Panel names 3 finalists for Indiana Supreme Court

An Indianapolis attorney, a former lawyer to Gov. Mitch Daniels and a state appellate court judge were named Thursday as the finalists to fill an Indiana Supreme Court vacancy created by the retirement of the state's chief justice.

The Judicial Nominating Commission interviewed seven candidates and deliberated more than four hours before whittling the field to Indianapolis attorney Jane Siegel; Mark Massa, a former counsel to Daniels; and Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Cale Bradford.

Seigel, 57, was one of three women among the seven semifinalists. She has been director since 1998 of the Indiana Judicial Center, which helps administer probation and court drug and alcohol programs and provides various services for judges around the state. She also served as general counsel for the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, worked as a lawyer for the city of Indianapolis and worked in private practice.

On her application, Seigel cited her efforts to get female firefighters hired in Indianapolis three decades ago as one of her top accomplishments.

If appointed, she would be only the second woman to serve on the state's highest court.

A former newspaper reporter, Massa, 50, currently serves as executive director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. He served as Daniels' chief counsel from 2006 to 2010 and also worked as an assistant U.S. attorney and a Marion County deputy prosecutor. He also clerked for Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and worked as an aide to then-Gov. Robert Orr in the late 1980s.

Among his top accomplishments, Massa cited his work as governor's counsel and the successful prosecution of an Indianapolis police officer in the off-duty beatings of a young married couple outside a downtown bar in 1997.

Bradford, 51, has served on the Indiana Court of Appeals since 2007 and previously served as a judge in Marion County Superior Court. He has worked as both a prosecutor and a public defender and served as an assistant to the U.S. attorney in Indianapolis in the early 1990s. Before he was admitted to the bar in 1986, he worked as a construction worker and a salesman.

Bradford wrote the appellate court opinion that affirmed the conviction of John Myers II for the murder of Indiana University student Jill Behrman.

Daniels will select a new justice from among the three finalists within 60 days.

Shepard plans to retire in March. The commission will select the new chief justice from the high court after the vacancy is filled.

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