Interviews for next justice under way today

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One by one, attorneys are appearing before the seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission to explain why they should be the next Indiana Supreme Court justice.

Today is the first round of interviews for 19 of those interested in replacing Justice Theodore Boehm on the Supreme Court. Justice Boehm will retire in September. The remaining 15 people will be interviewed Wednesday.

Some applicants described being a justice as a calling, while others said they spent a lifetime preparing for this. Others described it more as the next logical step in their legal careers.

“It would be the honor of my life to be considered for this position,” said Morgan Superior Judge Jane Spencer Craney, the sixth person interviewed today.

Like her fellow applicants, Judge Craney delved into her experience as a trial judge and prosecutor, but also discussed her interest in being a community leader as the current justices are.

Indianapolis criminal defense attorney Monica Foster said being a justice would be “the coolest job you could have.” She found the 40 arguments she’s made before the high court to be the most exhilarating time of her career. She talked about her role representing the Mexican government and how she enjoys generally “testing the boundaries of the Constitution.”

Commission member John Trimble told her at one point that her “passion leaped off the page of her application.”

Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Elaine Brown is the only appellate court applicant. She went before the nominating commission less than three years ago when she applied for the Court of Appeals.

Only five years removed from private practice with both trial and appellate court experience, she described herself as a balanced “no-risk” choice. Judge Brown outlined specific goals if appointed: examining prison populations and sentencing, personal and social responsibility being taught in schools, and family law being less adversarial.

“This is not your father’s or grandfather’s Supreme Court. This is a supreme opportunity,” she said.

Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, spoke generally about his legislative experience and said he’d have a lot to learn.

“We as a society are separated from anarchy only by our ballot and jury box,” he said. “I can give back in both of those ways.”

Also interviewing this morning were Indianapolis attorney Ellen Boshkoff, Baker & Daniels; Fishers attorney Sean M. Clapp of Clapp Ferrucci; Hamilton Superior Judge Steven R. Nation; Zionsville attorney Yasmin L. Stump; and Indianapolis attorney Judy L. Woods.

Interviewing this afternoon are Clark Superior Judge Vicki L. Carmichael; Bloomington attorney Kiply Drew, associate general counsel at Indiana University; Allen Superior Judge Francis C. Gull; Lawrence County deputy prosecutor Christine Talley Haseman; Fountain Circuit Judge Susan Orr Henderson; Fort Wayne attorney Christine Marcuccilli, Rothberg Logan & Warsco; Pendleton attorney Bryce D. Owens; Taft Stettinius & Hollister attorney Geoffrey G. Slaughter; Miami Circuit Judge Robert A. Spahr; and Logansport attorney Donald J. Tribbett.

After the interviews are complete, the commission should decide on the semi-finalists and announce the names Wednesday or Thursday. The semi-finalists will be interviewed July 30, with the governor selecting the next justice from those three.  


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.