Longtime Lake Superior judge dies at 78

IL Staff
January 10, 2014
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Lake Superior Judge Gerald N. Svetanoff, 78, died Wednesday. Svetanoff was the longest-serving Lake Superior judge at the time of his death.

Svetanoff was appointed to the bench in 1981 by Gov. Robert D. Orr. He was presiding over Lake Superior Civil Division 4 when he petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to appoint a judge pro tem “while he is unable to attend to the duties of his office” due to an illness, according to the Sept. 17 order.

Svetanoff was highly respected by attorneys who practiced before him and his fellow judges. His successes inspired his son, Joseph Svetanoff, to become a lawyer. Svetanoff was admitted to the bar in 1960 and was a law clerk to the Indiana Supreme Court. He entered private practice in Gary and also served as a judge pro tem in the Superior Court, County Division, in Crown Point.

He was a graduate of the Indiana Judicial College and belonged to many legal organizations, including the Lake County Bar Association.

Svetanoff was a lifelong resident of northwestern Indiana. He was born in Gary and attended Lew Wallace High School. He earned his degrees from Indiana University School of Business and the law school in Bloomington.

He is survived by his wife, Linda; son Joseph (Cathy); and grandchildren Natalia and Alexander.

Visitation is from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Burns Funeral Home, 10101 Broadway, Crown Point. A short memorial service is at 7 p.m. Sunday. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, with burial directly following the service at Calumet Park Cemetery, 2305 W. 73rd Ave., Merrillville.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.