Judge is a fan of Johnny Carson

November 16, 2011
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I am about to show my age: I had to do a Google search to find out who Carnac is.

In an opinion handed down Wednesday by the Indiana Court of Appeals, Judge Michael Barnes concurred with a brief separate opinion in a case involving an inverse condemnation claim.

“I write to concur in full and to acknowledge the precedent our supreme court articulated in State v. Kimco of Evansville, Inc., 902 N.E.2d 206 (Ind. 2009). As the author of the Court of Appeals decision reversed by that opinion, one does not have to be Carnac to realize I disagree. However, our supreme court has spoken, and I concur,” wrote Barnes.

I thought “Who or what is Carnac?” I figured it had to be something well known enough for it to stand alone in the opinion, but it wasn’t ringing a bell with me. Thankfully, Google told me that it’s Carnac the Magnificent, a character Johnny Carson would play on his TV show (unless Barnes was referring to Carnac stones, but I bet they don’t psychically determine answers from sealed envelopes).

Once I learned it was a reference to the Tonight Show skit, I realized that I did know who Carnac is, I just didn’t know his name. In my defense, the show went off the air before I was allowed to stay up that late.

I like seeing judges interject a bit of their personality into their writings – it breaks up the monotony of the legal language and gives you a glimpse of who they possibly are off the bench. I deduced two things from Barnes’ writing – he watched (or at least is familiar enough with) the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and he has a sense of humor in showing how he feels about the Supreme Court’s reversal of his decision.
 

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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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