Law Clerk/Administrative: Karen Butler Reisinger
Phone: (317) email@example.com
Judge McKinney has passed away on September 20, 2017. Please click here for the Press Release, dated September 22, 2017.
For years, when Judge McKinney and I saw one another, he would always address any comment that I made with the remark, “well, alrighty then!” It related to a very funny moment on a case that took place in front of him years ago, so here it is,
At that time, I was representing a gentlemen who was charged with a federal felony relating to his possession of an endangered species. He had formerly been running a well-known firearms facility in Hamilton County, and he had won a shooting contest taking place in Las Vegas. His prize was a very expensive rifle. On his way back to Indiana, he stopped and tested it by shooting a bird in the distance. Unfortunately, without thinking about it, he picked up the bird and brought it back to his facility in Indiana. There, he had it stuffed and displayed.
Shortly thereafter, one of the participants quickly identified the bird as an endangered species and reported it to the appropriate authorities. Thereafter, my client was charged in federal court.
Subsequently fired from his job, he now had a position in another state. We negotiated a resolution to a misdemeanor because that would allow him to support himself by legally carrying a firearm. Thereafter, he flew back into Indianapolis for his guilty plea and sentencing hearing before Judge McKinney, and I picked him up at the airport.
As I drove him to Federal Court, I was reminded that he had a terrible hearing problem resulting from his years of firearms use. In that regard, I told him to pay attention as I thought it wouldn’t be a problem. Clearly, I was wrong.
When we appeared in Court, my client was leaning forward at the podium as he was addressed by Judge McKinney. As always, the Judge was kind and outgoing, and began the guilty plea hearing by reminding my client that he was charged with a felony.
At that point, my client quickly erupted. Approaching the Judge in front of the podium, he vociferously asserted that he could not have a felony conviction due to the fact that it would cost him his livelihood. As he leaned forward attempting to hear, the Judge tried to quiet him by reminding him that he was pleading to a misdemeanor due to a resolution negotiated by his counsel. Given that I was hanging on with my hands to the back of his shirt, I tried to drag him back to the podium. At that point, my client paused, stood facing the Judge in front of the podium, pointed at the Judge with both of his hands as if he was imitating firearms, moved his thumbs forward, and said loudly, “Well, alrighty then.”
Both the Judge and I laughed loudly as I reassured my to client to rejoin me behind the podium and everything would be alright,. That was a memorable moment that neither the Judge nor I would ever forget. As things stand now, I wish he could hear me say that I will do my very best to honor the experience of being in front of him in court over the years. I feel that somewhere he is smiling while saying, “alrighty then.”
~ Robert W. Hammerle
I experienced shock and disbelief on learning of His Honor’s death. The loss will be borne by our legal community, but so much more by family, friends and all those Judge McKinney touched in any capacity. Judge McKinney was first, a caring and humane person who was a paradigm of the beatitudes. He searched for justice, and balanced it with mercy. From the first time I appeared before him in Johnson County Circuit Court, through his tenure in the Southern District, His Honor never denigrated, pontificated or abused judicial office in his oversight of lawyers and litigants. I only knew him in his professional life, but that life is a lesson to all of us in the legal profession and the justice system. An expression of faith is more important than ‘may it please the Court’—May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him. Godspeed Judge Larry McKinney, always with us, but obedient to a change of venue from a power beyond appeal.
I only wish I could hear one more of his “observations” that would crack up a courtroom full of lawyers…………..
~ Gary P. Price
As a student member of the Indianapolis American Inn of Court, I was lucky enough to land on Judge McKinney’s team and to work with him on a group presentation of “Legal Jeopardy.” The game was Judge McKinney’s brainchild and, in retrospect, it spoke volumes about him. The game featured genuinely difficult questions about the law and history – Judge McKinney was a lifetime student of both – and it was lighthearted . . . and funny. Judge McKinney loved to have fun and to make sure those around him were having fun. His sense of humor is legendary, yet he somehow always seemed to be funny without making a joke at another person’s expense.
More recently, I had the privilege of traveling with Judge McKinney to Birmingham, Alabama and to Washington DC with the Indiana Bar Foundation. Over a long weekend in Birmingham a year ago, Judge McKinney and I shared several conversations about how inspirational it was to hear from women and men who were on the front lines of the fight for Civil Rights. Judge McKinney soaked in the entire weekend and has spoken of it often, inspiring others with the experience and information that had inspired him. Judge McKinney also was passionate about civics education, and he was incredibly generous with his time and talent. He judged countless We the People competitions, including the national finals earlier this year in Washington DC. He was incredibly proud when Indiana teams placed third and fourth nationally, and we waited patiently for the opportunity to personally and graciously congratulate the participating teachers and students.
Judge McKinney led by example -- as a civil servant in the best sense. Along the way he challenged and inspired countless attorneys, myself included, to be better lawyers and better people. I am grateful to have known Judge McKinney and will miss him.
~ Carl Hayes
Larry McKinney was a great friend and a fine judge. The many stories about Judge McKinney show that it was a pleasure to try a case with him. His humor and graciousness helped lawyers to serve the public well and achieve justice. There can be no higher tribute for a judge.
~ Richard L. Darst
Counsel has sought guidance on the Court’s procedures for issuing protective orders and seeking to file documents under seal. On January 15, 2015, a Uniform Protective Order was approved by the Court.
Uniform Protective Order (Approved by the Court 1/15/2015)