Retention process to begin for Marion Superior judges

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to delete a reference to this being the first-ever retention process for Marion Superior judges. The first retention process took place in 2018.

Applications are now available for incumbent Marion Superior trial court judges who wish to stand for retention this year. Members of the Marion County Judicial Selection Committee announced they will gather next month to review procedures for the retention of judges in Marion County trial courts for the 2020 election cycle.

Chaired by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa, the Marion County Judicial Selection Committee will also schedule interview dates for the incumbents and applicants for any open seats on the Marion Superior Court, according to a Friday press release. Judges who intend to stand for retention must file a statement indicating so with the Indiana Secretary of State and the Marion County Clerk, according to state statute, no later than noon February 7.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Feb. 12 in Room 319 of the Indiana State House. The meeting is open to the public.

Marion County judges who are eligible to stand for retention in 2020 are: Cynthia Ayers, David Certo, Annie Christ, Barbara Crawford, Angela Davis, Patrick Dietrick, David Dreyer, Kurt Eisgruber, Shatrese Flowers, Christina Klineman, Gary Miller, Marilyn Moores, Timothy Oakes, James Osborn, Marcel Pratt and Marc Rothenberg. Dreyer, a Democrat, has publicly announced he will not stand for retention. By law, no more than half of the 36 Marion Superior judges may be of the same political party.

Judges interested in seeking retention in Marion County should review the statutes regarding the deadlines and details of required paperwork, which must be submitted to the Indiana Secretary of State and the Marion County Clerk’s Office. The separate application must be submitted to the selection committee, and instructions can be found here.

Additionally, incumbents seeking retention are required by law to provide the committee with a written statement describing the judge’s qualifications. Completing an online application adopted by the MCJSC will fulfill that prerequisite, which is also due on Feb. 7.  The committee must be notified by the Marion County Clerk no later than March 1 if an incumbent judge does not file a statement seeking to be retained in office.

“The committee will also review procedures for applications for any vacancies that might exist if an incumbent judge does not seek retention in Marion County trial courts for the 2020 election cycle and will schedule interview dates for the applicants. As soon as practicable after it learns of a vacancy, the committee will publicly announce and make applications and instructions available on its website for persons wishing to fill the vacancy,” the press release states.

Established in 2017 by the Indiana General Assembly, the 14-member selection committee is tasked with reviewing candidates and incumbents and making recommendations for retention. This will be the second time the panel has done so.

Members of the MCJSC include: Justice Mark Massa, chair, Court of Appeals Chief Judge Cale Bradford, vice chair, Billie Breaux, Cordelia Lewis Burks, Lee C. Christie, Susan E. Cline, K. Michael Gaerte, Rick Hurst, Katherine (Katie) F. Jackson-Lindsay, Lacy M. Johnson, Andrew J. Mallon, Adrianne L. Slash, Jennifer Thuma and Mindy A. Westrick.

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