This is the seventeenth of our Court Times articles that highlight up close and personal a member of the Indiana Judiciary. Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division, Judge Marilyn A. Moores is our judge featured in this issue. She received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University and her law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Governor Mitch Daniels appointed her in March, 2005 to fill the unexpired term of Judge James W. Payne, who was appointed by the Governor to serve in his administration as Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Prior to being appointed to the bench, Judge Moores was a partner in the Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad, LLP. She concentrated her private practice in the areas of federal litigation, family law, governmental litigation, civil rights and commercial matters. While in private practice, she was elected and served one term from 1995-1999 as an At-Large member of the Indianapolis City-County Council.
Judge Moores has proudly served her state and country as a member of the Indiana Army National Guard. She holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and serves in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. She recently returned from a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan and has written an article about her experience in this issue of Court Times.
While attending law school, Judges Moores worked full time as a law clerk in the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the City of Indianapolis. She remained after her law school graduation and continued to work as an Assistant Corporation Counsel. It was there that she met her husband of twenty-one years, George Burge, a Sergeant for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Judge Moores and her husband have two grown children, two grandchildren, six horses, and four dogs. They spend much of their free time riding, training, showing, and caring for their horses.
What do you like most and least about being a trial judge?
What I like most is being where the rubber meets the road—I am in a position to hear the evidence, see the witnesses and determine a result. What I like least is that no matter what I do, someone is unhappy.
What was your major in college and why did you decide to study law?
My majors in college were Spanish and Journalism. I applied to law school to appease my attorney father who was sure I would never earn a living with those majors. I greeted my acceptance to law school with a four letter expletive and I have loved every second of my law career. Apparently, Father knew best.
What would you do if you were not a judge?
If I were not a Judge—and were independently wealthy—I would breed, raise, ride and show American Saddlebred horses. If I was not a Judge and was not independently wealthy, I would again practice law. I loved the constant newness, the opportunity to advocate and the daily challenges of a law practice.
Who are the people you admire most?
First and foremost, I admire my father—he was a widower with four small children and a busy law practice and yet always had time for us and taught us the important lessons of life-integrity, tenacity, strength of character and love. I admire my former law partner, Irwin Levin, who taught me how to practice in a solvent way and who always was there for the underdog.
What are your hobbies or favorite leisure activities and how did you first get involved?
My favorite leisure activities are saddle-seat horseback riding and spending time with my grandsons, ages 6 and 9. I first got involved with horses after spending a year in chemotherapy, undergoing bilateral mastectomies and a hysterectomy and three breast reconstruction surgeries for breast cancer. I was so weak and needed to get my strength back. I decided it would be so much more fun to work out with horses than a bunch of sweaty folks at the gym. I have found it renews my soul as well as my body. What can I say about my grandsons? They are simply the two cutest boys in the world!
What are your favorite books, and have you read any recently, or are you reading now, that you would recommend?
I have very eclectic reading tastes. I read The Secret History of the World while I was in Afghanistan and loved it. More than anything, it captured my understanding and belief about why we are here and what it is all about. I have read the entire Janet Evanovich series on Stephanie Plum—not high literature, but the only books I can honestly say make me laugh out loud.
Where did you grow up and how would you describe your childhood?
I grew up here in Indianapolis and was always a tomboy who kept snakes, toads, frogs, and lizards. After my mother’s death when I was 9, my sister was 8 and my brothers were 6, my father was a widower for two years before marrying my mom, who had two children whom she had adopted during her first marriage. They were the same age as my sister, so we ended up with one 11-year-old, three 9-year-olds and two 8-year-olds—six kids within three years of each other. It was pandemonium all the time.
Do you have a favorite quote?
Yes, my own: “You gotta make your own fun. If the Army wanted you to have fun, they would have issued it to you.”
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
High in the Teton Mountains, having packed everything in on mules and ridden horses to a remote camp site. Until Afghanistan, I had never seen stars like that.
Do you have a favorite meal, recipe and restaurant?
My favorite meal is beef stroganoff and the recipe is my mother’s. I would have to say that my favorite restaurant is Yen Ching—the best Szechuan food in Indy!