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Newly elected judge shot in northern Indiana

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A northern Indiana deputy prosecutor and soon-to-be LaPorte Superior judge was shot in her home late Monday night.

Jennifer Evans, 34, remains hospitalized but is expected to fully recover, according to LaPorte County Prosecutor Robert Beckman.

About 11:45 p.m. Monday, the LaPorte Police and Fire Departments and emergency services responded to her townhouse development on the city's southwest side, news accounts say. The LaPorte Police Department directed questions to Beckman, who didn't return phone calls from Indiana Lawyer this morning, but he told local media that he wouldn't comment on specifics. He declined to say if anyone has been arrested or if there are any suspects, the reports state.

Evans has been practicing in Indiana since November 1999 and has a practice in Michigan City, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys. She's been with the prosecutor's office for about nine years and has taken on some of the county's biggest trials, including the July murder trial of Kathy Phillips, who jurors ultimately found not guilty of killing a baby girl, whose body was found in a field near Phillips' LaPorte home.

Voters chose Evans in November to succeed Lake Superior 3 Judge Paul Baldoni, who's been on the bench since 1976 and is retiring. The judge said Evans had been coming into his office in recent weeks to prepare for her new duties, and he'd most recently seen her at the holiday gathering last week. He heard about the news Tuesday morning from a fellow judge.

"This just takes your breath away," he said. "It was like someone kicked us in the stomach, and it's shocking us to tears. We all know her and are just physically sick about it."

He's comforted by the expectation that Evans will fully recover, and the judge still plans to be able to swear her in as his successor Dec. 31 - even if that means doing it in a hospital room, he said.

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  1. Indianapolis Bar Association President John Trimble and I are on the same page, but it is a very large page with plenty of room for others to join us. As my final Res Gestae article will express in more detail in a few days, the Great Recession hastened a fundamental and permanent sea change for the global legal service profession. Every state bar is facing the same existential questions that thrust the medical profession into national healthcare reform debates. The bench, bar, and law schools must comprehensively reconsider how we define the practice of law and what it means to access justice. If the three principals of the legal service profession do not recast the vision of their roles and responsibilities soon, the marketplace will dictate those roles and responsibilities without regard for the public interests that the legal profession professes to serve.

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