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South Bend probate judge candidate forum

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The six candidates for Probate Court in St. Joseph County will participate in a forum from 3 to 4 p.m. April 28 at Indiana University South Bend.

The event is scheduled to last about 90 minutes and is sponsored by the St. Joseph County Bar Association, the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area and two IU South Bend groups – the Political Science Club and American Democracy Project. Sponsors will prepare questions in advance. Candidates will make opening and closing remarks of 90 seconds and will have 90 seconds to answer each question.

Candidates are: Democrats Andre Gammage, Mark Kopinski, Catherine Andres, Ken Sheetz and Stephen Drendall; and Republican James Fox.

St. Joseph County is the only county in Indiana with a Probate Court, which is a court of limited or special jurisdiction. The Probate Court consists of one judge elected to a six-year term and three magistrates appointed by the judge. The court has authority over estates, wills, trusts, guardianships, adoptions and paternity disputes. It also has a family court that deals with domestic matters such as divorce, child support and visitation rights.  The Probate Court has jurisdiction over all juvenile matters, including the administration of the Juvenile Justice Center.

The candidate forum will be in the University Grill, Administration Building, 1700 Mishawaka Ave. For further information, contact Elizabeth A. Bennion, associate professor of political science at IU South Bend, at 574-520-4128, or at ebennion@iusb.edu.

 

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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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