"I look forward to meeting with schools throughout the state to make students more aware of the functions of the judiciary in and out of the courtroom," Clay Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers said.
The new program was developed as part of the Indiana Supreme Court's education program, Courts In The Classroom, and the 12-member Community Relations Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana. The goal is to bring positive awareness to the Indiana judicial process, the courts and develop a relationship with the public.
"We asked judges across the state to volunteer for this outreach project and got a wonderful response," Marion County Superior 2 Court Judge and Committee Chair Robert Altice said in a recent press release about the program. "It is a chance for judges to encourage students in their community and educate them about the judicial branch. Field trips to the court may not be possible for every school district -- this is a way to bring the court to the classroom."
Actively involved with local Red Ribbon Day programs and drug education talks, Akers is looking forward to the experience.
"I enjoy learning what younger children believe is important and how legal decisions have affected their lives," Akers said. "I'm open to discussing any legal topic students are interested in learning about, especially family law issues with the growing impact of divorce on children."
While available to talk to students from elementary through college, Akers hopes to make an impact on the fifth-grade through middle school students. He believes this is the age where children are still open to learning and might not have negative influences in their lives.
"It will be a learning experience for us all," Akers said.
For more information about how the volunteer judges can be used for special events such as Law Day and Constitution Day, or as part of a class lesson plan, teachers can use the online directory at www.in.gov/judiciary/citc/speakers/ to contact a listed judge by using their phone or email, or contact Jennifer Bauer of the Indiana Judicial Center at (317) 232-1313. Akers added local teachers may also contact him at the Clay County Courthouse at 448-9031.
About Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers
Born in Louisville, Ky., in 1952, J. Blaine Akers has lived all but one year of his life in Clay County. He and his wife Teresa have four children, Trevor, 24, Tyler, 23, Millie, 20 and Austin, 18.
1977 -- graduated Indiana State University with degree in Journalism
1984 -- graduated Indiana University Law School
1984-1986 -- attorney for City of Brazil
1984-1985 -- Vigo County Deputy Prosecutor
1986-1987 -- Clay County Chief Deputy Prosecutor
1988-1999 -- worked as Public Defender
1999 -- Putnam County Chief Deputy Prosecutor
1999 -- Appointed to replace retiring Clay Superior Court Judge John P. Stelle
2000 -- Elected as Clay County Superior Court Judge (re-elected in 2006)
2007 -- Completed the Indiana Judges Graduate program that brings together various judges from throughout the state to study current topics on state, national and international law.
Akers has also served on several state committees and judicial boards -- including the Indiana Judicial Conference Board of Directors, the Indiana Judicial Conference Committee on Community Relations and the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program which oversees needs for impaired judges, lawyers and law students -- and recognized by the Hamilton Center and the Vigo County Council for Domestic Abuse for his outstanding judicial work.