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Greenwood attorney is world's youngest judge

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Among the records for longest carpet of flowers laid and the world’s shortest cat you’ll soon find the name of a Johnson County attorney.

Marc L. Griffin was recently named by the Guinness World Records as the world’s youngest judge for the time he served as a township justice of the peace in Johnson County in the mid-1970s. At an age when most teens read comic books and magazines, Griffin spent time reading Indiana statutory law. He always wanted to be an attorney, so it seemed like a good thing to read. It was while reading the code that he learned more about the justice of the peace position.

After graduating high school early, Griffin decided to seek a commission to be the White River Township justice of the peace, a position that had been vacant for years. As he read the statute, all that was required was that the officeholder be an elector. The Supreme Court of the United States had just ruled that if someone would be 18 by the time of the November general election, the person could vote in the primary. Griffin would have been 18 by the time of the November 1974 election.

Against the advice of his staff and the Indiana attorney general, Gov. Otis Bowen appointed Griffin justice of the peace in early 1974. The issue even went to trial where a Circuit judge from another county ruled the attorney general was wrong in saying Griffin wasn’t old enough to hold the job. Griffin served as justice of the peace until the Legislature abolished the position Jan. 1, 1976.

During his time on the bench, Griffin married people and handled traffic tickets, domestic violence cases, and other civil issues. He even made the news when the attorney general was challenging his commission because there were concerns that all of the marriages he performed were invalid.

Griffin also had some amusing times while on the bench, due to his youthful appearance. Griffin recalled the time an Indiana state trooper phoned his home at midnight asking him to come to court so a Georgia truck driver could plead guilty to speeding and pay his fine.

“I put on my robe and got on the bench, and the truck driver is slouching around. The truck driver said ‘Sonny, you better go get your old man so I can pay this fine and get on down the road,’” Griffin recalled. “The trooper said, ‘Sir, you may want to address the court in the proper fashion or the judge could throw you in jail for contempt.’”

When his position was abolished, Griffin went to college and law school, earning a degree from Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. He’s still in Johnson County, practicing law at the Greenwood firm Griffin Hicks & Hicks, and he says he has no plans to pursue another judgeship.

His appearance in the Guinness World Records came about by chance. While researching information online for a case, Griffin stumbled across a story in the ABA Journal from December 2010 about a Texas man who held the record of youngest judge for his time on the bench at age 18. Griffin realize that he should actually hold that position, so he emailed Guinness World Records, sent in his birth certificate, commission order, and other documentation, and learned about three weeks ago that he is now considered the world’s youngest judge.

Griffin is awaiting his certificate from the GWR.
 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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