Senate committee advances bill to raise judges’ retirement age

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A proposal to raise the mandatory retirement age for appellate judges from 75 to 80 narrowly advanced in the Indiana General Assembly Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on a 5-4 vote forwarded Senate Bill 12 to the full Senate. The measure is authored by Sens. James Buck, R-Kokomo, and Earline Rogers, D-Gary.

Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, was among those who voted against the measure. Head, 46, said the longer judges stay on the appellate bench, the fewer rare opportunities there are for younger attorneys and judges to serve on the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court.

“I always feel sorry for your generation,” deadpanned Bedford Republican and  committee chairman Brent Steele in response to Head’s concerns. Steele, 67, cast the deciding vote in favor of the bill.

A similar measure proposed by Buck in 2013 passed the Senate but stalled in the House of Representatives.

Any change in the current mandatory retirement age likely may apply only to future judges appointed to the Court of Appeals and future Indiana Supreme Court justices. Article 7, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution says an appellate judge “shall retire at the age specified by statute in effect at the commencement of his current term.”



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