Z. Mae Jimison, the first black woman to serve as a judge on the Marion Superior Court, died today. She was 64.
Jimison was an appointed judge from 1988 to 1990. She was on the City-County Council from 1992-95 and ran as a Democratic candidate for mayor in 1995, losing to Republican Stephen Goldsmith.
Jimison was elected to the bench in 1996, but lost her bid for reelection six years later. Her office had become known for missing records and mistakes. At one point, then-Prosecutor Scott Newman said her court had run “off the rails.”
Jimison is credited with creating the Marion County Drug Court.
Marion Superior Judge Cynthia Ayers today paid tribute to Jimison.
“As the first black woman appointed to the Superior Court of Marion County, she crossed a historic barrier and opened doors for other qualified women to become part of the judiciary in this state,” Ayers said in a statement.
“Her insistence on fairness and impartiality for all litigants, her dedication to justice, and her exemplary service to the court will long be remembered by all.”
Jimison was hopeful as she prepared to leave office in 2002.
“I always believe I should let God order my steps,” she said in a Star interview.
“I also believe that when he closes a door, he always opens a window. I am looking for my windows.”