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Friday, May 17, 2013

Ind. Decisions - More on: Supreme Court rules in Lake County dispute

Updating this morning's ILB entry, NWI Times reporter Marisa Kwiatkowski has had the opportunity to expand her initial story - some quotes:

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court justices ruled that only merit-selected judges can transfer from one court to another in Lake County. They rejected the Lake Superior Court judges' arguments that the law prohibiting Schiralli's transfer is unconstitutional and that Lake County's local transfer rule trumps state law.

It was unclear Friday which, if any, of the merit-selected Superior Court judges would be interested in moving to the Lake Juvenile Court. It would go to the merit-selected judge with the most seniority. Merit selection would be used to fill whichever judicial vacancy remains after the transfers are complete.

"The Supreme Court's decision today underscores the important state public policy behind the merit selection process as set out by our statute," Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement. "Hopefully the unanimous decision by our five justices will help the Lake County courts quickly move past this conflict so that the important work of the juvenile court can move forward."

Chief Lake Superior Court Judge John Pera said he has not had time to speak with his colleagues to find out if any of the merit-selected judges would like to transfer to juvenile court. He said they will ensure any transition is "seamless."

He called the legal tangle between judges and magistrates a "bona fide dispute" that needed to be resolved by the Indiana Supreme Court.

"We honor and respect their decision in this case and will follow it," Pera said.

If none of the merit-selected judges are interested in transferring to Lake Juvenile Court, the position will be filled through merit selection. The Supreme Court said Schiralli could apply for the judgeship through the merit-selection process.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 17, 2013 01:37 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions