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Dickson: ‘Time is right’ to step down as chief justice

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Saying “the time is right for this transition,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson announced Wednesday he would relinquish his leadership of the state Supreme Court but will remain as an associate justice until he faces mandatory retirement in just over two years.

The Judicial Nominating Commission will select the next chief justice and has scheduled public interviews Aug. 6 with Justices Steven David, Mark Massa, Robert Rucker and Loretta Rush to determine who will succeed Dickson.

Dickson expects to step down from his leadership role sometime before Sept. 1, according to a statement from the court.

“It has been a great joy and a privilege to have helped continue the Court’s tradition of excellence — especially with four hard-working colleagues who are devoted to the law,” Dickson said in a statement. “I am looking forward to being able to spend most of my time in legal research, deciding cases, and writing opinions.”

Dickson has led the court since May 2012, when he succeeded the state’s longest-serving chief justice, Randall Shepard. “Knowing that my tenure as chief justice was limited, each associate justice has actively participated in much of the administrative responsibilities and decisions of the office of chief justice,” Dickson said.

“The time is right for this transition.  The court and state will be well served when one of my colleagues is selected as the next chief justice.”

Gov. Mike Pence saluted Dickson, saying he “has served our state well for the last two years as the head of our state’s highest court, and has brought his outstanding legal expertise and practical judgment to bear throughout his 28 years as a member of the court.  I know him to be a man of great faith, and I applaud his long-standing commitment to public service in the legal system and look forward to his continued wisdom as he remains on the court.”

As chair of the seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission, Dickson will have a say in who succeeds him on the court. The commission also includes three lawyers elected by attorneys and three lay members appointed by the governor. There are two members appointed by Pence and one filling the remainder of a term who was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Dickson was selected in 1986 as the 100th justice appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court. His former colleague on the high court, Frank Sullivan Jr., said Dickson's modest and inclusive approach has been appreciated by the many judges, lawyers and citizens with whom he has had contact.

“I am pleased that Chief Justice Dickson will remain a member of the Supreme Court," said Sullivan, now a professor at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.  "During his long tenure – indeed, the second longest tenure of any Indiana Supreme Court justice in history – he has authored some of the most important and far-reaching opinions of the court.  The breadth and strength of the court’s decisions will benefit from his continued efforts."

Among the major initiatives during his tenure as chief justice, Dickson expanded efforts to bring the court’s trial court technology system to all Indiana courts, revitalized the use of volunteer attorneys to provide civil legal aid to the needy, and initiated the reform of Indiana’s pre-trial release system to enhance public safety, reduce taxpayer expense and provide greater fairness.

 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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