(Dec. 31, 1944 – Sept. 6, 2005). Krahulik, an Indianapolis native whose father had immigrated from Czechoslovakia, graduated from North Central High School, Indiana University, and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He entered private law practice, working primarily at Bingham Summers Welsh & Spilman (1971-1990) where he became the firm’s managing partner.

In 1987, Krahulik represented Indiana Secretary of State Evan Bayh when Republicans initiated legal proceedings to have Bayh declared ineligible to run for governor on grounds that he did not meet the state constitution’s residency requirement. The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Krahulik’s and Bayh’s favor, an exemplar of nonpartisan judicial decision-making as four of the Court’s five justices were Republicans.

Bayh was elected governor in 1988. Two years later, Bayh appointed Krahulik from a list of nominees compiled by the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Supreme Court, effective December 14, 1990.

Krahulik joined the Court during a period of transition. In 1988, the state constitution had been amended to give the Court far more discretion in selecting cases for review that it deemed most important. In this new environment, Krahulik was a prolific author of decisions in both criminal and non-criminal cases.

One theme that permeated both Krahulik’s criminal and civil jurisprudence was a deep and abiding faith in the jury system. For example, he authored an opinion for the Court setting aside a death sentence where the jury had recommended life and wrote many opinions reversing decisions in civil cases that had been decided without first being submitted to a jury. Several opinions that Krahulik wrote for the Court moderately expanded the rights of victims to recover damages for wrongful acts and negligence. In total, Krahulik authored approximately 140 majority opinions for the Court, making a significant, lasting, and positive mark on Indiana law.

Krahulik’s tenure also coincided with a transition in the Court’s mission as it took on much broader responsibilities for managing and improving the Indiana judicial system. Krahulik was active in these court reform initiatives. He took the lead in an ambitious project to reduce the state’s law of evidence, theretofore contained only in court decisions, to an enumerated set of rules. In addition, he persuaded the Court to adopt a program called “IOLTA” (“interest on lawyer trust accounts”) to assist in providing low-income Hoosiers access to the civil justice system.

Krahulik’s prominence as a justice brought attention to his commitment to physical fitness, especially when he competed in the 1992 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Krahulik resigned from the Court on November 1, 1993. He briefly took a position in private industry in Cincinnati before returning to Indianapolis and private law practice with his sons David and Sam. In 2003, he was diagnosed with a rare and fast-spreading cancer and, while an experimental treatment gave him a reprieve from the original prognosis, the disease took his life two years later.

Revised June 2021

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