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Sullivan to mediate Lake Superior judge dispute

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Former Justice Frank Sullivan will mediate a dispute over a Lake Superior Court judgeship vacancy, the Indiana Supreme Court ordered Monday.

The court on March 22 appointed Senior Judge Thomas W. Webber Sr. as judge pro tem of the Lake Superior Juvenile Division one day after it issued an emergency order preventing Lake Superior Judge Nicholas Schiralli from filling the vacancy created when Juvenile Division Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura was tapped to lead the Department of Child Services.

Magistrates in the juvenile court sued after Schiralli said he was entitled to transfer to the court based on seniority. The magistrates said the judgeship must be filled by a merit-selection process through Lake County’s Judicial Nominating Commission.

In Monday’s order
, parties 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, are given until May 13 to resolve the dispute.

“This court expects the mediation process to begin promptly and to proceed with all due deliberate focus,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote. “This court retains jurisdiction over this original action during mediation but holds in abeyance its consideration of this original action, pending completion of mediation.”

A deadline of noon, Indianapolis time, April 8, remains for filing a brief in opposition to the court’s writ of mandamus that blocked Schiralli from transferring to the juvenile court.

Sullivan is to submit a mediation report pursuant to Alternative Dispute Resolution Rule 2.7(E)(1) within 10 days of completion of mediation, but no later than May 23, according to the order.

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