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Marion Superior courts, prosecutor's office see assignment changes

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Marion County has a new judge, and that’s created the latest round of musical chairs for the Superior Court and prosecutor’s office.

On Aug. 2, Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed the replacement for former Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana. Of nine people applying for the post, he selected Barbara L. Cook Crawford from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

The governor had to name a Democrat because Judge Pratt is one, and it’s required to balance the county’s Superior Court system evenly between the two parties. Also applying for the judgeship were: Mark D. Batties III, a Marion Superior master commissioner; Greg Bowes, Marion County assessor who was a Democratic candidate for county prosecutor earlier this year; John J. Boyce, Marion Superior commissioner; Shatrese M. Flowers, Marion Superior commissioner; Bruce A. Hugon, partner at Stuart & Branigin; Jeffrey L. Marchal, Marion Superior commissioner; Victoria M. Ransberger, Marion Superior magistrate; and William K. Teeguardan, retired administrative law judge now working for the state.

Crawford Barbara Cook Crawford became the newest Marion Superior judge Aug. 3. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Crawford has worked for most of the past two decades in the prosecutor’s office and had served as screening chief. The Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis graduate has also worked in the Office of the Indiana Attorney General and Marion County Public Defender’s Office, as well as being an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at her alma mater since 1998.

Marion Superior Judge Robert Altice, presiding judge of the executive committee, described his new judicial colleague as an excellent choice from a list of very qualified candidates. He said Crawford “is very intelligent, compassionate, and has a tremendous demeanor which will serve her well as a judge.”

Starting Aug. 3, Judge Crawford said this was the first time she’s served in a judicial role.

“This is a whole new experience, and it’s really stimulating,” she said. “It’s amazing how, despite being involved with our court system for some time, this is a new area and a new way of thinking for me. This is a challenge I’m really looking forward to.”

She replaces Judge David Certo in Superior 21, which is protective order court. Following Judge Crawford’s appointment, the Executive Committee on Aug. 6 agreed to move Judge Certo to community/environmental court – largely based on his background in that area and his experience that includes working as counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Judge Certo replaced Judge Michael Keele, who’d gone to Civil 7 on the heels of Judge Gerald Zore taking over Probate Court once Judge Pratt moved to the federal bench.

With Judge Crawford’s appointment, the prosecutor’s office also is experiencing changes. Deputy prosecutor Barbara Trathen from homicide took over as screening supervisor while other supervisors and deputy prosecutors shifted their roles.

Even though the dominos have finished falling as a result of Judge Pratt’s move to the federal bench, more changes could be possible for the Superior Court in the coming months. Judge Altice said several of the 52 applicants for a federal magistrate opening in the Southern District of Indiana come from the county’s courts, and the District is also waiting to hear if a new magistrate position will be created next month – meaning another chance for shifts to occur. In addition to those potential changes, Judge Robyn Moberly from Civil 5 is one of three finalists the governor is considering for the Indiana Supreme Court. If she’s selected as the next justice, that would mean another opening.•
 

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  2. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  3. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

  4. Duncan, It's called the RIGHT OF ASSOCIATION and in the old days people believed it did apply to contracts and employment. Then along came title vii.....that aside, I believe that I am free to work or not work for whomever I like regardless: I don't need a law to tell me I'm free. The day I really am compelled to ignore all the facts of social reality in my associations and I blithely go along with it, I'll be a slave of the state. That day is not today......... in the meantime this proposed bill would probably be violative of 18 usc sec 1981 that prohibits discrimination in contracts... a law violated regularly because who could ever really expect to enforce it along the millions of contracts made in the marketplace daily? Some of these so-called civil rights laws are unenforceable and unjust Utopian Social Engineering. Forcing people to love each other will never work.

  5. I am the father of a sweet little one-year-old named girl, who happens to have Down Syndrome. To anyone who reads this who may be considering the decision to terminate, please know that your child will absolutely light up your life as my daughter has the lives of everyone around her. There is no part of me that condones abortion of a child on the basis that he/she has or might have Down Syndrome. From an intellectual standpoint, however, I question the enforceability of this potential law. As it stands now, the bill reads in relevant part as follows: "A person may not intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion . . . if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or a potential diagnosis of Down syndrome." It includes similarly worded provisions abortion on "any other disability" or based on sex selection. It goes so far as to make the medical provider at least potentially liable for wrongful death. First, how does a medical provider "know" that "the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion SOLELY" because of anything? What if the woman says she just doesn't want the baby - not because of the diagnosis - she just doesn't want him/her? Further, how can the doctor be liable for wrongful death, when a Child Wrongful Death claim belongs to the parents? Is there any circumstance in which the mother's comparative fault will not exceed the doctor's alleged comparative fault, thereby barring the claim? If the State wants to discourage women from aborting their children because of a Down Syndrome diagnosis, I'm all for that. Purporting to ban it with an unenforceable law, however, is not the way to effectuate this policy.

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