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Indiana chief justice getting national award

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Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard will receive a prestigious award from the American Judicature Society, recognizing his judicial excellence in the state.

On Wednesday, the chief justice will receive the sixth annual award named for Dwight D. Opperman, former chairman and chief executive officer of West Publishing Co. The national judicial organization announced in December that Chief Justice Shepard would receive the award, which honors state-level trial and appellate jurists for what's described as distinguished service on the bench.

A seventh-generation Hoosier and graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, Chief Justice Shepard started his judicial career in 1980 on the Vanderburgh Superior Court in Evansville. He joined the state Supreme Court in 1985, and then took the chief justice role 1987. He's authored more than 850 majority opinions in his time on the court and is recognized as a national authority on judicial ethics and legal professionalism, and has held leadership roles as president of the Conference of Chief Justices and the National Center for State Courts.

Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge John Baker nominated him, writing in his nomination letter that Chief Justice Shepard "makes those of us from Indiana proud to be Hoosiers."

Selecting the Indiana chief justice was a three-member panel including the Hon. Judith S. Kaye, former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals; California Court of Appeal Justice Ronald Robie for the Third Appellate District; and Judge Frederic Rodgers of the Gilpin Combined Courts in Colorado.

The chief justice receives his award at a lunchtime reception on the first day of the three-day spring judicial education conference that brings judges from across the state to Indianapolis.

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