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Circuit judge relocating chambers to Maurer School of Law

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In a rare move that may be used in only one other jurisdiction nationally, Judge David F. Hamilton on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago plans to relocate his chambers from the Indianapolis courthouse where he’s from to the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington.

Since taking the appellate bench in November, Judge Hamilton has kept his chambers in the Southern District of Indiana. But space has become tight in the federal courthouse in Indianapolis and forced Judge Hamilton to reconsider his chambers there.

In an announcement today, the law school and Judge Hamilton said the arrangement is expected to give law students first-hand exposure to the judicial system and be a learning opportunity in both directions.

“It is unusual, and a little complicated as a result,” Judge Hamilton said. “This building is getting crowded enough and it became clear that I’d have to move out of this courthouse, at least. In theory, I could have disrupted and displaced others in this building. But that’s disruptive and unnecessary, and not in the best interest for the District Court, so we were looking at other options.”

Judge Hamilton travels to Chicago about twice a month, usually for three days a time, but lives closer to Bloomington where the law school is located, he said. Federal court policy dictated that he consider courthouse space first if it was available, but this became a possibility because of Judge Hamilton’s and his wife’s roots.

An emeritus member of the Board of Visitors who’s taught a federal court clinic and also served on the school’s Center for Constitutional Democracy, Judge Hamilton credits the idea to his wife, Inge Van der Cruysse, who’s a graduate and former development officer at IU Maurer School of Law. She first mentioned it last year, and the judge began exploring it with his longtime friend Dean Lauren Robel, who he’d clerked with at the 7th Circuit in the early 1980s.

Both the federal government and law school have been working out the logistical and operational details, he said. Judge Hamilton expects the move will be complete by the end of 2010, and he’s working with the law school to explore ways that everyone can most benefit from his experience and judicial work.

“People who say this job is isolating are absolutely right,” Judge Hamilton said. “So I’m looking forward to having a law school office, where I can be some sort of member of the law school community.”

The experience will also be beneficial for his law clerks, who will have the chance to attend law school lectures and events and be able to participate there – particularly for those clerks who’ve graduated from the law school or undergraduate programs, he said.

IU Maurer School of Law officials couldn’t immediately verify how rare this type of arrangement is, but it appears to only be used in one other Circuit jurisdiction throughout the country: the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, where two appellate judges relocated their chambers to space at Yale Law School. Those two are Judges Ralph Winter and Guido Calabresi, both now serving in senior capacities.
 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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