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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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