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Former Clark Drug Court judge among incumbents who lost in primary

IL Staff
May 7, 2014
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The Clark County judge who ran a drug court that kept some participants jailed for months without due process lost the primary election to a New Albany attorney.

Democratic challenger Laura A. Harbison defeated incumbent Clark Circuit Court 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi Tuesday to be the Democrat on the ballot in November, based on unofficial results. Harbison was admitted to practice in 2009.

Jacobi oversaw the drug treatment court in Clark County, which has been suspended due to “allegations of unlawful conduct by drug court staff and drug court practices harmful to participants,” according to the Indiana Judicial Center. The court is no longer accepting new participants and current ones have been transferred to Clark Circuit 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael.

Several former drug court participants are suing Jacobi and other officials, alleging civil rights violations. The plaintiffs claim they were subjected to improper detentions, some lasting several months, and other alleged due process violations.

Jacobi’s colleague on the bench, Clark Circuit 1 Judge Daniel Moore, also lost in the primary to Democratic challenger Andrew Adams, a Jeffersonville attorney admitted in 2001.

Several other judges around the state were unseated in Tuesday’s primaries. Among them:

  • Tippecanoe Superior 4 Judge Gregory Donat was defeated by challenger Laura Zeman in the county’s Republican primary. Zeman, a Clinton County deputy prosecutor and former Tippecanoe Superior 5 judge, received 57 percent of the vote.  There was no Democratic primary in the race.
  • LaGrange Superior Judge George E. Brown was unseated in the Republican primary, falling to challenger Lisa M. Bowen-Slaven, who received almost 60 percent of the vote. Bowen-Slaven is vying to become the county’s first female judge.
  • Marion County Center Township Small Claims Court Judge Michelle Scott was defeated in the Democratic primary, unseated by Indianapolis solo practitioner Brenda Roper, who won 64 percent of the vote after receiving the endorsement of the Marion County Democratic Party. In November, Roper will face Republican Kevin Green, who ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

Two counties conducted primaries for newly established courts.

  • In Johnson County, Magistrate Judge Marla Clark won the Republican primary for the county’s new Superior Court 4. Clark defeated Deputy Prosecutor Joe Villanueva, winning 57 percent of the vote.
  • In Owen County, Republican voters chose Kelsey Hanlon by a nearly 2-1 margin over Terry English to be the first Circuit Court 2 judge in the Spencer courthouse.

Several counties held primary elections for pending judicial vacancies.

Central Indiana

  • In Boone County, attorney Bruce Petit won a close race against Jim Holden, earning just over 52 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for Boone Superior Court 2. Current Boone Superior 2 Judge Rebecca S. McClure is retiring at the end of the year.
  • In Hendricks County, Prosecutor Rhett M. Stuard bested two challengers to win the Republican primary for Circuit Judge 2, winning 42 percent of the vote over Paul A. Hadley and Herb D. Witham. Stuard seeks to replace retiring Superior 2 Judge David H. Coleman.
  • In Shelby County, Prosecutor R. Kent Apsley beat Andrew M. Eads in the Republican primary to succeed retiring Superior 1 Judge Jack Tandy. Apsley won almost 73 percent of the vote.
  • In Tippecanoe County, current Superior 5 Judge Les Meade defeated Lafayette attorney Earl McCoy in the Republican primary to succeed Donald L. Daniel, who is retiring as Tippecanoe Circuit judge. Meade won 53 percent of the vote. Winning the GOP primary for Meade’s former seat in Tippecanoe Superior 5 was Magistrate Judge Sean Persin, who garnered 53 percent of the vote against his challenger, Lafayette attorney Daniel Moore.
  • In Vigo County, Lakshmi (Lucky) Reddy won 58 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against challenger John A. Kesler II in the race to succeed retiring Superior 2 Judge Philip Adler. Reddy will face Republican Christopher J. Dailey in the November election. Dailey ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

Northern Indiana

  • In Elkhart County, solo practitioner Teresa Cataldo prevailed in a four-candidate Republican primary contest to succeed retiring Judge George Biddlecome in Superior Court 3. Cataldo won nearly 33 percent of the vote, followed by David Francisco with 29 percent, Andrew M. Hicks with 22 percent and Fay Schwartz with 16 percent.
  • In Kosciusko County, attorney David C. Cates won a three-way race to succeed retiring Judge Duane Huffer in Kosciusko Superior Court 2. Cates received 44 percent of the vote against Chad Miner (30 percent) and Stephen P. Harris (25 percent).
  • In LaPorte County, Michigan City attorney Michael Bergerson won 64 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against John Lake in his effort to succeed retiring Superior 1 Judge Kathleen Lang.

Southern Indiana

  • In Sullivan County, the Democratic primary is too close to call in a race to succeed Superior Judge Robert E. Springer. Attorney Hugh R. Hunt received 29 more votes than Magistrate Ann Smith Mischler out of 3,935 votes cast. The Sullivan County clerk’s office did not immediately indicate whether a recount would be sought.
  • In Warrick County, Newburgh attorney Todd Corne won 54 percent of the Republican primary vote in his race for Circuit Court judge against Greg Granger, an attorney with Bowers Harrison LLP in Evansville. Current Circuit Judge David Kelley did not seek re-election.


 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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