ILNews

Governor names new Court of Appeals judge

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Dubois Superior Judge Elaine Brown is the newest judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Gov. Mitch Daniels announced this morning Judge Brown's appointment to the state's second highest appellate court, replacing Judge John Sharpnack who is taking senior status in May.

"This is a dream of a lifetime," Judge Brown said, on first reaction this morning. "I'm just so extremely honored and humbled, and can't wait to get started. It's life-changing for me."

The southern Indiana jurist has been on the bench for 15 years, but is only three years removed from active law practice since her judicial terms haven't been concurrent. She is a 1982 graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington. Among her accomplishments, Judge Brown is most proud of helping to establish a successful drug court in February 2006.

Gov. Daniels chose her from three people selected late last year by the state's Judicial Nominating Commission. In December, the commission had chosen Judge Brown, Dearborn Superior Judge G. Michael Witte, and Evansville attorney Les Shively from seven finalists. Fifteen had originally applied last fall.

Judge Brown will become one of the 15 jurists on a court responsible for more than 2,500 cases a year. The judge looks forward to using her local county experience - handling the weighted caseload of 1.5 jurists - to manage her charge of the growing appellate caseload.

The governor will be responsible for naming a replacement for the Jasper judge, whose term expires in 2010, she said.

Going to the Statehouse for the announcement this morning, Judge Brown noted that this was the fourth time she'd been there since this interview process started last fall. This time, the judge was able to smile and say "Victorious" as she walked inside, the judge said.

"You know it's going to be life-changing, so every day that the announcement doesn't come, it's wearing on you," she said, noting that she'd interviewed with the governor in late January. "It's a fabulous feeling and makes the work you've done in these six months since the beginning all that more meaningful knowing that it paid off this way. This is a real honor."
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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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