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Former appellate court judge dies

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The Hon. Robert H. Staton, who was an Indiana appeals court judge for nearly 30 years, died July 18. He was 86.

Services will be in Indianapolis at 1 p.m. July 25 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St., with visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. July 24 at Leppert Mortuary, 740 E. 86th St.

Judge Staton was elected to the Indiana Appellate Court in 1970 – the last year in which judges were elected to serve in that role. Under a new amendment to the Indiana Constitution, that court in 1970 became the Court of Appeals of Indiana, and Staton was retained by election. He wrote more than 3,000 majority opinions before retiring from the court in 2000.

Before earning his law degree from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis in 1955, Judge Staton served in World War II with the 91st Infantry Division of the Fifth Army and was attached to the 801 Special Combat Force, which specialized in reconnaissance work behind enemy lines. He achieved the rank of major and was awarded numerous medals, including a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After law school, Staton was a deputy prosecuting attorney in Marion County, eventually holding the position of chief trial deputy prosecutor. He then entered private practice and founded the law firm of Staton & Ward.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Jane Ellen (Cox) Staton. He is survived by his two daughters who are also attorneys, Jennifer Staton Stoesz (Steven), of Carmel; and Elizabeth Staton Idleman (Scott), of Milwaukee. He has four grandchildren: Jacob Staton Stoesz, Sarah Jane Stoesz, Katherine Elizabeth Idleman, and Peter Gregory Idleman.

Memorial contributions may be made to The Honorable Robert H. Staton Intramural Moot Court Competition at IU School of Law-Indianapolis c/o IU Foundation Showalter House, PO Box 500, Bloomington, IN, 47402; or Carmel Clay Public Library Foundation, 55 4th Ave. S.E., Carmel, IN, 46032.

For more on Judge Staton, see the Aug. 3 edition of Indiana Lawyer.

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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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