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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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