ANDERSON, Ind. (The Herald Bulletin) - A man whose legal experience ranges from enforcing the law as astate trooper to trying criminal suspects as a deputy prosecutorhas been named Madison County Circuit Court judge.
Rudolph “Rudy” R. Pyle III, 39, was appointed Sundayby Gov. Mitch Daniels to fill the vacancy created last month by theresignation of Judge Fredrick R. Spencer. Pyle becomes MadisonCounty’s first black judge.
“I first thank God for blessing me with this opportunityand thank the governor for having the confidence in me to besuccessful in this important post,” Pyle said Sunday.“I’m very honored and very humbled.”
Pyle said he didn’t feel a burden with his selection asthe county’s first black judge. “It’s actually amoment that everyone in Madison County can be proud of. Here wehave the first African-American judge in 2009. We as a communityhave come this far.”
Daniels’ spokesman Brad Rateike noted Pyle’seducation and history in announcing the appointment.
“Rudy Pyle’s devotion to public service and diverserange of real world and academic experience show he has thenecessary traits to be a great judge,” Rateike said in astatement. “The governor is confident he will bring newenergy to the bench and will help establish a more effective andefficient court system in Madison County.”
Pyle said his experience gives him the ability to view casesfrom the perspective of law-enforcement officers and with anunderstanding of legal theory. “It gives me a reallywell-rounded background to be an effective judge.”
The announcement of Pyle’s appointment said he will besworn in at an unspecified later date. The Indiana Supreme Courtappointed retired Judge Jack Brinkman as a temporary judge inCircuit Court days after Spencer’s resignation.
Spencer resigned the judgeship on Sept. 25 amid an investigationof a judicial misconduct complaint. That case was closed withSpencer’s resignation.
A Republican, Pyle will ascend to the bench to fill a short termbefore he will have to stand for election next year. Given theinterest in recent judicial openings, it’s likely that hewill face challengers in the 2010 primary and general.
For now though, he said he’s focused on the job ahead.
“One of the biggest challenges will be to make sure thetransition is as seamless as possible. We’ll be movingforward with unification of the court system,” Pyle said.Circuit Court is the only court that is not part of the unifiedcourt system, which uses the same case-management system, sharesresources and is designed to improve overall courtadministration.
“It’s just an effort to be more efficient and to usetaxpayer resources much more efficiently,” Pyle said.
The selection of Pyle to fill the Circuit Court post is thecounty’s second judicial replacement in recent months. InMay, Daniels appointed David Happe, 38, as the new judge ofSuperior Court 4, filling the vacancy created by the death of JudgeDavid W. Hopper.
Pyle was one of six candidates interviewed to fill the vacancyin Superior Court 4, and Daniels’ office did not solicitapplicants for the Circuit Court opening. Along with Happe andPyle, other who were interviewed were former Prosecutor RodneyCummings; former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory K. Scott;former Anderson mayoral candidate John M. Blevins; and formerSuperior Court 5 judicial candidate William C. Davisson.
Pyle said he was appreciative of residents who supported him forthe judicial post. “I was just very honored and very humbledby it. ... The others in consideration were equally capablealso.”
A Rhode Island native, Pyle came to Anderson in 1987, where hisfather, Rudolph Pyle Jr., was a professor at AU. Pyle’sfather, now retired, and mother, Caroline, still live in Anderson,and Pyle said he’s settling into a new home in the city heconsiders his hometown.
“I’m here to stay,” Pyle said.
A history-making judge
Rudolph “Rudy” R. Pyle III is the first black judgein Madison County. Here’s a look at the new judge of MadisonCircuit Court:
Family: Son, Seth, 1.
Political affiliation: Republican.
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Anderson University. Lawdegree from Indiana University. Master’s degree from theCollege of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
Professional: Deputy Madison County prosecutor since 2004; inprivate practice in 2006. Indiana State Trooper for nearly fouryears. Served as law clerk for Indiana Court of Appeals. Adjunctprofessor at AU.
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