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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ind. Courts - "Special judge appointed to Hammond City Court "

Ed Bierschenk of the NWI Times reported this morning:

HAMMOND — City Court Judge Jeffrey Harkin has appointed an attorney who serves as a court referee as special judge for the court.

The appointment by Harkin of Gerald P. Kray was made last Friday, three days after a Times article raised questions about Harkin's ability to serve because of health issues.

Harkin has been absent from court on a number of occasions this year. In the last month, Harkin appointed Public Defender Randy Godshalk four times to serve as a temporary judge. On other occasions, one of the referees served in his place.

Indiana law provides for "appointed judicial officers," who may be called magistrates, commissioners or referees, to serve court judges, according to Richard T. Payne, staff attorney for the Indiana Supreme Court's Division State Court Administration. These officers generally hear cases and make a recommendation to the judge concerning the outcome, but it is the judge who makes the final decision, Payne said. * * *

If Harkin is unable to continue to serve, Gov. Mike Pence would be responsible for appointing a replacement until an election could take place for the post. Harkin, who made $80,377 last year, was re-elected to another four-year term in November.

The appointment of a special judge is the latest in a tumultuous few months at Hammond City Court.

Yesterday's story begins with this photo, showing long lines of people "lining the hallway at Hammond City Hall awaiting their turn to appear in court."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on April 20, 2016 02:03 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts