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Sunday, March 10, 2013
Ind. Courts - More on "Outgoing Lake County judge questions process of filling juvenile court vacancy"
Chief Judge John Pera said he is preparing a written response to Lake Juvenile Court Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura's letters seeking intervention from the Indiana Supreme Court.
Bonaventura, who is leaving the bench to become director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, wrote letters asking the Supreme Court justices to require her replacement be chosen through merit selection rather than a transfer, letters obtained by The Times show.
Last month a Lake Superior Court memo indicated Judge Nicholas Schiralli would take over the juvenile division based on seniority. Judge Gerald Svetanoff, the longest-serving judge in Superior Court, had first choice but declined the job. Schiralli, who was next in line, accepted it.
Bonaventura argues Schiralli's move to juvenile court would violate a Lake County-based rule and a number of Indiana laws, including one that states a judge who has not been appointed through merit selection is ineligible to transfer, according to her letter dated Feb. 25.
Through merit selection, a Judicial Nominating Commission interviews applicants and chooses three finalists to present to the governor, who has final choice. Proponents of merit selection believe the process emphasizes judicial competence over political influence.
Bonaventura was appointed to the bench through merit selection.
"I believe that the merit selection process is not only the statutorily appropriate method, but the only method that will ensure efficient, effective and judicially sound operation of the juvenile court for the benefit of Lake County's children," she wrote in her Feb. 25 letter to the Supreme Court.
Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 10, 2013 10:55 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts