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Tanya Walton Pratt
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BARPAC, Indiana Bar Foundation
Federal Judiciary
Last updated: 3/23/2018
Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt
Government Member
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U.S. District Court, S.ern District of Indiana
46 E. Ohio St
Room 330
46204  United States
 [ Map ]
317 229-3981 (Phone)
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Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, Indianapolis, Eleventh District, was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, on June 15, 2010. Judge Pratt is the first African American federal judge in Indiana history. She fills the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge David F. Hamilton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

From 2008 until her appointment to the bench of the district court, Judge Pratt served as a judge in the Marion Superior Court, Probate Division. Previously, she served as presiding judge of Superior Court, Criminal Division 1, from Jan. 1, 1997 until Dec. 31, 2008. Prior to her election as judge, she was a partner at the Indianapolis firm Walton & Pratt, where she practiced in the areas of family law, personal injury, probate and criminal law. From 1994-96, she served as a master commissioner in the Marion Superior Court. Judge Pratt was also a public defender in Marion Superior Court, Criminal Division, for five years.

Judge Pratt is a member of the Indianapolis (past vice president), Marion County (member, board of directors) and Indiana State (member, House of Delegates; secretary, board of governors, 2009-10) bar associations. She currently serves as a member of the Codes of Conduct Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States and the Seventh Circuit Pattern Civil Jury Instructions Committee. She is active with the United Negro College Fund (advisory board), Cathedral High School (board of trustees) and the American Inn of Court (Master). Judge Pratt has served as faculty for ICLEF’s Annual Practice Skills Summit, Indiana Judicial Conference and the Indianapolis Bar Association. In 2005, she was Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard’s appointee on the Indiana Sen-tencing Policy Study Commission. She has served as a member of the Marion Superior Court Executive Committee and from 2001-07 as chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Commission in Indiana.

Judge Pratt received her B.A. from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., in 1981 and her J.D. from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

She was born in Indianapolis in 1959.

Professional enjoyment: It may sound a bit cliché, but the advancement of jurisprudence and making this nation a more just society through the legal system provide for an awesome feeling.

Your inspiration: Not what, but who inspired me to become a lawyer – my father, the late Charles A. Walton Sr., was a criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis and a state representative in the Indiana General Assembly in the late ’60s. As a child, I attended civil rights rallies, Democratic Party picnics and Saturday court sessions with my dad. Because of him, I always thought being a lawyer was very cool.

Why bar association involvement: As a young lawyer, I was attracted to bar association membership for the networking, leadership and professional development opportunities. As a more senior member of the profession, bar membership provides rewarding bench and bar relationships and opportunities to mentor.

If not a lawyer: I would own a floral shop and be a master florist.

Fav hobbies: I enjoy genealogy, gardening, cooking and spending time with my family. Fav book or author and current reading: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis. Fav vacation spot: Italy. Our two-week vacation to Tuscany, Rome and Florence with friends from law school was divine! Fav food or restaurant: chocolate cake. Top of my bucket list: travel on the Orient Express.
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