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April 24, 2014

Readers’ Forum: April 25, 2014

TERRE HAUTE — Division 2 not a ‘Family Court’

In two months, I will celebrate my 37th year of the practice of law in Vigo County. In those 37 years, I have yet to practice in any court known as family court. In fact, there is no such court anywhere in the state of Indiana. I am writing this letter to inform your readers that if they are looking to vote for a judge for family court on their primary ballot, or in the general election, they will be disappointed.

There have been more than several letters voicing support for one candidate running for Judge in the May Democratic primary as a good choice for family court. The only candidates that I know of on the Democratic ballot running for the judgeship vacancy created by Judge Adler’s retirement, listed here in alphabetical order, are John A. Kesler II and Lakshmi “Lucky” Reddy. They are both listed as candidates for Vigo Superior Court Division 2. There is no ballot position for “Family Court.” Vigo Superior Court 2 is a court of general jurisdiction. For there to be a “Family Court” in Vigo County, the Indiana Legislature would have to pass a law creating such a court. To my knowledge, no such law has been passed.

For the year 2013, there were 1,084 new cases filed in Vigo Superior Court Division 2. Of that number, 438 cases, or 40 percent, were divorce cases; 646 cases, or 60 percent, were other civil matters. Therefore, most of the cases filed in Division 2 in the year 2013 were non-family law cases. In the past several years, I have had six cases in Division 2, with five of them being personal injury cases and one being an estate. The judge in Division 2 is faced with issues ranging from the interpretation of contracts, construction issues, medical malpractice, automobile injuries and other issues requiring a general knowledge of all areas of law and life.

I have observed the campaign rhetoric in this race and feel that, as a practicing attorney, I should write this letter as a service to your readers and the general public. Division 2 is not a “Family Law Court,” and a majority of its cases are not family law or divorce cases. In fact, when Judge McCrory was judge of that court, I handled many criminal cases before him. Division 2, as a court of general jurisdiction can, and possibly could, handle criminal law cases again.

I am not writing this letter in support of either candidate, so much as to clear the air as to what type of court Division 2 is and what type of law is practiced there. The information I have provided is a matter of public record but, as an attorney with many years of experience, I know personally what I have written is true.

I hope this provides some clarification to your readers. Again, Division 2 is a court of general jurisdiction which requires a judge with a broad spectrum of knowledge. Less than half of the cases in that court deal with family law divorce issues. Any voter looking for a candidate for “Family Court” will be sorely disappointed in the primary and general elections. No such court exists.

I also hope that there is a good voter turnout in this primary and general election. It is not only important locally, but nationally. Voting is one of the few chances we get to participate directly in our democracy.

— Dennis R. Majewski

Terre Haute

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