Lake County magistrates ask Supreme Court to block judge’s move

Magistrates in Lake County have asked the Indiana Supreme Court to block a judge they say is circumventing state law in a bid to succeed a juvenile court judge selected to lead the Department of Child Services.

Lake Superior Judge Nicholas Schiralli claims he is entitled through seniority to a transfer that would allow him to succeed juvenile court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura, who is scheduled to resign effective Sunday and take over DCS. Bonaventura has asked the Supreme Court to require her replacement on the Lake County bench be appointed under the county’s merit selection system, I.C. 33-33-45-28.  

On Wednesday, Glenn Commons and other magistrates in the juvenile division petitioned for an emergency writ of mandamus and prohibition in State of Indiana Ex Rel Commons, Glen, et al v. Lake Superior Court, 45S00-1303-OR-209. There was no immediate comment Thursday from the Supreme Court regarding the petition.

Schiralli and Crown Point attorney Robert Funk, who filed the motion, were unavailable for comment early Thursday.

Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said it was too soon to determine if the office would intervene. “The AG’s office will have an opportunity to review this motion and decide later whether or not to intervene in the case – and if so, on what side,” Corbin said in a statement. “If we do not intervene, then the lawsuit would proceed without the state as a party.”

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