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Women judges make history in Marion Superior Court

January 16, 2019

For the first time, four women judges have been elected to serve on the executive committee of the Marion Superior Court. The committee is responsible for operation and conduct of the Indianapolis courts and serves as the policymaking body for them.

Judge Heather Welch was elected to serve as the presiding judge, leading the committee. The associate presiding judges are Alicia Gooden, Amy Jones and Christina Klineman. All will serve on the committee for the 2019-2020 term.

Marion Superior Court has 36 judges. The bulk preside in the criminal division, where of the 20 judges, 13 are women. In the civil division, two of the 12 judges are women. Also, one of two judges in the juvenile division is a woman. The probate division and traffic court are presided over by male judges.

Welch has the longest tenure on the bench of anyone on the executive committee. She joined the court in 2007 and currently presides over Civil Court 1 and one of the six Indiana Commercial Court Pilot Project courts. She has previously served the Superior Court as the civil term chair, budget committee chair, member of the ethics committee and legislative liaison.

Klineman joined the court in 2015 and currently presides over Criminal Court 17. She previously served as a commissioner for the court in the criminal and civil divisions from 2009 to 2014. She also has served the court as the Arrestee Processing Center advisory judge and as a member of the commissioner/magistrate task force. She serves on the Judicial Administration Committee for the Indiana Supreme Court.

Both Welch and Klineman along with Jones are members of the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and have served as associate presiding judges on the Marion Superior Court Executive Committee.  

Gooden joined the court in 2015 and currently presides over Criminal Court 21, a major felony drug court. She also handles domestic relations cases as a Special Judge. From 2001 to 2010, she served as a master commissioner of Marion Circuit Court and she has previously served as supervisor of the jury pool as well as a member of the magistrate/commissioner task force.

Jones joined the court in 2013 and currently presides over Criminal Court 8. She is also the presiding judge of the Mental Health Alternative Courts, which consist of the Psychiatric Assertive Identification and Referral diversion program and Behavioral Health Court, as well as firearm retention cases. She is a member of the Justice and Mental Health Steering Committee, serves as a member of the Reuben Engagement Center Board and co-chair of the Justice Facility and Space Allocation Committee of the Marion Superior Court.  

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