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Stefaniak to become new Lake County juvenile court judge

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Judge Thomas Stefaniak will take over the juvenile court in Lake County, ending a months-long dispute over the judgeship that involved the intervention of the Indiana Supreme Court.  

Court staff confirmed Stefaniak will move from Lake Superior Criminal Division 4 to fill a vacancy on the juvenile court created when Gov. Mike Pence selected Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura to lead the Department of Child Services.

Stefaniak said he intends to work jointly with adult probation and Lake County Community Corrections to re-establish a juvenile court presence in Gary that Bonaventura consolidated in recent years with court operations in Crown Point.

Plans are in the works to locate juvenile court programs including in-house detention, intensive probation and truancy intervention in Gary, Stefaniak said. A large number of users of those programs are in the northern end of Lake County. “We want to make it more accessible to them,” Stefaniak said.

“Judge Bonaventura had a very successful career over there and established a lot of good things,” he said. “My goal is to continue on with these successes and create some of our own.”

Lake County judges in February selected Civil Division Judge Nicholas Schiralli to fill the vacancy, leading to a lawsuit by juvenile court magistrates. The magistrates successfully petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to block Schiralli’s transfer.

After mediation led by former Justice Frank Sullivan failed, the court ruled that Schiralli’s transfer could not be granted because he had not been appointed to the bench through merit selection.

Senior Judge Thomas W. Webber Sr. of Porter County was appointed by the court in March to serve as interim judge of the juvenile court. Stefaniak said it had not yet been determined when his transfer to the juvenile court will take effect.

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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