Judges return to where it all started

Courtesy Photo

A who’s who of judges in Jasper County gathered for the 125th anniversary of the Jasper County Courthouse last Friday. Four of the judges went on to higher state and federal courts. They include (L to R) Honorable James Ahler, Jasper Superior Court Judge, US bankruptcy Court Judge; Honorable E. Duane Daugherty, Jasper Circuit Court Judge; Honorable Michael S. Kanne, Jasper Circuit Court Judge, U.S. District Court Judge, U.S.7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge (nominated twice by President Reagan); Honorable Patricia Riley, Jasper Superior Court II Judge, Indiana Court of Appeals (first female on both benches); and Thomas G Fisher, Jasper County Prosecutor, Indiana Tax Court Judge.

RENSSELAER — Jasper County officials celebrated the 125th anniversary of the county courthouse during a ceremony in the county’s Circuit Court room last Friday, Oct. 15.

Due to the threat of rain and cold, the ceremony was moved inside.

County commissioner Kendell Culp welcomed those in attendance and master of ceremonies Russ Martin introduced Chris Hasara, who provided the National Anthem, and pastor John Hill, who provided the invocation.

Hill is a pastor with the First Church of DeMotte and Wheatfield.

Members of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department and Rensselaer Police Department presented the colors.

After a proclamation by the commissioners was read, county historian Judy Kanne gave a short history on the courthouse. Several judges who served in court rooms at the courthouse were asked to speak, including Michael Kanne of the United States Court of Appeals, and James Ahler of the United States Bankruptcy Court of Northern Indiana.

Other judges in attendance included former judges E. Duane Daugherty, Patricia Riley and Thomas Fisher. Daugherty served as a circuit court judge in Jasper County and Riley was appointed the Jasper Superior Court II Judge at the old annex building. She would move to the Indiana Court of Appeals, becoming the first female to serve both a county and state bench.

Fisher, a former prosecutor in the county, is currently an Indiana Tax Court judge.

Linda Bushman closed the ceremony by portraying Lura Halleck, the wife of Abraham Halleck, a prominent lawyer and county official who helped get the courthouse constructed in Rensselaer.

The Hallecks’ son, Charles, had several cases inside the courthouse while serving as a lawyer in Rensselaer and later as a prosecuting attorney for the 13th district court from 1924-34. Charlie would later become the Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as a majority leader and a minority leader, and was a good friend of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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