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Court hasn't chosen new state public defender

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State Public Defender Susan Carpenter retires Tuesday after nearly three decades in that position, and no decision has been made as to who will succeed her.

While a five-person committee continues reviewing and interviewing applicants to succeed Carpenter, Indiana Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan said the court has not decided whether it will name someone in the interim.

That means the Indiana State Public Defender’s Office will be without a clear administrative leader for the first time in 30 years, since Carpenter took that role in October 1981.

“The court is considering how to proceed and is being thoughtful and careful in deciding what happens next,” Dolan said. “The office moves forward regardless, it’s not going to come to a halt.”

The court is taking a different approach than it has with other court agencies and offices that have recently found themselves temporarily without a leader. The court named interim leaders for the Indiana Board of Law Examiners and Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission when those administrative positions were vacated. The second-in-command at the Disciplinary Commission took over as executive sectary for about five months until the court named G. Michael Witte to the position in May 2010, and Dave Remondini in the Division of State Court Administration has been the interim BLE director for about six months after Linda Loepker left in early December. A search remains ongoing, with more than 90 people applying for that post.

The chief state deputy public defender could take over that office’s administrative role, but Carpenter said it would be up to the court to decide whether that would happen or if it would make an interim appointment. She said she understands the search is moving along quickly.

Carpenter announced her retirement Feb. 16, and applications for that position were due April 10. A five-person panel was named in April to review those applications and recommend an unspecified number of finalists to the Supreme Court for consideration.

Dolan said the panel continues to review applications and interview applicants. The panel is chaired by Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck. 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. McMillian also chairs the board of directors of the Marion County Public Defender Agency.

Dolan said no deadline currently exists for the justices to make a decision.

The state public defender is the administrative head of a 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing cases, including two capital cases.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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