Griffin-5904.jpg

World's Youngest Judge

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 19 Feb 1974
Location: White River Township, Johnson, Indiana, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: Griffin
Profile manager: Marc Griffin private message [send private message]
This page has been accessed 703 times.


Contents

Guinness World Record

Guinness World Record for Youngest Judge[5]

The Daily Journal, Johnson County, Indiana, 2 November 2011

The Indiana Lawyer, 9 November 2011

Click this link for additional media coverage found in the ABA Journal Online, the monthly trade magazine of the American Bar Association

Governor's Appointment

The Daily Journal, 20 February 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 21 February 1974

Tipton County Tribune, 22 February 1974

Judicature, the national publication of the American Judicature Society, May 1974

Governor's Commission



Attorney General's Opinion

The Daily Journal, 19 March 1974

The Daily Journal, 20 March 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 20 March 1974



Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI), 20 March 1974


When the story hit the wire services, it appeared in newspapers all over the United States and Canada.

The press had a field day with the story! The newspaper editors deliberately set out to hook the reader with sensational headlines that screamed controversy and catastrophe. Some of the headlines were exaggerated to the point of fabrication.

Below are just some of the actual headlines from the stories that appeared in newspapers across the country:


Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, 21 March 1974
The Monroe News Star, Monroe, Louisiana, 20 March 1974
The Central New Jersey Home News, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 20 March 1974
Fort Worth Star Telegram, Fort Worth, Texas, 20 March 1974
The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida, 21 March 1974


The Kokomo Tribune, Kokomo, Indiana, 21 March 1974
The Vincennes Sun Commerical, Vincennes, Indiana, 21 March 1974
The Billings Gazette, Billings, Montana, 21 March 1974
Des Moines Tribune, Des Moines, Iowa, 21 March 1974
The Lowell Sun, Lowell, Massachusetts, 20 March 1974
The Missoulian, Missoula, Montana, 21 March 1974
The News Journal, Wilmington, Delaware, 20 March 1974
Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio, 20 March 1974
Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 20 March 1974
LIncoln Journal Star, Lincoln, Nebraska, 20 March 1974
The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, 20 March 1974
Press and Sun Bulletin, Binghamton, New York, 20 March 1974
The Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin, 20 March 1974
The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, 21 March 1974

When the Attorney General’s opinion came out I immediately went to the Governor’s office in the State House. I told his staff that I was the teenage judge that the Governor had recently appointed and that I would like to see him.

Within minutes a staff member said, "Judge Griffin, the Governor will see you now." I think that was the first time anyone had called me "Judge Griffin" and I liked the sound of it.

I told Governor Bowen that I had reviewed the opinion and that it raised a substantial question about my authority of office. I let him know that I fully appreciated the honor bestowed upon me by the county commissioners' recommendation and by his appointment to that office.

However, I explained, considering the sensational headlines in the state and national press, I did not want to cause any political embarrassment for him or the county commissioners. Additionally, I stated that I had a duty that the office of Justice of the Peace is held in high esteem by the public. Accordingly, I informed him that in full respect for the County Commissioners and the Governor I was there to tender my resignation for his consideration and action.

It had been widely reported the press that Governor Bowen did not think much of the Attorney General Sendak and he had reportedly been at odds with Sendak. Sendak had wanted to be Governor really bad and he never did give Governor Bowen any real cooperation.[1] Governor Bowen asked me if I thought the opinion was correct. I advised the Governor that the opinion was just that, an opinion, and that the Attorney General's opinion was wrong. Additionally, I reminded the Governor that the opinion was not from a court and it did not carry the force of law.

The Governor asked me if I was willing to fight the opinion in court should it come to that and I responded in the affirmative. He told me that he would not accept my offer to resign and surrender my Commission. He advised me to return to Johnson County and get my courtroom open and ready for court business. I reported back to the County Commissioners with the details of my meeting with the Governor and started work with the township trustee in getting my office and courtroom open.


The Daily Journal, 25 March 1974

The Daily Journal, 9 April 1974

Opponent's Lawsuit Filed Before Primary Election

The Daily Journal, 18 April 1974

The Daily Journal, 19 April 1974

The Daily Journal, 29 April 1974

The Indianapolis News, 30 April 1974

The Daily Journal, 29 April 1974

The Indianapolis News, 6 May 1974

The Daily Journal, 7 May 1974

Primary Election

The Daily Journal, 1 March 1974

The Daily Journal, 23 March 1974

The Daily Journal, 25 April 1974

The Daily Journal, 27 April 1974

The Daily Journal, 3 May 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 3 May 1974

The Daily Journal, 4 May 1974

The Daily Journal, 6 May 1974

Handbill, May 1974

The Daily Journal, 8 May 1974

The Indianapolis News, 8 May 1974

Opponent's Lawsuit Continues After Primary Election

The Daily Journal, 11 May 1974

The Daily Journal, 23 May 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 24 May 1974

The Indianapolis News, 24 May 1974

The Daily Journal, 5 June 1974

The Daily Journal, 27 June 1974

The Daily Journal, 28 June 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 7 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 8 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 9 August 1974

Court Decision on Eligibility to Serve

Vidette Messenger of Porter County, 14 August 1974
The Noblesville Ledger, 14 August 1974
Muncie Evening Press, 14 August 1974


The Indianapolis News, 14 August 1974

General Election

The Daily Journal, 4 September 1974

The Daily Journal, 9 September 1974

The Daily Journal, 18 October 1974

The Daily Journal, 25 October 1974

The Daily Journal, 2 November 1974

The Daily Journal, Republican Slate, 2 November 1974

The Daily Journal, 6 November 1974

The Daily Journal, 6 November 1974

Relics from the White River Township J.P. Court

I had been studying Indiana statutory law in my spare time while in high school.[2][3] In January 1974, I graduated early from high school. I had a lot of time on my hands so I started to inquire about a Justice of the Peace for White River Township, a position I had discovered in my studies. County officials and area politicians incorrectly told me that there had never been a Justice of the Peace in White River Township. They asked me how could I intend to fill a vacancy of office when there never was a J.P. in White River Township. I explained that the law provided for one and that nobody had ever bothered to run for the office in the past 50 years. I further explained that this was a common occurrence in certain townships around the state starting in the early part of the 20th century.

Newspaper accounts and old state statutes tell us that there were two Justices of the Peace elected in White River Township every four years in the 19th century. Archibald Glenn was the first Justice of the Peace in White River Township having been elected at the first county election in 1823,[4] the year Johnson County was formed. Abraham Lowe was the other initial J.P.[5]

There were several men who served as the J.P. in White River Township after them including John Bennett, Alfred Boaz and Daniel Dorrell. The last J.P. to be elected in White River Township was in 1914. While some of the candidates in 1914 are known,[6], I do not know who was ultimately elected that year.

Thus, there was a vacancy of office from the late 1910s until I was appointed in 1974 to fill the vacancy. I was the last Justice of the Peace in White River Township to serve because the Indiana General Assembly eliminated the office statewide as of the end of 1975.[7]


The Daily Journal, 31 December 1974

The Daily Journal, 2 January 1975

The Daily Journal," 5 May 1975


The Daily Journal, 9 June 1975


The Daily Journal, 8 July 1975
The Daily Journal, 10 September 1975


Justices of the Peace had the power of arrest.

A certificate like this was required by law to be attached to any of my arrest warrants that were to be served on a person outside of Johnson County.

1908 criminal case tried to a jury in the White River Township J.P. Court



Epilogue

  • Judge Marc L. Griffin went to college and law school and became a lawyer.[6] His law office was in Greenwood, Indiana, about 3 miles from his old courtroom. He switched political parties and became a Democrat. Genealogy has been his hobby all his life.[8] He is an avid WikiTreer.
  • Governor Otis Bowen was re-elected for a second term in 1976, making him the first Governor to serve for eight consecutive years in Indiana since 1851. His campaign slogan, featured in huge letters on billboards, was "Otis Bowen. He Hears You". In 1985, he was appointed by President Reagan as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  • Attorney General Ted Sendak was re-elected Attorney General in 1976 and served until 1981.
  • County Attorney James B. Young was appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana in 1975. He was later appointed by Governor Bowen to the Indiana Court of Appeals in 1978 and retained by the electorate in 1980.[9]
  • Candidate Robert W. Condit continued his losing streak in Republican primary elections. After losing in 1974, he ran for precinct committeeman in White River Township in 1976 and was defeated.[10] Four years later, he ran for a county council seat in Johnson County in 1980 and was defeated.[11]He had been a candidate for city council in Beech Grove, Marion County, in 1967 and was defeated there as well.[12]
  • Candidate Michael A. Hunter only got to see the bench by standing in front of it. He got a speeding ticket in 1975 and appeared in Franklin City Court and paid fine.[13] In 1981, at age 25, he was arrested by Greenwood police on charges of public intoxication and public indecency and was released from jail on a $125 cash bond.[14] He got another speeding ticket in 1986 and appeared in New Whiteland Town Court and paid a fine.[15]

Sources

  1. https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-oral-histories/otis-bowen-md-oral-history
  2. (Image:World s Youngest Judge-116.jpg)
  3. (Image:World s Youngest Judge-117.jpg)
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
  6. [3]
  7. [4]
  8. (Image:World s Youngest Judge-118.jpg)
  9. <https://law.justia.com/cases/indiana/court-of-appeals/1998/110701-jts.html
  10. GOP Primary, The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Wednesday, 5 May 1976, Page 10, <https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56973348/>, Downloaded 8 August 2020.
  11. Council seats attract six candidates, The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Thursday, 30 October 1980, Page 1,<https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56974050/>, Downloaded 8 August 2020 .
  12. Beech Grove Primary Totals Given, The Indianapolis News, Thursday, 4 May 1967, Page 14,<https://www.newspapers.com/clip/57062644/>.
  13. Franklin City Court news,The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Wednesday, 12 November 1975, Page 10, <https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56908895/>, Downloaded 7 August 2020.
  14. Johnson County jail bookings,The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Monday, 16 February 1981, Page 10, https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56906682/, Downloaded 7 August 2020.
  15. Courts, New Whiteland, The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Thursday, 8 May 1986, Page 29,<https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56909836/>, Downloaded 7 August 2020.

Acknowledgements

All of the newspaper clippings, except one, were obtained using my subscription to Newspapers.com. I highly recommend this service.





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