IBJNews

2010 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Sphere of Influence: Magnus-Stinson is only the fourth female federal district judge in Indiana history (or third, depending on where one places her in relation to Tanya Walton Pratt, who was appointed to a similar position at the same time).
 

Magnus (Photo provided)

When Jane Magnus-Stinson, 52, was sworn in on June 14, 2010, as judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, she instantly made history. She, along with fellow nominee Tanya Walton Pratt, doubled the number of female federal district judges ever to serve in Indiana.

Before earning her current, lifetime appointment, Magnus-Stinson (a 1979 Butler University graduate and a 1983 Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis graduate), gained years of experience in the lower courts. Immediately preceding her present position, she served as a magistrate judge in the Southern District of Indiana. Before that she was appointed judge of the Marion Superior Court, then was twice reelected to the position, serving from 1995 to 2007. “In terms of the Indianapolis criminal justice system, I am most proud of the multi-agency, bipartisan efforts, of which I was a part, that accomplished the successful resolution of the decades-old jail overcrowding crisis,” Magnus-Stinson said. Before that she worked as counsel and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Evan Bayh—the man who, as a U.S. Senator, would recommend her to the President for nomination to the federal bench.

She considers it a personal goal to work with her colleagues to increase the diversity of the court. That effort is already under way, via an outreach to area law schools to increase the diversity of law clerks. Magnus-Stinson doesn’t have to imagine the sorts of problems minority or female attorneys can face, because she lived through them herself.

“As a young woman lawyer and litigator coming up in the 1980s, I was in a distinct minority,” she said. “So I worked hard to prove myself both a worthy advocate and adversary. I was confronted with blatant sexism from time to time and always tried to find a way to combat it. Sometimes I used the situation as a teaching moment, even if it meant teaching judges. Sometimes I would make a direct reply, and sometimes I would use humor.”

Over the years Magnus-Stinson has had plenty of teaching moments, though most concerned the minutia of the law rather than sexism. She’s a frequent instructor on legal issues, teaching trial advocacy in both national and international forums. She’s worked in various capacities for the Indianapolis Bar Association, including serving as vice president in 2004. She also chairs the Jury Instructions Committee of the Board of Managers of the Indiana Judges Association, where she’s coordinating a complete revision of the Indiana Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions.

She could also teach a course in effective time management. For years she’s juggled a long list of professional and personal obligations—a list that’s only gotten longer with her new position. “The significant workload of our court shows no signs of letup,” Magnus-Stinson said. “My chamber’s staff and I will use our best efforts to provide timely and understandable opinions, grounded in the law.” On the personal front, she and her husband, Bill Stinson, are also shepherding their two children through junior high and high school.

When she isn’t handing down decisions, Magnus-Stinson is chauffeuring her kids to after-school activities. She also attends book club meetings, sings in her church’s women’s choral group, walks and works out, and cheers on the Butler basketball team.

“The support of my family and friends has helped me immeasurably through whatever struggles I have faced, and has instilled in me the importance of being a good friend,” she said.
___

Click here to return to the Women of Influence landing page.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

ADVERTISEMENT