The Honorable Judge Leslie C. Shively
by Zachary Stuard
The Honorable Judge Les Shively took the bench several years ago upon his appointment to the Vanderburgh County Superior Court by former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. Judge Shively’s appointment served to fill the vacant position left by the Honorable Judge David Kiely after his election to the Vanderburgh County Circuit Court. When the Judge Kiely began his duties within the Circuit Court his position remained vacant until March, during which time Governor Daniels reviewed numerous applicants for the position, ultimately settling on the vastly experienced Judge Shively.
Judge Shively practiced law for a total of 32 years prior to his appointment to the bench. During his 32 years practicing his primary focus was real estate litigation. His practice dealt with numerous issues concerning property rights, issues with development, contract disputes, land use regulation, property taxes, and construction matters. In 2004 Judge Shively served as the chair for the Zoning and Land Use section of the Indiana Bar Association as well as representing the Evansville Association of Realtors for fifteen years.
Judge Shively realized that he wished to pursue law during his sophomore year of high school. His parents ingrained him with a high level of respect and taught him how to behave and interact with adults at a very young age. As a result of this, he received exposure to professionals at a very early age, mainly attorneys that were friends of his family. During his sophomore year of high school, Judge Shively had the opportunity to shadow then prosecutor William Brune and deputy prosecutors Jack Davis and David Miller as part of a school program that allowed students to shadow professionals for a week. Judge Shively had the opportunity to observe a jury trial during this time and was fascinated with the experience.
Judge Shively went on to Indiana University to receive his B.S. and accounting degree in 1976 and his Masters of Business Administration in 1980. During graduate school, Judge Shively also attended the IU School of Law in Indianapolis and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1980.
During his time in law school, Judge Shively came to know Dean Harvey. Harvey told Shively that law school would only account for a small percentage of necessary preparation to be a lawyer. Harvey went on to say that the first firm an attorney went to work for after school was vital to the shaping of a good lawyer. Judge Shively, with Harvey’s words in mind, sought work with the Johnson, Carroll, & Griffith law firm upon his completion of law school and worked at the firm from 1980 to 1989. “Working for Johnson, Carroll, & Griffith was an amazing opportunity.” Shively spoke very highly of his time at the firm, “I am very grateful to the attorneys that I was fortunate enough to work with directly out of law school. They are outstanding attorneys and the knowledge that I gained while working was invaluable.” Judge Shively stated that the subsequent experiences working with Terry Noffsinger and the firm of Fine & Hatfield were also instrumental in his professional development.
Judge Shively has also been a part of numerous boards and associations. He has served on the Indiana University Board of Trustees, Indiana State Student Assistance Commission, Indiana Board of Law Examiners, the Vanderburgh County Election Board and State Board of Trustees for Ivy Tech Community College.
Judge Shively’s appointment comes at an interesting time. July 1st of this year brought with it a new expungement law known as the “Second Chance Law.” This law, as its name suggests, allows for offenders to have their offenses expunged contingent on their fulfillment of certain statutory pre-requisites. The idea behind the law is to allow past offenders to have a chance to obtain jobs that they may not have previously been able to obtain with a felony on their record.
A new criminal code will become effective July 1, 2014. This is the first major revision since 1977. The purpose of the new act, in part, is to ease the burden on the facilities of the Indiana Department of Corrections and increase the utilization of community correction programs. Judge Shively believes these changes will present significant challenges at the local level.
One of Judge Shively’s most rewarding experiences has occurred in family law cases. Those decisions he hopes, have fostered a foundation for parents to work more effectively for the best interest of their children post-divorce.
Though Judge Shively’s time is spread thinly through his involvement in the community and his time on the bench, he does find time to himself. It is in these moments that he enjoys the quiet hobby of reading and travel with his family facilitated by his wife, Linda, who is a travel agent with Ambassador Travel.
Judge Shively’s appointment was of superior quality and we may rest assured that he and the other judges are serving our community to the absolute best of their individual and combined abilities. Their policies and programs uphold the standard of excellence that has many other counties around the state taking notice.
FOOTNOTE: This year’s awards luncheon will be held at Tropicana-Evansville Walnut rooms A and B on March 19, 2018. The registration begins at 11:30 am, the event officially starts at 12 noon on March 19, 2018. Reservations for this event may be obtained by calling 812-774-8011. We have only two (2) tables left to sell. Deadline for registration is March 17, 2018. Last year’s event was a sellout.