Kokomo judge seeks position on Indiana Court of Appeals

Kim Dunlap, Kokomo Tribune, Ind.
·3 min read

May 3—Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry joked that the law is in his DNA.

Growing up the son of a judge, Parry has several childhood memories of being around courtrooms and understanding the importance of giving back to one's community while also treating everyone who enters a courtroom with respect.

"It's the most important time in that person's life," Parry noted to the Tribune last week, referring to defendants who often have to stand before a judge. "You need to treat it as such."

And Parry does, he admitted, whether it's through his work with Howard County's problem solving courts such as Mental Health Court or Veterans Court — both of which he started in 2018 — or just in other everyday business.

So when the opportunity came up recently to throw his proverbial hat into a different kind of ring — a position with the Indiana Court of Appeals — Parry didn't hesitate to fill out an application.

And although he's still in the early stages of the selection process, Parry's interview with the Indiana Court of Appeals is set for the afternoon of May 13.

He's one of 23 judges and attorneys throughout the state vying for a position, filling a vacancy that was left when the Honorable James S. Kirsch retired last fall.

According to its website, the Indiana Court of Appeals is the second highest court in the state, just underneath the Indiana Supreme Court.

The Indiana Court of Appeals consists of 15 judges and is made up of five districts, with Districts 1 and 2 covering north and north central Indiana respectively and District 3 covering the southern half.

District 4 and District 5, the court's website notes, consists of judges from each of the state's three geographical areas.

Every year, the judges who sit on the Indiana Court of Appeals issue approximately 2,000 written opinions, and the cases that come before them are heard in panels of three.

Those panels rotate three times a year, meaning that each judge on the Indiana Court of Appeals is able to work with each other at least once every two and a half years.

And it's that opportunity to collaborate with other judges throughout the state that initially got Parry interested in applying for the open position, one of which he also noted would be a tremendous honor.

"To work in the Court of Appeals and to have the responsibility of reviewing cases in the lower courts and upholding the Constitution of Indiana and of the United States, it'd be a great challenge," Parry said. " ... I also think the group atmosphere, the team atmosphere on the Court of Appeals, working with other judges and talking the cases out or discussing the laws together, I'd enjoy that as well."

Another aspect of the Indiana Court of Appeals is its program "Appeals on Wheels," which is essentially a traveling court case that allows Hoosiers — predominantly high schoolers — the opportunity to witness the government's judicial role firsthand.

During the event, lawyers present their oral arguments in front of the three-judge panel, which then makes written decisions based on those arguments.

"To go into the different communities and share the process with people in that capacity like that," Parry said, "that would be really great. I think it'd be a lot of fun."

Parry is a graduate of Kokomo High School and Miami University (Ohio), and he also graduated from the University of Denver College of Law in 1999.

After passing the bar, Parry began practicing law in January 2000 and was a deputy prosecutor from 2000 to 2011, while also owning the Parry Law Office.

He was then appointed judge of Howard County Superior Court II in 2011 by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels.

After next week's first round of interviews, the Indiana Court of Appeals will then hold a second round on a date still yet to be determined before a commission selects three candidates.

Those three candidates will then be sent to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will have 60 days to ultimately make the final decision.