Another false alarm on St. Joe Co. elected judges switch

Some are starting to feel frustrated in the fight over the future selection of superior court judges in St. Joseph County.

St. Joseph County’s superior court judges are now appointed by the governor. Some in the Indiana General Assembly are trying to engineer a switch to elected judges.

Today, for the second time in the past seven days, a local delegation went all the way down to Indianapolis to testify before the House Committee on Elections and Apportionment in support of the status quo (appointed St. Joseph County superior court judges).

For the second time in the past seven days, the delegation was told it made the trip for nothing: That the elected judge’s amendment had been withdrawn.

“To have three people there last week, and have three people down there again today, I think everybody’s time is valuable and it would be nice to think that everyone is considerate of the time people put in,” said South Bend Attorney William Jonas. "I don't think anybody would be pleased today to go down to exercise your right as a citizen and have a mechanism applied that prevents that. You start seeing that repeatedly it makes you wonder if somebody is waiting for that one time you don't show to say, ‘wow nobody is against this solution. Go ahead and do it.’

Jonas was part of the delegation that made the trip to The Statehouse last week, but was not able to attend today.

Today’s delegation included St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Roland Chamblee Jr., and Doug Sakaguchi, President of the St. Joseph County Bar Association.

“It’s hard to understand why they, why there is a significant movement to negate a process that is widely regarded as a best practice for the selection of judges,” said Jonas.

Another strange twist came on Monday night as an amendment calling for elected superior court judges in St. Joseph County was offered on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives, but soundly defeated (26 yes votes compared to 64 no).


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