(INDIANAPOLIS) - After 27 years of service, Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard stepped down from the Indiana Supreme Court bench for a final time on Monday.
Shepard closed out his service as the nation's longest-serving state chief justice with a tribute that lasted more than an hour.
Gov. Mitch Daniels compared Shepard's retirement to another much-talked about local departure.
"You know, the Colts without Peyton was hard enough. Indiana's judiciary without Shepard (is something) I can't comprehend," Daniels said.
Daniels pointed out that Shepard might never have gotten this job if he hadn't been defeated for election as mayor of Evansville, RTV6's Norman Cox reported.
Leaders of the Indiana State Bar Association and the American Bar Association saluted Shepard for modernizing the court system and its record-keeping, for improving legal education in Indiana and trying to reform the home mortgage foreclosure system.
"For more than a quarter of a century, Randy Shepard, as Chief Justice of Indiana, has made excellence his habit," said ABA President William Robinson.
Shepard deflected much of the credit and said the progress Indiana's legal system has made has been more than one person's effort.
"I can acknowledge my own role in all this and still say, without false modesty, that most of what has been described today reflects joint effort and collective commitment," Shepard said.
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