Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Ezra Friedlander will retire in August, the court announced Monday, about a year-and-a-half before he would have faced mandatory retirement.
A statement from the court says Friedlander submitted his resignation to Gov. Mike Pence, effective Aug. 31. In his letter to the governor, Friedlander wrote, “It is my hope that I have been of valuable service to the citizens of the State of Indiana. I personally value having been able to be of service to the citizens of our State.”
Friedlander will turn 75 – the mandatory retirement age for Indiana appellate judges – in December 2016. His retirement will come in his 50th year in the practice of law, a career that has included more than 22 years on the appellate bench. Friedlander has indicated that he plans to seek senior judge status.
“I thought 50 years was a good time,” Friedlander said. “When you’ve done something for 50 years, it’s a good milestone.”
Friedlander was appointed by Gov. Evan Bayh and joined the Court of Appeals in January 1993. He was retained by election in 1996 and 2006. He has written 3,000 majority opinions and voted on more than 6,000 other cases. He said his career highlights include the opportunity to work with the court’s outstanding members past and present, and with the Indiana Supreme Court. He is especially proud of having started the Conference for Legal Education Opportunity summer internship program, or CLEO.
Friedlander said he is submitting his resignation now to give the governor and the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission adequate time to appoint his replacement. The merit selection process to fill the judicial position will include an application and interview. The final selection is made by the governor. The Judicial Nominating Commission will release details about the process on March 2.
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy H. Vaidik said, “Judge Friedlander will be greatly missed for many reasons including his solid and sensible judicial opinions, his consummate collegiality, and his dedication to bringing diversity to the legal profession.”
Before his appointment, Friedlander’s private legal practice included significant trial and transactional work, mainly representing small businesses. He also served as a deputy prosecutor in Lake County and Marion County and was corporation counsel for the Indiana secretary of state, in which capacity he drafted Indiana’s then-new Not-For-Profit Corporation Act.
Friedlander’s many legal and community activities include service on the Indiana State Bar Association Board of Governors and as chairman of its Young Lawyers Section; the Indiana Bar Foundation; the Indiana University Foundation board of directors and Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife, Linda, are current members of IU’s Herron School of Art advisory board. He has two children and four grandchildren.
The Court of Appeals is Indiana’s second highest court. The 15-member court is asked to consider about 4,000 cases per year and decides about 2,000 by majority opinion each year. Members are appointed from geographic districts, but its three-judge panels do not sit by district. Friedlander represents the court’s second district, which comprises 19 central Indiana counties.