Articles Posted in INSD News

JudgePratt-BlogPhotoThe United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is under new leadership. The Honorable Tanya Walton-Pratt was sworn in on March 20, 2021 and is the first person of color to serve as the Southern District of Indiana’s chief judge. She succeeds Judge Jane E. Magnus-Stinson. Chief Judge Pratt was appointed as a district judge on June 15, 2010, becoming the first African-American federal judge in Indiana history.

Chief Judge Pratt was elected Marion Superior Court Judge in November 1996. She also served as Master Commissioner for the Marion Superior Court since 1993 after practicing privately. From 1997 to 2008, Chief Judge Pratt served as Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, handling major felonies, presiding over 20 to 35 jury trials a year, as well as supervising the juvenile detention center. From 2008 until her appointment to the bench of the District Court, she served as a judge in the Marion Superior Court, Probate Division.

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Mario-289x300Indianapolis, Indiana – Honorable Jane E. Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge for the District Court of the Southern District of Indiana, announced the selection of Mario Garcia for U.S. Magistrate Judge. Mr. Garcia will fill a new magistrate judgeship created for the Southern District of Indiana by the Judicial Conference of the United States. He will be the first Hispanic judge to serve the Southern District of Indiana.

Following graduation from law school, Mr. Garcia joined the law firm of Brattain Minnix, which became Brattain Minnix Garcia in 2008 when he became a partner and is currently a Managing Member. He has appeared in more than 500 civil and criminal hearings in Indiana’s federal and state courts in the past five years. Mr. Garcia is also a registered civil mediator; and was selected by the Indiana Federal Community Defender’s Office to lead the response to pro se compassionate release filings under the First Step Act.

Mr. Garcia is admitted to practice in U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Garcia is a member of the Southern District of Indiana’s Criminal Justice Act panel, through which he represents indigent clients.

Hanlon-BlogPhoto-300x300Indianapolis, Indiana – Former federal prosecutor and current partner at Faegre Baker Daniels LLC, J.P. Hanlon, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a new federal judge in the Southern District of Indiana. Hanlon has experience in investigation and enforcement proceedings conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and other government agencies, as well as representing clients in high-stakes civil litigation.

After graduating magna cum laude from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1996, Hanlon went on to clerk for the Honorable Robert L. Miller Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Hanlon is a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panels for both the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. He also supports the local Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law by participating on the Wrongful Conviction Clinic Advisory Committee. Hanlon will be a great asset to the Southern District as they have been trying to recover from a heavy workload after a longtime judge took senior status in 2014.

Indianapolis, Indiana – Partner from Barnes & Thornburg, James Sweeney, has beenSweeney-BlogPhoto unanimously voted to fill the vacancy created by Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District of Indiana. In November 2017, Sweeney was nominated to fill the vacancy by President Donald Trump. Sweeney will be the first judge to join the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in eight years.

Prior to attending law school, Sweeney earned a B.S. with merit from the United States Naval Academy. He then graduated from the University Notre Dame Law School magna cum laude in 1996. Sweeney subsequently served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable John Daniel Tinder of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District and for the Honorable James L. Ryan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before joining Barnes & Thornburg.

BlogPhoto-206x300INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (December 22, 2017):

More changes are coming to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, as District Judge William T. Lawrence has notified President Donald J. Trump of his intention to take senior status effective July 1, 2018.

Judge Lawrence will continue to render substantial judicial service as a senior judge. President Trump, with the guidance of Indiana’s United States Senators Joseph S. Donnelly and Todd C. Young, will nominate Judge Lawrence’s successor.


Indianapolis, IndianaMatthew P. Brookman was sworn in as a Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana earlier this month.

Judge Bookman was previously employed by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. In 2010, he received the Director’s Award from United States Attorney General Eric Holder for superior performance for his work in the prosecution of United States v. Jarvis Brown, et al., a quadruple homicide. Judge Brookman’s early career included the private practice of law as well as government positions in Missouri.

Judge Brookman received his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 1993 and spent the beginning part of his career in private practice and working for the government in Missouri.

Changes to Delivery of E-mailed Notices of Electronic Filing (NEFs)


Effective January 4, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana will implement important new changes in the delivery of e-mailed Notices of Electronic Filing (“NEFs”). The court’s CM/ECF system will begin generating NEFs for both docketed and e-filed events in sealed cases and for sealed entries in non-sealed cases. For more information, click here.

Sealed filings are governed by Local Rule 5-11 and Local Criminal Rule 49.1-2. Attorney e-filers are encouraged to review updates to the court’s ECF Policies and Procedures Manual (Sections 11 and 18), which address changes in service requirements for sealed filings.


Indianapolis, Indiana – The Honorable Richard L. Young, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, recently announced the selection of New Albany attorney Van T. Willis as part-time United States Magistrate Judge. Mr. Willis’ appointment will be made upon completion of a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check, a process that can take a few months. Once appointed, he will fill the vacancy created by the passing of The Honorable Michael G. Naville, who served the court from November 1995 to September 2014.

As the Magistrate Judge in the New Albany Division of the Southern District of Indiana, Mr. Willis will preside over preliminary criminal proceedings in that division. He will also continue in the private practice of law as a senior partner with the firm of Kightlinger & Gray, LLP. He has been with the firm since 1991, and his primary areas of practice are civil rights, corporate and business law, employment, insurance defense litigation, trademark and copyright infringement, and worker’s compensation. Prior to joining Kightlinger & Gray, from 1989 to 1991, Mr. Willis served as a law clerk to United States District Judge Gene E. Brooks.

Mr. Willis was born and raised in Franklin, Kentucky. He received a business administration degree from the University of Kentucky in 1983, then attended law school there, graduating in 1988. Mr. Willis was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1988 and is also admitted to practice before the Indiana Bar; the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Western District of Kentucky, and Eastern District of Kentucky; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association, Kentucky Bar Association, Floyd County Bar Association, Louisville Bar Association, DRI, and Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana.

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Indianapolis, Indiana – The Southern District of Indiana has released a public notice regarding the reappointment of Incumbent Magistrate Judge Craig M. McKee. Magistrate Judge McKee (pictured left) is currently in office at Terre Haute, Indiana, and his current term is set to expire on August 22, 2015.

By law, the Court is required to seek and establish a panel to reconsider the reappointment of Magistrate Judge McKee to a new four-year term. Comments from members of the bar and the public are invited as to the reappointment. All comments should be directed to Laura A. Briggs, Clerk, Attn: Reappointment Panel, United States District Court, 46 East Ohio Street, Room 105, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 or via email to:

Comments must be received no later than August 29, 2014.

Indianapolis, Indiana – The Southern District of Indiana is beginning a pilot program that will allow active hyperlinks to be included within e-filed and court-issued documents. Hyperlinks picture-insd.pngwill allow immediate access by the reader to the referenced materials, i.e., case management and electronic court filing system (“CM/ECF”) filings, case and statute citations, attachments, and exhibits.

During the initial phase of the pilot program, the court will be issuing a limited number of entries and orders containing hyperlinks. The hyperlinks may be page-specific. For instance, an order may contain a hyperlink to a specific page of a specific affidavit, which will be accessible with one click. Access to court-issued documents will continue to be available via the Notice of Electronic Filing (“NEF”) email system.

The next, and most important, phase of the pilot program will involve a small group of attorneys e-filing documents with hyperlinks. When utilized by attorneys, hyperlinks in briefs and other court filings will provide quick, easy, and pinpoint access to particular sections of a case, or to specific filings in the court’s record, adding another level of persuasion to their writing. Hyperlinking will also be a great benefit to the court, allowing members of the judiciary and their staff to quickly and easily review case-supporting materials.

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