Longtime Marion County Judge, who has faced criticism in recent months, set to retire

INDIANAPOLIS — A longtime Marion Superior Court judge who has faced criticism in recent months for what some officials called a lenient punishment in the killing of a police officer, is set to retire at the end of the year.

Judge Mark Stoner said he had always planned to retire after serving on the bench for 24 years.

“I made that official when I did not request to be placed on the ballot with the Secretary of State on Feb. 9th of this year,” Stoner said via email.

In April, the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police called for Stoner to step down from the bench, citing what the union considered a lenient punishment of the man who killed Officer Breann Leath.

Elliahs Dorsey, who was found guilty but mentally ill in the killing, was sentenced to a little over five years for Leath's death. He was also sentenced to 40 years for the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend, with 25 years in prison and 15 years on mental health probation.

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Instead of convicting him of murder for Leath's death, the jury found him guilty of a lesser reckless homicide charge that carries a maximum punishment of six years. Dorsey was sentenced to a little over five years for the crime and received credit for good behavior and the four years he'd already spent awaiting trial in jail.

Stoner was the presiding judge in the Dorsey case. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Chris Bailey and the city’s mayor Joe Hogsett both stated they were disappointed in the sentence for Leath’s killing.

Julie Armstrong, the executive director of the Indianapolis Bar Association, came to Stoner’s defense in an opinion piece published in IndyStar.

“Misrepresenting the facts and the law to cast blame on a specific judge and the courts at large is misplaced,” Armstrong wrote. “If reckless homicide of a police officer should carry with it a harsher sentence than the maximum of six years it currently carries, we have a responsibility to inform our legislators on this issue and to advocate for changes to the law.”

Stoner, 69, worked as a prosecutor for about two decades before becoming a judge.

“It is time to spend time with my grandkids, to travel, and to play and enjoy music and the arts,” he said of his decision to retire.

Contact Jake Allen at jake.allen@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jake_Allen19.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Longtime Marion Judge Mark Stoner set to retire at end of year