IndyBar: Judicial Spotlight

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Hon. Cynthia Oetjen

Hon. Cynthia Oetjen

Marion Superior Court Criminal 30

How long have you been a Marion Superior Court judge?

I was appointed as judge in March 2021. I had no prior judicial experience.

Other projects, committees or service roles you are involved in off the bench?

I am on the Marion Superior Court Executive Committee and the Supreme Court Domestic Violence Advisory Committee.

Best tip you have for lawyers appearing in your court or criminal law courts in general?

Be prepared. Have caselaw available. Don’t take cases personally. Treat everyone with respect and kindness. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of more experienced counsel or the judge. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Your mentor(s) and the greatest insight you gained from them?

I have had several mentors in my life, starting with my parents who taught me the value of hard work and never giving up. As a new attorney, a defense attorney, Dave Martenett, who was opposing counsel in domestic violence court who taught me that the things that happen in court are secondary to the relationships outside of court. Judicial mentors were Judges Sheila Carlisle and Grant Hawkins. They were my first judges when I became a prosecutor. I try to learn something in all my interactions with people.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

My free time is spent with my family watching children play basketball, volleyball, dancing and acting. I have recently taken up pickleball. I enjoy reading, doing jigsaw puzzles and watching all the “Star Trek” available.

If you weren’t a judge, what would you be doing?

I would take up semi-truck driving, move rocks, or retire to the beach renting chairs or selling ice cream cones.

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