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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ind. Courts - "Lake Juvenile magistrate's promotion 'bittersweet'"

So reports Susan Brown today in the NWI Times:

CROWN POINT | For longtime Lake Juvenile Court Magistrate John Sedia and his many supporters, the opportunity for promotion was too good to pass up.

"Everybody said John had to apply for that job," Lake Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura said Tuesday of Sedia's appointment to a bench in Lake Superior Court.

Sedia replaces Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Kavadias-Schneider in Hammond. Kavadias-Schneider was transferred to Crown Point after Judge Jeffery Dywan's retirement.

Sedia served as a public defender and then referee in Bonaventura's court. Bonaventura seized the first opportunity to appoint him magistrate, she said.

"He's really smart, the salt of the earth," Bonaventura said in describing Sedia as someone well-liked whose judgment is trusted.

"I'm really going to miss it here," Sedia said Tuesday. "It was one of the hardest things to decide before I even applied for the position."

Besides his work as a magistrate, Sedia, of Schererville, also serves as special judge in a wide variety of law. The governor's appointment came in the midst of a property damage trial and also his stint as president of the Lake County Bar Association.

"I've practiced law for 27 years, and I've been involved with juvenile court for 24 years," he said. "There's not a whole lot I haven't seen basically."

"There's a lot of unpleasant things in juvenile court, with children, CHINS cases, termination of parental rights and delinquencies," he said. In private practice, Sedia has dealt with civil matters regarding personal injury, contracts and corporations.

Looking at his juvenile court career, Sedia said the court is as busy as ever but an interesting change involves paternity cases.

"There are people in their 30s and 40s," he said. "It isn't just teenage pregnancies anymore. People are not worried about being married and having kids."

In looking at his new seat, Sedia said he doesn't expect many changes, though he may "tweak" things a bit when he discovers his own style. "Judge Dywan ran a really, really efficient court," he said.

But ultimately, Sedia said, the court belongs to the people.

"My job is to make sure cases are designed fairly, everyone has a right to be heard and notified, and (cases) are decided expeditiously," he said.

Sedia said he expects to wrap up his juvenile court duties in mid-August, and Bonaventura will appoint a replacement by Aug. 20.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 25, 2012 09:17 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts