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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.