(INDIANAPOLIS)(WISH) - Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard is set to retire following his tenure as the longest serving state court chief in the nation.
Appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in 1985, Shepard will step down in March 2012.
Indiana governor Mitch Daniels marked the announcement by illustrating Shepard's prominence in the judicial community.
"Most Hoosiers recognize the historic place Randy Shepard will always hold in Indiana judicial history. What fewer people may know is there is no more nationally respected Supreme Court judge in any state in America, and this has been so for a very long time," Daniels said in a statement.
Under Shepard, Indiana courts have adopted rules that give jurors instructions in plain English, removing any legalese that may complicate their job. Also, Indiana became the second start to adopt minimum standards for attorneys who wished to represent criminal defendants in death penalty cases.
Additionally, when 40,000 homes faced foreclosure in a single year, Shepard pledged judicial support to homeowners. As a result, the Mortgage Foreclosure Trial Court Assistance Program has saved homeowners from eviction.
As the chair of the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, Shepard will play a role in interviewing candidates for his replacement. The seven-member commission will send the names of thee candidates to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels for consideration. Daniels will then select the new justice. The commission will elect a new chief justice.
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