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Second-in-command becomes acting state public defender

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State Public Defender Susan Carpenter retired May 31 after nearly three decades in that position, and her chief deputy took charge of the office until the Indiana Supreme Court appoints a successor.

While a five-person committee is still reviewing and interviewing applicants to succeed Carpenter, second-in-command Bill Polansky has filled in temporarily as the administrative head of the 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing criminal appellate cases.

The Indiana Supreme Court appointed Polansky, who was admitted in 1990, on June 1. His role as acting state public defender remains in effect until the court orders otherwise.

Carpenter announced her retirement Feb. 16. She held the post for nearly 30 years. Applications for that position were due April 10, and a panel was named that month to review applications and recommend finalists to the Supreme Court for consideration.

Supreme Court Public Information Officer Kathryn Dolan said the panel continues to review materials and interview applicants. There is no set timeline for when recommendations will be made to the court or when a permanent replacement will be named.

The panel is chaired by Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck, and other members are 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.
 

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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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