St. Joseph Judge Hostetler certified as senior judge

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A St. Joseph Superior Court judge has been granted senior judge status following his retirement.

The Indiana Supreme Court handed down an order Tuesday giving senior judge status to St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Steven L. Hostetler. The order is effective Sept. 4 through the end of the year.

In late March, Hostetler notified the Supreme Court of his plans to retire in July, according to the South Bend Tribune. On Tuesday, Hostetler said that his retirement will be effective Sept. 3.

“I have decided to take senior status initially to help make sure that the business of the court is as uninterrupted as possible, as it appears that my replacement will not be appointed for several weeks,” Hostetler wrote in an email to IL. “By serving as senior judge, I am hoping that I can help make sure that folks relying on the St. Joseph Superior Court will be taken care of.  After my replacement is selected I hope to use my position as senior judge to continue to serve the people of the State of Indiana in a variety of matters in St. Joseph and nearby counties.”

Hostetler is the second judge from the St. Joseph Superior Court to retire this year, as David Chapleau, who was also recently granted senior judge status, has also vacated the bench.

All new St. Joseph County judges will be selected by a seven-member panel chosen by Gov. Eric Holcomb and the county commissioners after a law changed the merit selection process this year. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter will chair the panel.

Applications to fill Chapleau’s vacancy closed on Monday, and a list of the top five nominees are expected to be publicly announced sometime this month. Holcomb will select Chapleau’s successor from among those finalists.

Hostetler’s vacancy to be filled has not been announced.

Hostetler was appointed as judge to the court by then-Gov. Mike Pence following the retirement of former Judge Michael P. Scopelitis in 2013. He has chiefly worked in the court’s civil division.

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected.

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