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Monday, December 31, 2012

Ind. Courts - "Benjamin Diener, a first-time judge, has taken the bench on Carroll County Circuit Court"

That is the headline from this story yesterday by Caitlin Huston in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune. The long story begins:

DELPHI — After about a week in his new job, Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Diener is still getting used to the title of “Your Honor.”

The 32-year-old Republican candidate has been on the bench since Dec. 18 after he won the local primary against an incumbent judge and beat an independent candidate in the general election. A first-time judge, Diener acknowledges that he’ll have to do some learning on the job and work to prove the critics of his young age wrong.

Diener grew up in Monticello and earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and a law degree from Barry University in Florida. He’s been in private practice since 2007 and is licensed in Texas, where he worked for as assistant attorney general for one year, as well as Indiana. He brought his private practice to Monticello in 2009 and later moved to Delphi.

Although he said his time as a private attorney did help, Diener said he feels that there’s not a direct correlation for the skills used as an attorney and as a judge.

“I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared to change from attorney to judge,” Diener said.

Diener also didn’t have as much time for preparation as he expected. His term was supposed to begin in January, but former Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Donald Currie was called to serve as a Judge Advocate shortly after the primary. Since that time the circuit court has been using senior judges, but the last senior judge wasn’t able to finish out December and agreed to let Diener step in on Dec. 18.

“So that I can kind of get my feet wet,” Diener said.

At the end of January, Diener will attend a judges’ school for all newly elected judges in Indiana. But before then, Diener said he will preside over at least two jury trials and any matters that come up in circuit court, which includes class A, B and C felonies, divorce cases, some juvenile cases and civil filings.

“Between now and then it’s sort of a trial by fire,” Diener said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 31, 2012 08:57 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts