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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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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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