World's Youngest Judge
Marc L. Griffin has entered the Guinness World Records as the World’s Youngest Judge on his accomplishment of 37 years ago. Griffin was commissioned a Justice of the Peace at age 17 on February 19, 1974, by then Indiana Governor Otis R. Bowen after being appointed to the position by the Johnson County Board of Commissioners to fill a vacancy in office.
“It was quite by chance,” says Griffin when asked how he was awarded his spot in the Guinness World Records almost four decades after having made history. Now a lawyer, Griffin was conducting research for a case when he stumbled across a news article that took him by surprise. The headline read, “Texas Man Credited as World’s Youngest Judge” and stated that a man was 18 when he won election as Justice of the Peace. The election in 1990 landed that man in the Guinness World Records, a title Guinness said the man still held.
Griffin knew that he was actually the World’s Youngest Judge and that title belonged to him. He contacted Guinness World Records via their website to inquire about setting the record straight. “I thought they were just records of stunts, like doing the most jumping jacks,” said Griffin when asked why he didn’t apply for his rightful spot in the world records 37 years ago.
Griffin received nationwide news coverage one month after his appointment when an article by the Associated Press reported that the Indiana Attorney General had issued an official opinion that Griffin was too young to hold office. Griffin was vindicated when a circuit court held that the Attorney General’s opinion was incorrect. He later won contested primary and general elections to succeed his appointive term of office. The teenager JP handled both civil and criminal cases and officiated hundreds of wedding ceremonies. After the JP courts were abolished by the Indiana legislature, Griffin finished his education and was awarded his law degree by Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.
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