Dickson takes oath as Indiana chief justice

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Indiana Chief Justice Brent Dickson formally took the oath of office Aug. 6 before more than 300 people in the atrium of the Indiana Statehouse.

Gov. Mitch Daniels administered the oath as Dickson’s wife of 49 years, Jan Aikman Dickson, held the family Bible upon which the new chief in 1986 took the oath when he was appointed as a justice by Gov. Robert Orr. Dickson’s three adult sons and many grandchildren and family members attended.

IL_Dickson04.jpg With his wife Jan Aikman Dickson between them, Brent Dickson, right, is sworn in as Indiana chief justice by Gov. Mitch Daniels. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

“He did not seek this position, it was thrust upon him,” Daniels said of Dickson, who was officially appointed chief justice by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission in June. Daniels said he called Dickson and urged him to serve, adding that during a period of significant change on the court, “there was only one choice.”

Daniels said Dickson had served as a key member of a judicial “dream team” respected nationally for civility and intellectual jurisprudence. Under former Chief Justice Randall Shepard, Dickson and Justices Theodore Boehm, Robert Rucker and Frank Sullivan Jr. served together longer than any Supreme Court in the state’s history.

Dickson and Rucker are the lone remaining justices from that court. Justice Steven David replaced Boehm; Justice Mark Massa replaced Shepard; and Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation, Tippecanoe Superior Judge Loretta Rush, and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP partner Geoffrey Slaughter are the finalists in the running to replace Sullivan, who retired from the court Aug. 1.

“Now, we hope we’re rebuilding another dream team for the future,” Daniels said.

Dickson noted the “approaching conclusion” of a period of change for the court, noting the court should be back to five members by October.

“Your new Indiana Supreme Court intends to continue in the traditions of the recent past,” he said, as a respected body that serves as a model for courts around the country and continues to be nonpolitical. “We are determined to wage civility at every opportunity.”

Tippecanoe County Bar Association President Patricia Truitt, a longtime friend and colleague of the Dicksons, noted that she believed Dickson to be the first chief justice who attended Purdue University as an undergraduate student – the same institution Daniels will lead when he leaves office.

Truitt was among several friends and colleagues who offered remarks during Dickson’s ceremony, over which Rucker presided. Also offering remarks were Boehm, Indiana Judges Association President Judge Robyn Moberly, and Rep. Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville.•


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.