Judge Olu A. Stevens will be the “Distinguished Honoree,” Friday, April 22 at 6:00 p.m. for the James C. Kimbrough Bar Association’s annual “Legacy Ball.” The public is invited to this both entertaining and educational event at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary. Tickets are $75.00, which includes dinner and can be purchased by calling 219-614-4889.
Judge Stevens was appointed to the bench in July 1, 2009 by Governor Steve Beshear. He was elected by the voters in November of 2010 and re-elected in 2014 for an 8-year term.
Stevens received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1992 and his J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1995.
In October, Judge Stevens came to national attention when he halted a drug trial and dismissed the entire jury panel, asking for a new group to be sent up because the potential jurors were “not representative of the community.”
And on Nov. 18, 2014, after a 13-member jury chosen for a theft trial ended up with no black jurors, Stevens found it “troublesome” and dismissed the panel at the request of a defense attorney. “There is not a single African-American on this jury and (the defendant) is an African-American man,” Stevens said, according to a video of the trial. “I cannot in good conscience go forward with this jury.”
“I will continue to treat each person that comes before me with dignity and respect. I will continue to make decisions based upon an impartial application of the law to the facts of the case, without regard to the identity or the race of the litigant. I will continue to allow individuals who appear before me to fully present their positions before making a ruling on the case.” Judge Olu A. Stevens
Other award presentations during the evening will include: Judge of the Year, Attorney of the Year, the Beacon Award and the Hilbert Bradley Scholarship presentation. Dancing will follow the program.