JNC to interview 13 to succeed Baker in May

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A total of 13 candidates to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Indiana Court of Appeals will be interviewed in May, one month later than originally scheduled due to social distancing requirements to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Originally scheduled for April 8, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission is now scheduled to interview the candidates to succeed retiring Judge John Baker on May 7 and 8 in Room 319 of the Indiana Statehouse.

The 20-minute interviews will be held as follows:

Thursday, May 7
9-9:45 a.m.: Executive session
10 a.m.: Jason W. Bennett
10:20 a.m.: Bartholomew Superior Judge James D. Worton
10:40 a.m.: Erin L. Berger
11 a.m.: Break
11:15 a.m.: Joby D. Jerrells
11:35 a.m.: Abraham A. Navarro
11:55 a.m. Lunch and executive session
1:30 p.m.: Putnam Circuit Judge Matthew L. Headley
1:50 p.m.: Terry W. Tolliver
2:10 p.m.: Crystal G. Rowe
2:30 p.m.: Break
2:45 p.m.: Morgan Superior Judge Peter R. Foley
3:05 p.m.: Johnson Superior Judge Kevin M. Barton
3:25 p.m.: Break
3:40-4:30 p.m.: Executive session

Friday, May 8
9:30 a.m.: Lisa G. Reger
9:50 a.m.: Leanna K. Weissmann
10:10 a.m.: Vigo Superior Judge Lakshmi Y. Reddy
10:30 a.m.: Break
10:45 a.m.: Executive session followed by public vote

Applications, along with writing samples, transcripts and letters of recommendation, are a matter of public record. Redacted applications are available online. 

The seven-member Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, chaired by Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, will meet in executive session April 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to consider applications.

The rescheduled May interviews will be open to the public. Members of the public will be notified if adjustments are required based on social distancing measures.

A second round of interviews will take place at a later date. Following the interviews, the commission – which includes three lawyers elected by their peers and three nonlawyers appointed by the governor, as well as Rush – will publicly vote to select the three most qualified candidates in an executive session.

The three names will then be submitted to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will then have 60 days from formal notification of the finalists to make the appointment.

Baker is retiring July 31 after 31 years on the appellate bench and 13½ years as a Monroe County judge. He represents the appellate court’s District 1.

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