On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana came under the leadership of a new chief judge, the Honorable Jane E. Magnus-Stinson. She assumed this position upon the expiration of Judge Richard L. Young’s term as chief judge.
Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson received her commission as district judge for the Southern District of Indiana on June 9, 2010, filling a vacancy created by Judge Larry J. McKinney’s assumption of senior status on July 4, 2009. Before becoming a district judge, Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson served the Southern District of Indiana as a magistrate judge from 2007 until her elevation. Prior to that, from 1995-2007, she was a judge on the Marion County Superior Court. Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson is a graduate of Butler University and the Indiana University McKinney School of Law.
Chief Judge Magnus-Stinson currently serves on the Defender Services Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Seventh Circuit Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, the Seventh Circuit Advisory Committee on Rules, and the Seventh Circuit Committee on Supervised Release. She has served as Chair of the Facility/Court Security Committee for the Southern District of Indiana since 2010.
During Judge Young’s seven-year term as chief judge, the court welcomed two new district judges (Judge Magnus-Stinson and Judge Tanya Walton Pratt) and four new magistrate judges (Mark J. Dinsmore, Denise K. LaRue, Matthew P. Brookman, and Van T. Willis). During that same time, Judge Sarah Evans Barker assumed senior status, a vacancy that remains unfilled. Also during Judge Young’s time as chief judge, the court closed more than 24,500 civil and criminal cases, placing the Southern District of Indiana 6th in the nation by weighted caseload.
Judge Young provided the court with valuable leadership during his tenure. Under his direction, the court moved to a paperless filing system, except in miscellaneous cases; initiated a prisoner e-filing system that is now in use at eight different detention facilities; operated without interruption during a government shutdown and numerous continuing resolutions; instituted the ability for attorneys to file new cases electronically; and transitioned to a new financial management system. Additionally, for a significant portion of Judge Young’s term as chief judge, the Birch Bayh Federal Building and United States Courthouse was under renovation, necessitating courtroom sharing and multiple moves by the judges and court staff.
The position of chief judge is assigned based on length of service, and is given to the judge in regular active service who is senior in commission of those judges who are (1) 64 years of age or under; (2) have served for one year or more as a judge; and (3) have not previously served as chief judge. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years and handles administrative matters related to the operation of the clerk’s office and the courthouse that do not require the attention of all the judges. The chief judge carries a full caseload in addition to these administrative duties and does not receive any additional pay.