ILNews

Superior judge steps aside because of illness

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2010
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A Grant County judge's illness has forced him from the bench temporarily, and the Indiana Supreme Court has appointed a deputy prosecutor from Marion as judge pro tempore.

Grant Superior 2 Judge Randall Lee Johnson filed a petition earlier this week that notified the state's highest court that he was unable to perform Superior Court 2 duties because of illness. While details of his illness aren't outlined by the Supreme Court, Judge Johnson has been experiencing health problems for more than a year because of mold infestation in the county's historic courthouse.

In mid-2008, the Indiana State Department of Health found mold and mildew problems in the court complex. The county relocated both Superior 2 and the juvenile court to the county office complex, and Judge Johnson had been working from home and hearing cases despite health issues related to the mold. Other court employees have also had health problems and the judge has temporarily closed the court in the past. County officials are still in the process of finalizing repairs or renovations for the Superior 2 location.

Judge Johnson took the bench in 2001, and his current term is set to expire at the end of 2012. Under Trial Rule 63 (B)(1), the Supreme Court granted his petition and named Marion attorney Dana Kenworthy as judge pro tempore. The high court's public information officer described that as a rare move, having to appoint a judge pro tem because of illness.

A 2001 graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, Kenworthy has been a Grant County deputy prosecutor since 2001. Aside from those full-time prosecutor duties, Kenworthy has also received recognition and awards, including the Randall T. Shepard Award, for her pro bono work. She served four years as the county's pro bono committee chair and continues serving District 6, while also working to set up a mediation program in her community.

The Indiana Supreme Court has not indicated how long Kenworthy will serve in that role, but her appointment takes effect Monday and her service remains in effect until the court orders otherwise.
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  1. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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