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Screening panel named in Public Defender search

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Indiana Supreme Court has named a five-person panel to lead the search for a new state public defender. The panel will review and narrow the pool of applicants, creating a short list for the justices to consider. The person chosen will succeed longtime public defender Susan Carpenter, who is retiring in May.

Committee members are Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck as chair, Valparaiso University School of Law professor Derrick Carter, Terre Haute defense attorney Jessie Cook, former Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Stan Levco, and Indianapolis attorney Jimmie McMillian who chairs the Marion County Public Defender Commission.

The deadline for applications was April 10. A count was not available by IL deadline, but court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said the number of applicants could help determine the eventual timing of the hiring process. The justices hope they can make a decision by the end of June, Dolan said, but no deadline has been set. Dolan said the court hasn’t discussed how it will handle appointing an interim public defender if justices don’t select a candidate by the end of May when Carpenter retires.

This process is operating somewhat differently than the ongoing search for a new Board of Law Examiners executive director, following the former leader’s sudden departure late last year. The BLE board continues interviewing and reviewing applicants to narrow the list of more than 91 who applied by mid-February. No deadline has been set to complete that process either, Dolan said.•

Rehearing "Chief pubilc defender retiring after 30 years" IL March 2-15, 2011

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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