ILNews

Leadership in Law 2013: Hon. Calvin D. Hawkins

Judge, Lake Superior Court, East Chicago Howard University School of Law

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calvin-hawkins01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Staying in school is a very important issue to Lake Superior Judge Calvin D. Hawkins, so much so that he created the “It’s Cool to Stay in School” program. He raises funds for the program that encourages high school students in northwest Indiana to graduate, and many on his staff serve as volunteers. He’s been on the Lake County bench since 2007, and his rulings are often described as even-handed and solidly based in the law. Calvin makes himself available for attorneys to drop in or call for advice on handling legal matters or for counseling in life/work balance. He has been known to keep his courtroom open and work through lunch on matters such as protective orders, and lawyers visiting the courthouse have even encountered him outside picking up trash, leading some to call him “the Grime Fighter.” The judge is also an ordained minister.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Teaching on the university level.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Thurgood Marshall. When he handled cases in Southern rural counties, he was a profile in courage.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
Education. I currently head an initiative, IT’S COOL TO STAY IN SCHOOL, which gives two scholarships each year to graduating seniors. We interact with students, teachers, parents and educational administrators.

In life or law, what bugs you?
Political gamesmanship and academic dishonesty.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
The “HAWKWICH!!” Whole-wheat bread, lite mayo, lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese and Smithfield ham.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to fly.

What is the most challenging thing about being a judge?
Dealing with other judges.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“High & Lifted Up.”

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
All of them. I hated law school. That’s why I’m still in school at the University of Nevada working on a MJS degree. Go figure!

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Don’t look back!

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
Great thing!!!

Numerous TV shows center around court, lawyers and their practices. Are any of them close to realistic?
Very few.

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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