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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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