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Lake County judge pro tem appointed to fill Bonaventura vacancy

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Senior Judge Thomas W. Webber Sr. was appointed a judge pro tem late Friday as the Indiana Supreme Court intervened further in a controversy over who will be the next judge of the Lake Superior Court Juvenile Division.

The court issued an order appointing Webber one day after it issued an emergency order preventing Lake Superior Judge Nicholas Schiralli from taking over the vacancy created when Juvenile Division Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura was tapped to lead the Department of Child Services.

Justices on Friday ordered Webber, 75, to fill in until a dispute over Bonaventura’s successor can be resolved. Webber is a retired Superior Court judge from neighboring Porter County.

On Thursday, the court stayed any further effort to transfer Schiralli into the juvenile court after magistrates filed an action that said such a move would violate Lake County’s merit selection statute. Magistrates seek a permanent writ of mandamus and prohibition in State of Indiana ex rel. Glenn D. Commons, et al., v. the Hon. John R. Pera as Chief Judge of the Lake Superior Court, et al., 45S00-1303-OR-209.

Schiralli claims he is entitled through seniority to a transfer that would allow him to succeed Bonaventura, who resigned effective Sunday to take over DCS. Prior to the magistrates’ suit, Bonaventura asked the Supreme Court to require her replacement on the Lake Superior bench be appointed under the county’s merit selection system, I.C. 33-33-45-28.

Justices on Thursday gave respondents until noon Indianapolis time on April 8 to file briefings with the clerk of the court.


 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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