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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. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  2. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

  3. So this firebrand GOP Gov was set free by a "unanimous Supreme Court" , a court which is divided, even bitterly, on every culture war issue. WHAT A RESOUNDING SLAP in the Virginia Court's face! How bad must it have been. And all the journalists, lap dogs of the status quo they are, can do is howl that others cannot be railroaded like McDonald now??? Cannot reflect upon the ruining of Winston and Julia's life and love? (Oh I forget, the fiction at this Ministry of Truth is that courts can never err, and when they do, and do greatly, as here, why then it must be ignored, since it does not compute.)

  4. My daughter is a addict and my grandson was taken by DCS and while in hospital for overdose my daughter was told to sign papers from DCS giving up her parental rights of my grandson to the biological father's mom and step-dad. These people are not the best to care for him and I was never called or even given the chance to take him, but my daughter had given me guardianship but we never went to court to finalize the papers. Please I have lost my daughter and I dont want to lose my grandson as well. I hope and look forward to speaking with you God Bless and Thank You for all of your help

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