A former Marion Superior Court judge and Indianapolis City-County councilor died March 5 of natural causes. Judge Z. Mae Jimison was the first African-American woman to serve as judge in Marion Superior Court.
Judge Jimison, 64, served on the bench from 1996 to 2002 and spent much of that time creating and supervising Marion County’s Drug Court. In 1999, she applied to become a justice on the Indiana Supreme Court after Justice Myra C. Selby announced she would step down to return to private practice.
Following a car accident and several strokes in 2001, Jimison took medical leave for several months. When she returned, at her request she swapped her felony-court post with Judge Mark Stoner, who handled misdemeanors, because the misdemeanor court would be less stressful to run.
During her medical leave in 2001, it was discovered that three employees of Judge Jimison’s felony court were accused of destroying hundreds of documents – including pleadings, minute reports, and receipts – and were fired. According to an Aug. 29, 2001, Indiana Lawyer article, her court had chronic problems with lost files, misfiled paperwork, delayed hearings, and other missteps.
Prior to becoming a judge, Jimison, a democrat, was a City-County councilor from 1992 to 1995.
Judge Jimison graduated from Ohio State University Law School, now the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in 1977; she’d received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University.
She is survived by sons Robert and Willard, both of Indianapolis.