James Bopp Jr. is driving his six-year-old Lincoln LS past the Vigo County Courthouse in Terre Haute, Ind. The huge limestone neo-Baroque structure looms over much of an otherwise sparse area at the edge of downtown.
Bopp frequented the building when he augmented his fledgling general practice as a part-time prosecutor in the late 1970s. Along with personal injury cases, he handled welfare fraud. He is believed to have gotten the first murder conviction there against a woman; he also put away the youngest murder defendant, age 16. Bopp’s practice has mostly outgrown the old courthouse, now only an occasional venue for him in state election law matters.