Stanley Levine to step down as Allen Superior judge after 20 years on the bench; creates second vacancy

Judge Stanley Levine will step down at the end of the year. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

Allen Superior Court Judge Stanley A. Levine Tuesday announced plans to retire in December after 20 years on the bench and a 55-year legal career.

Levine, who currently serves as administrative judge of Superior Court’s Civil Division and as its probate judge, was appointed by former Gov. Frank O’Bannon in January 1999 and was re-elected in 2002, 2008 and 2014. His final day on the bench will be Dec. 31.

“Adherence to the rule of law is one of the things that make our nation great,” Levine said in a statement. “Every citizen of this nation has access to our court system to settle disputes in a systematic and just fashion. Each time that I have walked into our Allen County Courthouse, I have been awed, not only by the majesty and beauty of this building, but to be a part of this process of dispensing justice. Being a judge . . . has been an enormous responsibility which I have strived to fulfill to the best of my abilities, but an even greater privilege. To all of the people of this county who have given me that privilege, I wish to say sincerely and humbly, ‘Thank you.’ ”

Levine communicated his decision to retire to Chief Justice Loretta Rush of the Indiana Supreme Court on Aug. 13.

Levine is a graduate of South Side High School and recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Before becoming a Judge, he was listed in an annual publication of “The Best Lawyers in America” and was selected as a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

RELATED: Allen Superior Judge John F. Surbeck Jr. says it’s time for retirement

He enlisted in the Indiana Air National Guard in December 1963 and and served until 1971 completing his military career as a captain and staff judge advocate of the 122d Tactical Fighter Group in Fort Wayne. He was president of Legal Aid of Fort Wayne Inc., the Fort Wayne Jewish Federation and the Allen County Bar Association. He also served as legal advisor to Fort Wayne City Council from 1984 to 1995. He has been an elected member of the Board of Managers of the Indiana Judges Association and a Board Member of Saint Joseph Hospital for more than 10 years, and is the vice chair of that board. He was also recognized as a Distinguished Barrister by The Indiana Lawyer in 2010.

During his time on the Civil Division bench he has overseen a variety of complex cases, including personal injury and medical malpractice cases, products liability cases, contract and employment cases, and estate, guardianship and trust litigation. His judicial tasks have involved consideration of multiple motions filed in lawsuits and presiding at numerous motion hearings, bench trials and jury trials every year.

Levine has also worked to improve court facilities. Along with Judges Nancy Eshcoff Boyer and Frances C. Gull, he oversaw the expansion and modernization of Courtroom 107, resulting in an efficient design and state-of-the-art technology and amenities that have been recognized statewide as a model for how to update courtrooms, particularly in historic buildings.

“A good Judge has to have maturity, legal experience, life experience, wisdom and common sense,” Judge David A. Avery of the Allen Superior Court Civil Division. said in a statement. “Judge Levine has all of those . . . He brought considerable experience to his role as a judge. He has worked hard to educate litigants and the public alike on the role of the courts. His contributions to the judiciary will be missed.”

“As a defense lawyer who tries cases all over the state of Indiana, I admire Judge Levine’s approach to his judicial decisions,” said Scott L. Bunnell of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros LLP said in a statement. “He is always patient and thoughtful in his questioning of attorneys, and is extremely fair and impartial to both plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys.”

Levine’s replacement will be appointed by Gov. Eric Holcomb from a group of finalists to be identified by the Allen County Judicial Nominating Commission, and that person will complete the remainder of Levine’s current term, which ends Dec. 31, 2020.

Levine is the second Allen Superior judge to announce his retirement recently. John Surbeck, whose term ends in 2020, also plans to step down at the end of the year after 30 years on the bench.

For a full biography of Judge Levine, visit http://www.allensuperiorcourt.us/meet-the-judges

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