Prominent family law attorney dies

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A well-known and longtime family law attorney in Indianapolis died July 7 at the age of 80.

James A. Buck ran a prominent family law practice in Indianapolis, where he successfully tried a number of precedent-setting cases. Buck was also the expert handicapper in the trial to determine whether pari-mutuel betting on horse races was “sport” or “gambling.”

Darryn L. Duchon, a family law attorney who’s worked with Buck since 1987, said the family law community and the general legal community will miss him.

“Jim had a really good personality in that he could talk to the courts and had a presence about himself that made him a great litigator,” Duchon said. “He had a balance between being funny and serious and being effective, and it made him a great attorney.”

Duchon said Buck was working part-time and came into the office a few weeks ago while Duchon was on vacation. He said Buck was walking his dog and lost consciousness and medical workers were unable to revive him.

Besides his family law practice, Buck served as chairman of family law for Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, commissioner for Marion County Probate Court, counsel and legal deputy for the Marion County Sheriff and many other positions. Outside of the legal world, he was the “Coin Columnist” for the Indianapolis Star newspaper for 25 years and loved sharing stories and jokes with people he and his dog, Barney, met during their many walks.

He earned his law degree from Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis in 1959 and his undergraduate degree from Butler University in 1951. He served his country as a captain and paratrooper in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star.

He is survived by his wife Jeri, daughter Cheryl (Ken) Carpenter; son Jeff (Greta) Buck; and several grandchildren. Visitation is today from 4 to 8 p.m. at Flanner Buchanan Funeral Center in Broad Ripple. Funeral services will be held there at 10 a.m. Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to American Diabetes Association.


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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.