JNC to interview candidates to succeed Kirsch on COA in May

All 23 lawyers and judges who applied to succeed Judge James Kirsch on the Indiana Court of Appeals will be interviewed by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission next month.

The seven-member JNC will interview applicants to succeed Kirsch on May 13 and 14. The commission announced Thursday that 11 lawyers and 12 judges are seeking to fill the vacancy that will be created when Kirsch retires in the fall.

The May 13 interviews will include:

11:30-11:50 a.m.: Cass Superior Judge Lisa L. Swaim

11:50 a.m.-12:10 p.m.: Patricia P. McCrory

12:10-12:30 p.m.: Marion Superior Judge Timothy W. Oakes

12:45-1:05 p.m.: Cynthia E. Lasher

1:05-1:25 : Zachary J. Stock

2:25-2:45 p.m.: Howard Superior Judge Brant J. Parry

2:45-3:05 p.m.: Marion Superior Judge Heather A. Welch

3:05-3:25 p.m.: Stephanie K. Bibbs

3:40-4 p.m.: Hamilton Circuit Judge Paul A. Felix

4-4:20 p.m.: Marion Superior Judge Kurt M. Eisgruber

4:20-4:40 p.m.: Elizabeth C. Green

The May 14 interviews will include:

9:30-9:50 a.m.: Stephen R. Creason

9:50-10:10 a.m.: Patrick W. Price

10:10-10:30 a.m.: Derek R. Molter

10:45-11:05 a.m.: Brad A. Catlin

11:05-11:25 a.m.: Marion Superior Judge Gary L. Miller

11:25-11:45 a.m.: Marion Superior Judge Patricia C. McMath

1-1:20 p.m. p.m.: Madison Circuit Judge Mark K. Dudley

1:20-1:40 p.m.: Marion Superior Judge James A. Joven

1:40-2 p.m.: Paul C. Sweeney

2:15-2:35 p.m.: Tippecanoe Superior Judge Faith A. Graham

2:35-2:55 p.m.: Hamilton Superior Judge Jonathan M. Brown

2:55-3:15 p.m.: Bryce D. Owens

The JNC will then begin an executive session at 3:30 p.m. May 14 to consider applicants and vote on semi-finalists. The semi-finalists will advance to a second round of interviews to be held at a later date.

After the semi-finalist interviews, the JNC choose three finalists whose names will be submitted to Gov. Eric Holcomb. The governor will make the final selection on Kirsch’s successor. Holcomb most recently appointed Leanna Weissmann in September 2020 to succeed now-Senior Judge John Baker on the Court of Appeals.

Next month’s interviews will be open to the public, though in-person seating will be limited due to social distancing. If adjustments are necessary to accommodate social distancing measures, the public will be informed.

The interviews will take place in the Fuse East Conference Room on the second floor of the South Tower at Capital Center in downtown Indianapolis, 201 N. Illinois St.

Kirsch, currently the third-longest serving judge on the 15-member Court of Appeals, announced his retirement in January. He told IL that he would step down from the bench in September — three months before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75 — but would continue to serve as a senior judge.

The applications of the candidates to succeed Kirsch, as well as their writing samples, transcripts and letters of recommendations are public record. Redacted applications are available online.

The JNC is led by Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush and includes three lawyer members elected by the bar and three nonlawyer members appointed by the governor.

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