Holcomb selects 3 magistrates for Marion Superior Court vacancies

Three Marion County magistrates have been appointed to fill vacancies that will open next year on the Marion Superior Court bench, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has announced.

Magistrate Judges Marshelle Dawkins Broadwell and Ryan Kenneth Gardner and Senior Magistrate Geoffrey Arlyss Gaither have been selected to succeed Marion Superior Judges Barbara Cook Crawford, David Dreyer and Marilyn Moores.

Crawford, Dreyer and Moores did not stand for retention in the 2020 general election, drawing a pool of 41 applicants to fill their upcoming vacancies on the Marion Superior Court. The Marion County Judicial Selection Committee  — led by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa and Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Cale Bradford — interviewed the 41 applicants over a span of three days earlier this fall.

By law, the committee was tasked with naming three finalists for each of the vacancies, for a total of nine finalists. Indiana law also requires the committee to name finalists who would maintain partisan balance on the Marion Superior Court bench. Moores is a Republican while Crawford and Dreyer are Democrats.

After receiving the names of the finalists, Holcomb was tasked with selecting the three candidates who would take the Superior Court bench.

Broadwell serves as a magistrate judge in the Marion Superior Court, where she hears criminal, civil and family law matters.

Prior to becoming a magistrate judge in 2015, Broadwell served as a master commissioner for the Marion Superior Courts. She also served as a trial and appellate attorney for the Marion County Public Defender Agency, worked for the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Corporation Counsel and has been in private practice.

Broadwell serves on the Protection Order Committee and Language Access Advisory Committee and is involved with the Boy Scouts of America’s Crossroads of America Council Pathfinder District, where she serves as the Pathfinder District Commissioner. She graduated from Butler University and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Gardner, who has served as a magistrate judge in the Marion Superior Courts Juvenile Division since 2019, worked in private practice for 14 years both at a firm and as a solo practitioner. He also served as a contract attorney in the Juvenile Division of the Marion County Public Defender Agency and as a staff attorney with Child Advocates Inc.

Gardner serves on the Indiana Supreme Court’s Commission on Race and Gender Fairness and its Race, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. He was a founding board member of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and previously provided pro bono legal services through the Legal Aid Project, the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and the Marion County Bar Association.

Gardner graduated from Indiana University and the IU McKinney School of Law.

Gaither is a senior magistrate with the Marion Superior Courts Juvenile Division, where he has served since 1995.

Prior to becoming a magistrate, Gaither was a Marion County deputy prosecutor, deputy public defender and was in private practice. He is also a former adjunct professor at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and Martin University.

For the past 25 years, Gaither has served as a youth mentor and motivational speaker, often developing and spearheading conferences for minority youth. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati and received his law degree from Howard University.

Broadwell, Gardner and Gaither will be sworn in as judges of the Marion Superior Court on a date to be determined, according to the governor’s office.

The appointment of the three new Marion County judges marks the second time Indianapolis jurists have been chosen through a merit selection process. In 2018, Holcomb chose Charnette Garner, Jennifer Harrison and Mark Jones to succeed the late Thomas Carroll, Rebekah Pierson-Treacy and Michael Keele on the Marion Superior Court bench.

The committee is also tasked with deciding whether to recommend retention for Marion Superior Court judges who wish to remain on the bench. This year, all 13 judges seeking retention received a favorable recommendation from the committee in March, then were retained by voters last week.

Likewise in 2018, all 17 judges who sought retention received a favorable committee recommendation. 

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