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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. It appears the police and prosecutors are allowed to change the rules halfway through the game to suit themselves. I am surprised that the congress has not yet eliminated the right to a trial in cases involving any type of forensic evidence. That would suit their foolish law and order police state views. I say we eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes committed by members of congress and other government employees. Of course they would never do that. They are all corrupt cowards!!!

  2. Poor Judge Brown probably thought that by slavishly serving the godz of the age her violations of 18th century concepts like due process and the rule of law would be overlooked. Mayhaps she was merely a Judge ahead of her time?

  3. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

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  5. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

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