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Applications open for coming Court of Appeals vacancy

January 24, 2018

Northern Indiana judges and lawyers may now apply to succeed long-serving Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Michael Barnes, Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush announced Wednesday.

Lawyers and judges from Indiana Court of Appeals District 3 may apply by April 2. The district includes Allen, Benton, DeKalb, Elkhart, Fulton, Jasper, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Newton, Noble, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Steuben, Warren and Whitley counties. Applications may be submitted online here.

Barnes, 70, of South Bend, whose retirement in June will cap 40 years in public service as an appellate judge and before that a prosecutor, said he will seek senior status.

“Service has been the hallmark of Judge Barnes’ career — 20 years as St. Joseph County’s elected prosecutor, and nearly 20 more thoughtfully representing the northern third of our state on the Court of Appeals” Rush said. “His service should inspire judges and lawyers in that region to consider likewise giving back to Indiana by joining the appellate bench.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik praised Judge Barnes’ 18 years of service to the Court. “Judge Barnes has contributed enormously to the reputation of the Court for quality, timeliness, collegiality, and fairness. During his tenure on the Court, Judge Barnes has authored more than 2,800 majority opinions that have added significantly to the development of Indiana law. We look forward to applicants who will carry on Judge Barnes’ legacy of clear writing, sound judgment, and good, old-fashioned Hoosier common sense.”

The seven-member Judicial Nominating Committee will interview applicants and select three names to forward to Gov. Eric Holcomb for his appointment. No interview dates have been set. Rush chairs the commission that includes three lawyers elected by bar members and three non-lawyers appointed by the governor.

Along with being a resident of the northern Indiana COA district, applicants also must have been a member of the Indiana Bar for at least 10 years or an Indiana judge for five years. Applicants must provide pertinent background information, writing samples, references and educational transcripts.

There are 15 judges on the Court of Appeals — three from each of the three geographical districts, and three each from two statewide districts.

Those interested in applying may email Adrienne Meiring, counsel for the Judicial Nominating Commission. More about the commission is available here.

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