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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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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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