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Evansville bar names Gresham award winner

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The Evansville Bar Association presented the James Bethel Gresham Freedom Award to Vanderburgh Circuit Judge Carl A. Heldt on April 29 at its annual Law Day dinner. To be considered for the award – the highest honor bestowed by the bar association – a member of the legal community must nominate the recipient. On Judge Heldt’s nomination form, a peer wrote, “Judge Heldt is the most honest, caring, hard-working, community-minded, well-respected man that I know.”

Judge Heldt has been the Vanderburgh Circuit Court judge since 1998. Prior to becoming a judge, he was in private practice for 29 years. The Evansville native served in the Indiana National Guard from 1970 to 1975 and has been an assistant city attorney, deputy prosecutor, and an assistant county attorney.

In late 2007, Judge Heldt was instrumental in obtaining approval to create the Family Law Clinic for Self-Represented Litigants. Funded by the Supreme Court and operated by the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana, the clinic assists low-income family law litigants to select, complete, and properly file necessary pleadings.  

Judge Heldt is currently the co-chair of the Evansville Bar Association Diversity Committee. Through this, he is involved in promoting diversity in Evansville’s legal community. He is also the current president of the John L. Sanders Memorial – Evansville Bar Foundation.
 
Other qualities cited in his nomination for the award include his dedication to mentoring young lawyers, his service to the community, and his charitable giving.

“Judge is very generous in his charitable giving,” his nominator wrote. “However, no one knows how much he donates each year because he strongly believes that you should donate for the good of the cause and not to receive recognition.”

The EBA established the James Bethel Gresham Freedom Award to recognize and honor people who have distinguished themselves in activities or careers that have elevated respect for the law, promoted freedom, or otherwise furthered the ideals that Law Day upholds and celebrates. The award is named in honor of James Bethel Gresham, who lived in Evansville from 1901 to 1914 and is believed to have been the first American soldier to die in combat during World War I.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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