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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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