president of the Indianapolis Bar Association, Scott Chinn; attorney Wandini Riggins, former law clerk for Judge Darden; daughter Bellary Darden-Davis; and past chair of the MCBA board of directors Nathaniel Lee. Following dinner and remarks, guests joined Judge Darden in one of his favorite activities, dancing, with music provided by disc jockey Norman Reed, attorney at law. Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to record video messages to Judge Darden to express their appreciation and well wishes.

Among the distinguished guests were current and former judges, including Chief Justice Brent Dickson and Justice Steven David, Indiana Supreme Court; Chief Judge Margret Robb and Judges Mark Bailey, John Baker, Paul Mathias and Patricia Riley, Indiana Court of Appeals; Judge John Tinder, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals; Magistrate Judges Denise K. LaRue and Tim Baker, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; Justice Myra Selby, Indiana Supreme Court (retired); Judge John Christ, Marion Superior Court (retired); Judge Annie Christ-Garcia, Marion Superior Court; Judge John M. Sedia, Lake Superior Court; Judge Roland Chamblee, St. Joseph Superior Court; Judge Stanley Levine, Allen County Superior Court; Administrative Law Judge Noell Allen; Judge Ricardo Rivera; and Judge Maxine King.

Judge Darden has been a valuable member of the Indianapolis legal community for over 40 years. He was named to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Evan Bayh in October 1994, and was only the second African-American to serve on that court. Judge Darden formerly served as a presiding judge in the Marion Superior Court and the Marion Municipal Court systems. He also served as the chief deputy state public defender of Indiana. Following his retirement, Judge Darden was appointed senior judge on the Court of Appeals by the Indiana Supreme Court on July 24, 2012.

Judge Darden is a lifetime member of the MCBA, the National Bar Association, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He is also a member of the American Bar Association, the ISBA, and the IBA, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. Judge Darden has been honored twice as a Sagamore of the Wabash, Indiana’s highest distinguished citizen award. In July 2012, the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Opportunity Program announced that its summer institute would be renamed the “Carr L. Darden CLEO Summer Intern Program” in his honor.

To give back to the legal community, Judge Darden and his wife of 57 years, Lundy Darden, established the scholarship fund at I.U. McKinney School of Law in July 2012. The scholarship will be awarded to students at the law school who have demonstrated an interest in state and local government and pursuing careers in public service. Donations to the scholarship may be made through the Indiana University Foundation at the I.U. McKinney School of Law, and contributions should be designated to go to the Darden Public Sector Legal Education Scholarship Fund.

Judge Darden has been an invaluable member of the MCBA for several decades. He served as a longtime member of the board of directors and has provided guidance and mentoring to countless young lawyers in the Indianapolis community. He has always had an open door to the members of the bar association and continues to advise the board whenever he is called upon for additional guidance. The MCBA is eternally grateful to Judge Darden for his instrumental role in the growth and development of the organization and its members and wishes him well as he transitions into the next chapter of his legal career.

The MCBA was founded in 1925 as an association for African-American attorneys who, until 1952, were excluded from the ABA and other majority bars. Today, the MCBA continues to serve as an organization dedicated to addressing the needs of all minority attorneys through mentoring, education, community service and activism, and the furtherance of diversity in the Indianapolis legal community.•

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Cassandra A. Bentley is a law clerk for the Hon. Magistrate Judge Mark Dinsmore at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. She also serves on the board of directors of the MCBA and the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program committee.

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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