Monroe Circuit Court Judge-Division 1 Candidate: Alphonso Manns

Monroe County

Circuit Court Judge, Division 1 Candidate

Alphonso Manns


I graduated from Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree (1964). Upon the persuasive influence of Diane Nash, John Lewis, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. James Woodruff I participated in the sit-ins and the civil rights movement.  Fisk University awarded me the Men’s Senate Man of the Year Award “for outstanding citizenship, scholarship, and moral fibre” and The Fisk University General Alumni Association Leadership Honor “for his contribution to Fisk through enthusiastic participation in academic, social, and religious activities and who has been most influential in fostering and promoting the aims and objectives of Fisk University.”    I graduated from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (1972) and during my studies there I was declared a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation .  I founded the I.U. Chapter of Black American Law Student Association, f/n/a the Black Student Lawyers Association who assisted with recruitment of students and faculty of the law school. I graduated from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs with a Master of Public Affairs (1975). I have done further graduate studies in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, and was affiliated with the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. My research in 1975 for Director Gary Hart and Utility Board of the City of Bloomington headed by Bill Cook during the administration of Mayor Frank McCloskey at the time led to the discovery of PCBs having been deposited in Monroe County through effluents processed through the wastewater treatment system from a local manufacturing plant, creating a community health hazard, and requiring area-wide cleanup. 

I am married to Dollie Stafford Manns having celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary. A preacher’s daughter with a pure heart to serve the poor, children, senior citizens, and animals, she is the absolute love of my life in every way. She is an excellent mother and grandmother to our children.  We raised five (5) children who all attended and graduated from Bloomington High School North.  James, Senghor, Sojourner, Suzanne, and Shawn were all excellent high school athletes.   James, an avid fisherman who knows and has fished probably every pond and lake in Southern Indiana, is an assembly line inspector. Senghor, Sojourner, and Suzanne are graduates of Indiana University. Senghor went on to graduate with a law degree from I.U. McKinley School of Law and now serves as President and CEO of the City of Harrisburg, PA, Public Housing Authority.  Sojourner went on to earn another degree from Ivy Tech Community College and now works as a senior military engineer designer. Shawn is a graduate of Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and along with a B.A. she has a Master of Arts and works as a vice-president for a prominent national bank. Suzanne is a licensed real estate broker and works as a social worker for a state agency. We have eleven (11) grandchildren and two (2) great grandchildren.  I have served on the Board of Directors of Girls, Inc., coached Babe Ruth League baseball, and participated in Booster Club activities at Bloomington High School, as well as coached girls’ and boys’ basketball at the Twin Lakes Sportsplex.  I have also participated in the Franklin Initiative sponsored by the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to educate middle school students about professional careers and other activities across the state to educate students about the legal system. Furthermore, I have served as a judge in the moot court competitions at the I.U. Maurer School of Law and I.U. McKinley School of Law. 

During my lifetime I have worked as a newspaper carrier, a butcher’s helper and clerk, a truck driver’s helper, librarian assistant, security guard, laboratory assistant, legal aide for the Legal Aid Society and field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board, Region 8, in the State of Indiana.  During the period of 1966 - 1969 I served in the U.S. Army and commissioned as an officer.  I served as a platoon leader, battalion intelligence officer and executive officer. I received letters of commendation from my superiors.  Upon graduation from law school I accepted a position offered by Vice-Chancellor Herman C. Hudson to serve as Director of Human Relations for the Bloomington Campus and part-time assistant professor at Indiana University, 1972 – 1974.  Part of my responsibilities was to serve as Secretary to the Equal Educational Opportunity Committee for the Bloomington Campus.  Upon the conclusion of my tenure, after having studied the contributions of President Herman B. Wells,  Professor Martha Dawson in regard to multicultural education, and Special Assistant to the President George Taliaferro in regard to development of the affirmative action program at I.U., I authored and recommended to Indiana University to acknowledge and accept the legal concept of diversity as a public education philosophy.  Later  the U.S. Supreme Court held that the idea of diversity, narrowly tailored, serves as a permissible constitutional  educational  purpose .  A more and in depth study of institutional diversity has been done by Nobel Laureate Professor Elinor Ostrom. During my service at Indiana University, I was also commissioned the rank of lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve for recruitment of potential officers for the U.S. Navy. I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy.

Upon the offer of James Regester, formerly city attorney for the City of Bloomington whom I met in 1975, I joined him as an associate in 1980. I have served as a general and appellate practitioner of law throughout Indiana for the last thirty-five (35) years with consistent professional distinction as declared upon the invitation and admission as a Fellow by the Indiana Bar Foundation. I serve as counsel and board member to the Monroe County NAACP, Cry of the Children Incorporated, and Bertha Missions, Inc. I have served in the District 10 Pro Bono Project to Counselor to the Court, Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network, and provided representation for indigent citizens.  I have served on the Monroe-Bloomington Domestic Violence Task Force of the City of Bloomington for five (5) years and assisted with the organization of the local conference on domestic violence and sexual assault held in October, 2015 procuring seven and half (7.5) hours of continuing education credits for attending lawyers, including ethics. I serve as a counselor to interns from the I.U. Maurer School of Law in the Protective Order Project. I have served on four (4) occasions as an election polling site inspector.   I have engaged or argued, civil and criminal, including the death penalty, before many county courts, the Indiana Court of Appeals, Indiana Supreme Court, U.S. District Court of Southern District of Indiana, U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Southern Indiana, and Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.  I am also a member of the bars of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of California, Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.  My membership also includes the Monroe County Bar Association, where I serve on the Board of Directors, Indiana Bar Association, American Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and the Southern Law Poverty Law Center.

I am a person who believes that diversity, education, and hard work are the keys to generate new ideas to build a better, prosperous, and just society for us all. For other examples than those already mentioned above, and having been trained as a Guardian Ad Litem for children, I proposed several years ago that our community set up a similar guardian program for senior citizens who no longer have living relatives who are available to look after them.  This year Judge Stephen Galvin and Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal announced to the public the development of such a program.

 I invite you to meet and chat with me to share your ideas at my non-fund raising activities at the Bloomington Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning between 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon and the Gourmet Garden, 300 E. 3rd Street, Bloomington, on Friday evenings between 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  I love this community and I want to meet and talk directly with you. Of course, I seek your support and vote for me to the office of Monroe Circuit Judge, Seat 1, in the Democratic Party Election on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.

 “I respect and honor the judicial office as a public trust.  I will strive to enhance and maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.”


-Alphonso (Al) Manns

Additional candidate information:
Candidate website
Letters to the editor
Democracy for Monroe County Candidate Questionnaire
Herald Times Monroe County Circuit Court Race Coverage