One of the first women elected as a trial judge in Indiana is preparing to leave the bench after 30 years.
At the end of this year, Marion Superior Judge Patricia Gifford will hang up the robe she's worn for three decades in presiding over a court that's handled mostly felony cases. One of her most nationally recognized cases came in 1992 when she presided over the rape trial of former boxing champion Mike Tyson.
The 1968 Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis graduate has been a pioneer for women lawyers, according to her colleagues. She worked as a deputy attorney general and Marion County deputy prosecutor after law school, and she became one of the first women in the U.S. assigned to prosecute only sex offense cases. Judge Gifford became a referee for the Marion Juvenile Court in 1975 and then ran successfully for Superior Judge, taking the bench Jan. 1, 1979, and becoming the sixth woman to be elected to a Hoosier trial court.
A retirement reception is planned for Judge Gifford from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 24, at the Columbia Club in downtown Indianapolis. The event is open to the public and attendees can RSVP at (317) 327-4520. Contributions are encouraged at the door and donations also can be mailed to the Patricia Gifford Retirement Party courtesy of attorney James C. Clark of the law firm Clark Quinn Moses Scott & Grahn, One Indiana Square, Suite 2200, Indianapolis, IN 46204.