The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon issued an emergency order preventing a Lake County judge from taking over the vacancy created when a fellow judge was tapped to lead the Department of Child Services.
“This court orders that any proceedings by respondents concerning the transfer of Judge (Nicholas) Schiralli to preside over Lake Superior Court, Juvenile Division, are stayed until the Supreme Court may rule upon Relators’ request for a permanent writ of mandamus and prohibition,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson ordered 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.
The petitioned was filed Wednesday by Lake County magistrates in the juvenile division who asked the Indiana Supreme Court to block Schiralli’s bid to replace Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura on the juvenile court. The magistrates sought the emergency writ of mandamus and prohibition. Schiralli claims he is entitled through seniority to a transfer that would allow him to succeed Bonaventura, who is scheduled to resign effective Sunday and take over DCS. Bonaventura asked the Supreme Court to require her replacement on the Lake Superior bench be appointed under the county’s merit selection system, I.C. 33-33-45-28.
The court also ordered further briefing and gave respondents until noon Indianapolis time on April 8 to file briefs with the clerk of the court.
Bryan Corbin, spokesman for Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, said the office will not represent either side in the action but might intervene if necessary to defend the Lake County merit-selection statute’s procedure for filling superior court vacancies, Indiana Code 33-33-45-34.