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State’s chief public defender retiring after 30 years

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Indiana Public Defender Susan K. Carpenter is retiring in May after almost 30 years in that position, the state’s highest court announced today.

The Indiana Supreme Court appointed Carpenter as state public defender in October 1981, serving as defense counsel to indigent prison inmates challenging convictions and sentences. During her tenure, the office has tripled in size and developed what the court describes as a well-respected reputation statewide and nationally.

A graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Carpenter has been practicing since 1976. She began her legal career as a Wayne County public defender and then as a deputy state public defender before being appointed as the chief defender.

In 2000, she received the Indiana Bar Association’s Achievement Award. She currently serves on the court’s Commission on Race and Gender Fairness and the Indiana Public Defender Commission, as well as the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Board of Trustees.

Carpenter described it as an “honor and privilege” to serve in the state public defender's office and points to the historical significance of the office, noting the state’s establishment of the right to counsel on capital cases since 1854 and the Indiana Supreme Court in 1883 becoming one of the first nationally to establish post-conviction remedies.

Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said that Carpenter’s ability to be both zealous and elegant has allowed her to do one of the toughest jobs in government and that has made Indiana a place of greater justice.

With Carpenter's retirement effective in about three months, the court has not yet finalized its process to appoint a successor. Court spokeswoman Kathryn Dolan said those details will be announced soon.

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

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  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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