Zionsville Times Sentinel

March 12, 2014

Indiana prosecutors lose longtime advocate

By Maureen Hayden
CNHI Statehouse Bureau

---- — INDIANAPOLIS – When Steve Johnson, longtime advocate for Indiana’s county prosecutors, died unexpectedly recently at the age of 66, I tweeted that the Statehouse had lost “a quiet voice in a place of bombast.” Lisa Swaim, Cass County’s chief deputy prosecutor, described it differently. For prosecutors, she said, losing Johnson was like losing Superman. Both are true. For the nearly 15 years that Johnson led the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council – and the 25 years he spent as its research director – he exhibited both the mild manner and man-of-steel qualities admired by so many. “He was the most knowledgeable man I ever met about Indiana criminal law,” said lawyer and state Senate President David Long. “And his word was his bond.” Being one of the smartest guys in the Statehouse is impressive. Being one of the most trusted, even more so. On criminal law Johnson was a go-to expert for legislators from both parties. As his successor, David Powell, told me: “He didn’t embellish.” That was Johnson’s value. He was an effective advocate for prosecutors and victims of crime, but he didn’t make his case with hyperbole. See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.