Dubois Superior Judge Elaine Brown is the newest judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals.
Gov. Mitch Daniels announced this morning Judge Brown’s appointment to the state’s second highest appellate court, replacing Judge John Sharpnack who is taking senior status in May.
“This is a dream of a lifetime,” Judge Brown said, on first reaction this morning. “I’m just so extremely honored and humbled, and can’t wait to get started. It’s life-changing for me.”
The southern Indiana jurist has been on the bench for 15 years, but is only three years removed from active law practice since her judicial terms haven’t been concurrent. She is a 1982 graduate of Indiana University School of Law – Bloomington. Among her accomplishments, Judge Brown is most proud of helping to establish a successful drug court in February 2006.
Gov. Daniels chose her from three people selected late last year by the state’s Judicial Nominating Commission. In December, the commission had chosen Judge Brown, Dearborn Superior Judge G. Michael Witte, and Evansville attorney Les Shively from seven finalists. Fifteen had originally applied last fall.
Judge Brown will become one of the 15 jurists on a court responsible for more than 2,500 cases a year. The judge looks forward to using her local county experience – handling the weighted caseload of 1.5 jurists – to manage her charge of the growing appellate caseload.
The governor will be responsible for naming a replacement for the Jasper judge, whose term expires in 2010, she said.
Going to the Statehouse for the announcement this morning, Judge Brown noted that this was the fourth time she’d been there since this interview process started last fall. This time, the judge was able to smile and say “Victorious” as she walked inside, the judge said.
“You know it’s going to be life-changing, so every day that the announcement doesn’t come, it’s wearing on you,” she said, noting that she’d interviewed with the governor in late January. “It’s a fabulous feeling and makes the work you’ve done in these six months since the beginning all that more meaningful knowing that it paid off this way. This is a real honor.”