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Monday, January 01, 2007

Ind. Courts - Three Circuit Judges mark final day

LaPorte Circuit Judge Gilmore was the subject of a story earlier this week by Danielle Gingerich in the Herald-Argus. Some quotes:

During an emotional farewell speech to those in attendance in court Friday, LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Robert Gilmore said farewell after 12 years on the bench.

“As I look back on it, I’ll never forget it,” Gilmore said of his time serving LaPorte County.

Gilmore, 62, will be retiring to South Carolina. Judge-elect Tom Alevizos, 45, will replace him.

As he spoke, Gilmore, holding back tears at points, gave special kudos to the “overworked” and “understaffed” LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“We deal with the dregs of society,” Gilmore said. “There aren’t a lot of success stories, but (the employees of the prosecuting attorney’s office) are here day in and day out.”

“They do it for the love of their job,” he added, pausing for a moment to hold back tears, “and for the belief that people can make changes -- and they do.”

In spite of all the negatives, Gilmore decided Friday to concentrate on the positives of the job.

“To save a human being is worth it,” he said to those in the courtroom. “Remember the people you’ve helped.”

Gilmore also had a few words about those who persist on “court bashing, judge bashing and prosecutor bashing.”

“When the day’s done, the job of the judge is not to satisfy the masses,” he said. “It’s to follow and observe the law as it is written in the state of Indiana.”

Stan Maddux of the Michigan City News-Dispatch also has a story, which included this:
Gilmore said the most difficult aspect of his job was having to constantly remind himself to ignore his emotions in determining an offender's punishment. Sentences must always be calculated under the guidelines provided by the law, he continued, not merely reflect what the public feels is right or just. “That is our job,” he said.
From today's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Rebecca S. Green has a story headlined "Huntington judge closes the book on 20-year career." It begins:
Huntington Circuit Judge Mark McIntosh intended to close out his 20 years on the bench at the end of 2006, but an illness forced the 73-year-old from the post in March.

It was not the ending McIntosh had planned, nor was it one many in the community believed he deserved after years of dealing with some of northeast Indiana’s most notorious criminal cases.

Those cases included the 1989 murder of car collector Eldon Anson by high school junior Jarrod Wall; then 14-year-old Donna Ratliff setting fire to her house in 1995, killing her mother and sister; and the death in 2000 of 3-year-old MicKenzie Brown at the hands of her father and stepmother.

His colleagues describe McIntosh as a judge known for dealing with lawyers, victims, criminals and suspects with civility and respect, though not a soft touch.

Here is a long story from the Dec. 31 Logansport Pharos-Tribune by Dave Kitchell about Cass Circuit Court Judge Julian Ridlen's 30 years as an elected official. It begins:
As he looks back at a career in government, Julian Ridlen sees nothing but full years behind him.

The two-term Cass Circuit Court judge left the bench Friday. He will continue to accept appointments as a senior judge appointed in some cases, but he will likely never serve in elected office again.

After serving most of two terms as judge of the former Logansport city court, two terms as state treasurer and two terms as Circuit Court judge, Ridlen leaves public life with nearly 30 years on his resume as an elected official. * * *

Ridlen succeeded Frank Tolbert as city judge, and he won election to a full four-year term in 1971. He was re-elected in 1975.

“The only thing it really did was handle the police blotter,” Ridlen said of the city court.

He recalled spending about 5 percent of his work week as a judge in the City Building. The rest he spent practicing law with his father-in-law, former Indiana Secretary of State Leland Smith.

“I think he probably gave me a fair picture of what it would be like in a county seat type of practice,” Ridlen said of his father-in-law. “He had an interesting approach toward the law, thinking about the law. I always remembered he said, ‘It is not necessarily what the law is, but what the law should be.’ There was that opportunity then for applying equitable principles to the law and considering that the law is an elastic body that is subject to change over time. I think it’s good guidance to have that approach.”

Ridlen still remembers the first case he ever handled in city court.

“It was a driving under the influence case,” he said. “The fee was $25 and I’m not sure I ever collected it.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 1, 2007 02:11 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts