3 women named as COA finalists

Vigo Superior Judge Lakshmi Reddy, New Albany attorney Lisa Reger and Lawrenceburg attorney Leannaa Weissmann were approved as finalists to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Court of Appeals after the seven-member Judicial Nominating Commission, led by Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, interviewed seven semifinalists earlier in the day.

The other semifinalists were Jason Bennett, Morgan County Judge Peter Foley, Putnam County Judge Matthew Headley and Abraham Navarro.

The finalists’ names will now be submitted to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will make the final decision on which candidate will succeed retiring Judge John Baker on the Court of Appeals. Baker is retiring July 31.

Reddy has served on the Superior Court bench in Terre Haute since 2015 and holds a J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Also an IU McKinney graduate, Reger has been with the firm of Lorch Naville Ward since 1994 and also serves as a part-time judicial officer in Harrison County. Weissmann is a solo practitioner handling appeals who likewise earned her law degree from the Indianapolis law school.

The original pool of applicants included 13 candidates and was reduced to seven after the initial interviews last month.  The candidates who did not advance to the semi-finalist round included Johnson Superior Judge Kevin Barton, Erin Berger, Joby Jerrells, Crystal Rowe, Terry Tolliver and Bartholomew Superior Judge James Worton.

The June interviews were done remotely via Zoom, but Wednesday’s interviews were held in-person, with social distancing measures in place.

Holcomb last named a Court of Appeals judge in 2018, when Elizabeth Tavitas of Lake County was named the successor to Judge Michael Barnes who died in May.

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