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Monday, October 22, 2012

Ind. Courts - "Incumbent judges merit re-election"

That is the headline to a detailed editorial today in the Evansville Courier & Press. Some quotes:

In Vanderburgh County, it is rare anytime a sitting judge is challenged in an election, and yet, this November, we have two incumbent judges facing opposition from attorneys running highly energetic campaigns. In one race, Chief Superior Court Judge Mary Margaret Lloyd is under challenge from Keith Wallace, an adoption specialist, and in the other, Juvenile Court Judge Brett Niemeier has been taken on by Barry Blackard, a young public defender who has blanketed the county with advertising. * * *

We believe that in each case, the incumbent merits re-election.

Judge Lloyd was the first female ever elected to the bench in Vanderburgh County, beginning in the year 2000, and earlier this year, she became the first female chief judge of the court. One of her first tasks as chief judge was to oversee the reorganization of the court, a change which has fewer of the judges rotating through its divisions. Two judges are now assigned to family law cases and two judges are assigned to civil cases.

It is the family court where Wallace would seek to make changes if elected. Indeed, he says that it was his decision to run for the office that prompted Judge Lloyd to move ahead on the changes to Superior Court. We suspect that Wallace gives himself credit for the changes that he does not deserve.

Lloyd has proved a respected jurist in the Vanderburgh court and deserves to be re-elected.

In the case of both Lloyd and Juvenile Judge Niemeier, each has been involved in the creation of numerous court programs that reach out to help people unfortunate enough to encounter the courts.

Niemeier, also on the court since the year 2000, said he has created 10 new programs at no cost to the taxpayers. Rather, those costs are covered through grants and in cooperation with nonprofit groups. Among those programs is the Teen Court, a family connections program in which teen and parents deal with bad decision-making, a substance treatment program, an anger management program and many more.

Clearly, it is no longer the old juvenile court system once found in many counties where justice was meted out with little attention to long-term change among juvenile delinquents.

Judge Niemeier runs good court programs, such that we see no reason to replace him with inexperience.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 22, 2012 01:36 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts