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Update: Professor who taught at Indy Law since 1977 dies

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Professor emeritus Henry C. Karlson, who taught criminal law at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis for more than 30 years, died Monday of cancer.

Karlson, 67, started teaching at the law school in 1977, and retired in 2008. He continued to teach part-time after he retired. He was also a regular expert source for various media outlets in Indiana.

Prior to joining the law school, Karlson served eight years in the U.S. Army, where he served as a trial judge in Vietnam as a member of the U.S. Army Trial Judiciary. He also taught at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1968, and LL.M. in 1977. He received his A.B. from the University of Illinois in 1965.

While at I.U. School of Law – Indianapolis, he taught criminal law, evidence, trial practice, and a seminar about child abuse.
He also co-authored a book on the subject of child abuse, wrote articles on the subject for a number of professional journals, and presented papers at more than 100 continuing legal education programs.

He was a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Association of Counsel for Children, the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the Order of the Coif, and was a former member of the Indiana Supreme Court Committee on Rules of Evidence, and the Board of Examiners of the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

“Henry Karlson was an important fixture at this law school for many years,” said Vice Dean Paul Cox, the Centennial Professor of law, in a statement the law school released.

“He was a teacher passionately dedicated to his students and passionately intent upon instilling in them dedication to the rule of law. He loved the law school, greatly contributing to its development and success. … He loved the law, greatly contributing both to its advancement and to the continuing education of the practicing bar. He was highly principled, and fearless in defending his principles. He was equally fearless in defending those he thought wronged. Henry’s passing is tragically premature. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues and his former students.”

Karlson is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughter, Elizabeth M. Karlson, who graduated from I.U. School of Law – Indianapolis in 2000; son, Henry C. Karlson III; and one grandson.

The viewing and funeral will take place Friday at Crown Hill Cemetery, 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis.  The viewing will start at 11 a.m., followed by the funeral service at 1 p.m., according to Elizabeth Allington, a spokeswoman for the law school. Instead of flowers, she added, the family has asked that donations go to the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation, 964 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, or to a cancer charity of the donor's choice.

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  • Henry Karlson
    Henry was an unforgetable professor who cared about his students. I wish I had understood half of what he said! A very accomplished and smart gentleman of the first order. I am sorry to see him go.
  • Henry Karlson
    Henry was a great Trial Advocacy professor. His passion & incisive analytical mind were inspiring to students. He was also an outspoken weirdo. I'll miss him.

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