While attending law school, he was a staff member of the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies and Delta Theta Phi, a co-ed law-oriented fraternity. (Now he’s a member of the Miami County, Indiana State and American Bar associations, plus the Indiana Judges Association.)
His list of civic activities is just as deep: President of the Miami County Child Abuse Prevention Council; president of the Board of Directors of the Miami County Chapter of the American Red Cross; Peru Rotary Club for the last 10 years, including one as president; member of the Miami County Community Corrections Advisory Board.
With that kind of background, his work in the trenches, and a loss in 2004 to incumbent Circuit Court Judge Rosemary Higgins Burke, Spahr was ready for the Circuit Court opening that occurred after his father’s death.
Burke had been appointed to fill the position after Bruce Embrey retired before the end of his fifth term. Burke, who had switched from being a Democrat, defeated Wil Siders in the 2004 Republican primary for re-election. Spahr, a Republican, ran as an independent and got 44.4 percent of the vote, despite not garnering votes from anyone who voted a straight party ticket.
When Burke resigned in 2007, both Tim and his father applied for the opening. Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Robert, which, Tim says, “was a very good thing. I am very glad that Dad got to have the opportunity to be a judge. I just wish he could have served in that capacity and been with us longer.”
Understandably, when Spahr became judge, he had a firm grasp of the ins and outs.
Asked how many hours he works a week – presiding, researching rulings, writing decisions and instructions – Spahr responds:
“My work hours can vary quite widely. In a relatively quiet week, I may only work 40 hours. During the week before – or the week of — a jury trial, I very easily can find myself working over 80 hours.