Though it’s not a morning ritual, a 3 a.m. awakening by the police isn’t necessarily atypical for Mary Margaret Lloyd. Crime never sleeps, which means the 48-year-old Vanderburgh County superior court judge often is asked to sign off on search and arrest warrants at inconvenient times. It’s just a part of the job.
Lloyd, the daughter and sister of two former Evansville mayors, has been a judge for the past 11 years, presiding over a variety of cases, such as family, divorce, criminal, and civil. Her mornings typically consist of collection cases, such as debt collection; motion hearings, which are often used to resolve preliminary issues before a trial begins; and criminal arraignments, where the defendant is initially informed of his rights and charges. By lunchtime, Lloyd, the new chief judge of the superior court as of March 7, usually opts to dine in, just in case more warrants need a judge’s approval. The afternoons are spent “crossing out all of my criminal stuff,” she says, which includes guilty pleas, felony cases, protective orders, and criminal pre-trials, where she meets with both attorneys in a case. “It is a busy job,” she says. “That’s something I always liked about law. I can usually find something to work on.”
Finding her way to law school wasn’t a natural path for the only female judge in the county. Lloyd’s first two years of college were at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Ind., where she changed her major as if it were each day’s outfit. “I was as much of an undecided student as you can possibly be,” she says. “I was interested in dentistry, veterinary medicine, and even chiropractic.” After transferring to the University of Evansville for her junior and senior years, Lloyd settled on radio and television communications, the major she went on to get her undergraduate degree in.
Post-graduation, however, Lloyd still hadn’t found her niche. While she was working retail, her godfather, a former magistrate judge, helped her get an internship with the Vanderburgh County circuit court. Her days then consisted of interviews with criminal defendants and typing up reports for judges. “I really loved it,” she says. “I was fascinated.” This sentiment influenced her to pursue a law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, and hasn’t dwindled even more than 20 years later. “My job is never the same. You always hear something you’ve never heard before,” she says. “I see situations that would shock most people.”