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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. Your article is a good intro the recent amendments to Fed.R.Civ.P. For a much longer - though not necessarily better -- summary, counsel might want to read THE CHIEF UMPIRE IS CHANGING THE STRIKE ZONE, which I co-authored and which was just published in the January issue of THE VERDICT (the monthly publication of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association).

  2. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  3. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  4. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  5. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

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