This is the twentieth of our Court Times articles that highlight up close and personal a member of the Indiana Judiciary.
Cass County Superior Court Judge Richard A. “Rick” Maughmer is our judge featured in this issue. He received both his undergraduate degree and his law degree from the University of Nebraska.
Following graduation from law school in 1979, he established a small town law practice in Logansport. In 1983, he began working part-time in the Cass County Prosecutor’s office, and was appointed by Governor Robert D. Orr as the Cass County Prosecutor in 1986. He maintained a law practice in addition to being county prosecutor.
Trying to balance the demands of a family, the Air Force Reserve, and a private practice, he elected to go full-time as a prosecutor in 1991. He continued in that position until the citizens of Cass County elected him as Judge of the new Cass Superior Court 2, which opened for business in January of 2001.
After nine months and fifteen days on the bench he was recalled to active duty with the Air Force as a result of the Global War on Terrorism. Judge Maughmer was able to maintain his judicial position due to the support of then Chief Justice Randall Shepard, the Indiana Judicial Center, his court staff, the Cass County Bar, the community, and senior judges in his self-described “prolonged and then periodic absences.”
Judge Maughmer and his wife, Vicki, have three grown daughters, Shae, Valerie, and Kathlene who reside in Washington, DC, Seattle, and Chicago. Rick and Vicki Maughmer will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary this October.
What do you like most and least about being a trial court judge?
Most: Coming to work every day! What a great profession to put food on the table.
Least: Attorneys who are unprepared, attorneys who cannot tell time, and attorneys who do not provide the best possible representation for their clients.
What was your major in college and why did you decide to study law?
My third year on active duty with the Air Force I was assigned as a full-time college student. Upon graduation (Criminal Justice/Corrections) in August 1975 the Air Force was downsizing from the Vietnam conflict and decided they had too many pilots and navigators. I attempted to become a trooper with the Indiana State Police. They said that my eyesight did not meet their standards, though the Air Force found me qualified to fly. Not having an alternate plan, I thought I would give law school a try. While I respect the organization, today I am gratified that ISP found I did not possess the “right stuff” to become a trooper.
What would you have done if you had not become a judge?
I would have continued my career as a prosecutor or returned to active duty in the Air Force. In my 37 years of service I had many assignments in the intelligence community, was also a Communications Squadron Commander, Security Forces Squadron Commander, Deputy Director Air Force Reserve Command Security Forces, and Vice Commander Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service. I retired in August 2009 as a Colonel.
Who are the people you most admire?
Too many to single out here but they all share the same trait: Doing the right thing regardless of the consequence and the audience.
What are your hobbies or favorite leisure activities, and how did you first get involved?
I love being active and therefore enjoy several leisure activities: snow skiing, cycling, running, sailing, golfing, and flying, not necessarily in that order.
What are your favorite books, and have you read any recently, or are reading now, that you would recommend?
Other than for work or to prepare for a Sunday school lesson (Bible and commentaries), I do not voluntarily read anything! If I have free time, I would rather be snow skiing, cycling, running, sailing, golfing, or flying.
Where did you grow up and how would you describe your childhood?
I grew up in Walton, Indiana, a town of approximately one thousand people. My childhood was fantastic! In the summers, prior to becoming a teenager, at dawn I would mount my bicycle and not return home until sunset. Every house was an opportunity for learning. While most are now gone, I am thankful for all the men and women in the community who took their time to interact with us kids as we were growing up.
Do you have a favorite quote(s)?
“Hell is a prepared place for unprepared people.”
“Being humble doesn’t mean you think less of yourself, but think of yourself less.”
“Don’t reject the original because you see a bad copy.”
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Vicki and I are still looking, but year after year, we seem to gravitate back to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
Do you have a favorite meal, recipe, and restaurant?
Meal: sushi and sashimi.
Recipe: Darlene’s cabbage rolls (Darlene Swaney is the wife of Colonel Mike Swaney, my boss when I was activated after 9/11 to Warner Robins AFB Georgia. They took pity on me and invited me into their home once a week for dinner.)
Restaurant: Latitude 31º, located on the Historic Wharf in the Landmark District of Jekyll Island, Georgia.