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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 35,886 times.


Contents

Guinness World Record

Guinness World Record for Youngest Judge[6]

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

The Indiana Lawyer, 9 November 2011

Follow 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

If you follow this link, it will automatically download the actual five page 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

The Star Press, Muncie, Indiana, 20 March 1974

Once the story was released on the wire services, it quickly spread to newspapers across the United States and Canada. The press eagerly seized upon the story, with editors intentionally crafting sensational headlines designed to grab readers' attention. Unfortunately, some of these headlines were so exaggerated that they bordered on outright 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

Upon receiving the Attorney General's opinion, I promptly made my way to the Governor's office at the State House. The Governor was not in his office and I was given an appointment for another day.

Upon arrival for my appointment, I told his staff that I was the teenage judge that the Governor had recently appointed. 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.

During my conversation with Governor Bowen, I expressed my concern regarding the opinion. It raised a significant question about my authority as an office holder. I made sure to convey my deep appreciation for the honor bestowed upon me by the county commissioners and the governor's appointment to the position. However, I also explained that given the sensational headlines in the state and national press, I did not want to cause any political embarrassment for either the governor or the county commissioners.

Furthermore, I emphasized that the office of Justice of the Peace is held in high esteem by the public, and I had a duty to uphold that reputation. Therefore, I respectfully tendered my resignation for the governor's consideration and action. I wanted him to know that my decision was made with the utmost respect for both the County Commissioners and the Governor.

The press had widely reported on the strained relationship between Governor Bowen and Attorney General Sendak. It was no secret that Sendak had long harbored ambitions of becoming Governor himself.[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.

During my meeting with the Governor, he inquired if I was prepared to defend our stance in court, to which I confidently replied in the affirmative. The Governor then informed me that he would not accept my resignation nor allow me to surrender of my Commission. Instead, he advised me to return to Johnson County and ensure that my courtroom was fully operational for court business.

After relaying the details of my meeting with the Governor to the County Commissioners, I started work with the township trustee to get my office and courtroom open.


The Daily Journal, 25 March 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 24 March 1974

The Daily Journal, 9 April 1974

Opponent's Lawsuit Against the Election Board

The Daily Journal, 18 April 1974

The Indianapolis News, 19 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 Adds Justice of the Peace to Lawsuit

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 Indianapolis News, 5 June 1974

The Daily Journal, 27 June 1974

The Daily Journal, 28 June 1974

The Indianapolis Star, 7 August 1974

The Indianapolis News, 7 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 8 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 9 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 10 August 1974

Court Decision on Eligibility to Serve

Kokomo Tribune, 14 August 1974

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

The Indianapolis Star, 14 August 1974

The Daily Journal, 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

During my high school years, I dedicated my spare time to studying Indiana statutory law.[2][3] In January of 1974, I graduated early from high school, leaving me with an abundance of free time. It was during this period that I became intrigued by the position of Justice of the Peace for White River Township, which I had discovered in my studies.

However, when I inquired about the position with county officials and area politicians, I was met with incorrect information. They informed me that there had never been a Justice of the Peace in White River Township and questioned how I could intend to fill a vacancy of office that had never existed.

I was quick to correct them, explaining that the law provided for the position and that it had simply gone unfilled for the past 50 years. In fact, this was a common occurrence in certain townships around the state, dating back to the early part of the 20th century.

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. Historical records and newspaper accounts show that 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. Prior to me being elected 60 years later, 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. The vacancy I filled was for a term that expired December 31, 1974. Accordingly, I had to run for office in 1974 to succeed my appointive term. 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, only one year into the four-year term in which I was elected.[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 pursued his education in college and law school, subsequently embarking on a career as a lawyer.[8] His law practice was located in Greenwood, Indiana, approximately three miles from his courtroom. He changed his political affiliation to become a Democrat. A lifelong enthusiast of genealogy,[9] he actively engages in building his family tree and participates in the WikiTree community.[10] His research revealed that many of his direct ancestors held the position of Justice of the Peace in southern Indiana during the early 19th century.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • Attorney General Ted Sendak was re-elected Attorney General in 1976 and served until 1981.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • 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.[15] Four years later, he ran for a county council seat in Johnson County in 1980 and was defeated.[16]He had been a candidate for Perry Township Trustee in Marion County in 1966 and for city council in Beech Grove, Marion County, in 1967 and was defeated in both of those Republican primary elections as well.[17]
  • Candidate Michael A. Hunter only got to see the bench by standing in front of it. In the year following his failed bid for J.P., he got a speeding ticket and appeared in Franklin City Court and paid fine.[18] 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.[19] He got another speeding ticket in 1986 and appeared in New Whiteland Town Court and paid a fine.[20]
  • High school student Dale Perry, who was the subject of a jury trial held in 1908 in the White River Township J.P. Court (see 1908 newspaper article in Relics Section above), went on to become a lawyer. It is not known if his court case inspired him to pursue a career as a lawyer.

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. Wikipedia contributors, "Marc Griffin," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marc_Griffin&oldid=1127036899 (accessed December 23, 2022).
  9. (Image:World s Youngest Judge-118.jpg)
  10. [5]
  11. Johnston Brown, William Hall, Absalom Hankins, Jonathan Shreve
  12. Wikipedia contributors, "Otis Bowen," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Otis_Bowen&oldid=1220063687 (accessed April 30, 2024).
  13. Wikipedia contributors, "Theodore L. Sendak," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Theodore_L._Sendak&oldid=1198153510 (accessed April 30, 2024).
  14. <https://law.justia.com/cases/indiana/court-of-appeals/1998/110701-jts.html
  15. GOP Primary, The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Wednesday, 5 May 1976, Page 10, <https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56973348/>, Downloaded 8 August 2020.
  16. 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 .
  17. Beech Grove Primary Totals Given, The Indianapolis News, Thursday, 4 May 1967, Page 14,<https://www.newspapers.com/clip/57062644/>.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Courts, New Whiteland, The Daily Journal, (Franklin, Indiana), Thursday, 8 May 1986, Page 29,<https://www.newspapers.com/clip/56909836/>, Downloaded 7 August 2020.

See also:

  • Who's Who in American Law(R) (Marquis(TM)). Ninth edition, 1996- 1997. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 1996. (WhoAmL 9) Who's Who in American Law(R) (Marquis(TM)). Tenth edition, 1998- 1999. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who, 1998. (WhoAmL 10)

Acknowledgements

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





Collaboration


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