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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. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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