Sarah Evans Barker was appointed judge of the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, in March 1984 and served as chief judge between 1994 and 2001. Prior to her appointment, Judge Barker was United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. From 1977 to 1981, she was both an associate and partner at the Indianapolis law firm of Bose, McKinney & Evans. She started her Indianapolis legal career as an assistant United States Attorney, after working as a legislative assistant to Senator Charles H. Percy and Congressman Gilbert Gude in Washington, D.C., and special counsel to the Senate Government Operations Subcommittee.
Judge Barker is active in numerous civic, educational, cultural and religious organizations, including the Board of the Indiana Historical Society, and the Advisory Board for the Spirit and Place Civic Festival. She has previously served as a member of boards of trustees for several Indiana academic institutions, the Connor Prairie Museum and advisory boards of Indiana University and its law schools. She is a member of the Indiana Academy, a recipient of the Living Legends Award given by the Indiana Historical Society, the Trailblazer Award given by the Indiana Commission for Women, and a Distinguished Alumna of Indiana University. In addition, she has been awarded ten honorary degrees from Midwestern colleges and universities. Judge Barker is a member of the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis, the Lawyers Club, and the Gathering.
Judge Barker received her B.S. in social work from Indiana University and a J.D. from the American University Washington College of Law. She is an active member of the Morgantown United Methodist Church.